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April 02, 2018 | 0 comments
Bone health, whether you are younger than 50 or older, is often an overlooked health consideration that may not be thought about until it is too late.
Increasing bone density may be one of the best long-term investments in your health that you can make.
Your skeleton provides the foundation for your overall physical strength while providing the structure of your body. Knowing that, you can probably deduce that your bones are extremely important for pretty much every function of your body.
Below we'll go over the best ways to naturally increase your bone density. These suggestions includes both lifestyle tips and a few nutrition hacks.
One of the best ways to naturally improve your bone density includes focusing on a proper diet. Those concerned about bone health should make sure to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin K. Collagen and vitamin C can also provide your body with what it needs.
You should focus on consuming more raw and organic fresh cruciferous vegetables as well as leafy greens. These vegetables are high in important nutrient, such as vitamin K2 and vitamin D.
Exercise is often an overlooked factor for increasing bone density. Physicians recommend that a good combination of both cardio and resistance exercises can strengthen your skeletal structure.
Strength training exercise can help signal for your body to form new bone cells while cardio can increase the density of your bones. A side benefit of these exercises is that it strengthens your muscles.
Age is a very important factor for bone density as well because statistics show that skeletal disorders are much more common among older generations. The older you are, the more important bone health becomes. However, this does not mean that young people should neglect their health.
When you start focusing on your health at a younger age, this can build a stronger foundation for the future to prevent problems. Paying attention to your bone health at a young age can help to slow down the bone degeneration process. Your family history and awareness of current nutrient deficiencies can further push you in the right direction to increase bone density for the long term.
Studies have shown that vitamin D is essential as a partner for calcium when the body needs to produce healthy and strong bone cells. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium, but not many people know about this.
There are many types of vitamin D (like vitamin D2 and vitamin D3), but these nutritional compounds are not exactly the same in structure or function. Vitamin D2, also known as ergocalciferol, is a compound produced by some plants when they are exposed to UV radiation.
Supplement manufacturers actually obtain vitamin D2 by irradiating mushrooms and isolating the nutrients that it makes. However, this type of vitamin D is not exactly the same nutrient that you need for bone and immune health.
Researchers are skeptical that Vitamin D2 actually provides the human body with any benefit. When compared to vitamin D3, it has proven to be much less bioavailable to the body. This makes sense because D2 is the nutrient that plant and fungal life uses, which have differing needs than humans.
When foods like dairy and grains are enriched for higher vitamin D content, ergocalciferol (D2) is usually the form that it comes in.
Vitamin D3 on the other hand is the biologically active form of vitamin D that humans and animals use. Also known as cholecalciferol, it is produced naturally when your skin is exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. After your skin creates this vitamin D, it is used for healthy immune and bone function, among others.
It seems that vitamin D3 is more beneficial for humans and animals in supplement form, as well as animal food products. Cholecalciferol can be found in the lipids, or fats, of meat products, notably fish and shellfish.
We can attempt to get vitamin D3 from good quality food sources, but it will always be much easier to just sit outside in the sun. When you let the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit your skin, it quickly produces the daily value of this vitamin in about 20 minutes. You can also take a natural vitamin D3 supplement.
Most nutritionally-beneficial nutrients come from fresh and natural foods, rather than isolated supplements. It has been proven that certain nutrients like vitamin K2 provide a more beneficial function to the body when it is paired with vitamin D. Therefore, the ideal K2 supplement is one that includes Vitamin D as well, but this is also the case for many other vitamins and minerals.
The best way that you can ensure that you are supplementing with nutrients properly (the way that nature had intended for you to) is to consume them through natural supplements. When you are shopping for a vitamin K2 product, look for one with Vitamin K2 + Vitamin D3.
We all know that calcium is essential for proper bone health, but most of us don’t even know what that really means. We used to be told that we should drink milk because it had calcium in it. However, this might not be the case any more with more research about dairy. It seems that a large portion of the population already experiences some type of allergic reaction or sensitivity when they consume milk, but the calcium content might just be overhyped in general.
Maybe the best way to obtain quality calcium is by eating fresh and raw fruits and vegetables. Most importantly, cruciferous vegetables are the best natural food sources of calcium.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale and cauliflower provide for excellent sources of calcium and the nutrients that it likes to be paired with for maximum absorption in the body.
April 01, 2018 | 0 comments
Finally shedding the cold, winter months for brighter days is always an exciting time — for most of us. As we defrost into spring and eventually summer, new seasonal challenges lie in wait, and suddenly we find ourselves too sick, stuffy, and miserable to enjoy the long missed sunshine.
The culprits usually to blame are pollen and our weakened immune systems from the colder months.
Being sick or suffering with respiratory issues disrupts those highly anticipated springtime activities. Moreover, it can interfere with your sleep, which in turn can cause stress and irritability, and can even have an effect on your skin.
This means that finding — and utilizing — natural solutions for seasonal challenges not only makes it so you can actually enjoy the warmer months, but will also put less strain on your body overall.
Taking care of your immune system is extremely important year round, but during the winter and spring months, it’s especially important. As Healthline explains, “immune system cells initiate a more robust antiviral defense at lung temperature versus nasal cavity temperature. This might mean that the body may not fight the virus as well if the temperature in the nose and upper airway is lowered by environmental cold.”
Keep in mind that flu season typically lasts until May and your immune will have likely suffered or dipped during the cold months.
You’ve got to be well prepared to fight off these seasonal offenders that can affect your health. To keep your immune system operating in full force, it’s important to adopt healthy living strategies:
It’s also essential to minimize stress as much as possible. Keeping your immune strong is the best way to ensure you can make it out to enjoy the changing season instead of being stuck in bed.
As the days begin warming up, you’ll likely want to escape the heat every now and then by heading inside your house; however, your home can contribute to many irritating respiratory issues.
Direct Energy recommends you fortify your house against local pollens by:
Making the effort to help keep your home as pollen free as possible is a great way to lessen problems and help you sleep better at night.
Don’t forget to take your shoes off as soon as you walk in, and if you or anyone in your family has been outside for an extended period of time, it’s important to change clothes quickly afterwards and make sure the dirty ones make it into a hamper.
Pollen doesn’t just mess with your nose, but likes to find its way into your eyes and irritate them as well.
According to experts at KE Eye Centers, “For many people, symptoms of [eye irritants] are worse in the spring as pollen counts rise when trees, plants and grass begin germinating. The symptoms include red, irritated eyes, itchiness, and excessive tearing or runny eyes. In some cases, eyelids may be swollen, and there may be soreness, burning or pain. Some patients also report sensitivity to light.”
Sounds like fun, right? Luckily, there are a lot of great natural solutions for these issues.
Washing your face and rinsing out your eyes with a bit of water are quick, easy remedies. If your eyes tend to swell, Everyday Health recommends applying a cold press, “soak a towel or washcloth in cold water or refrigerate a damp cloth or eye pillow. Then lie down with the compress across your eyes to let the coolness reduce swelling.”
If those methods don’t seem to reduce your problems there are also eye drops available specifically made to combat itchy, red eyes. Moreover, taking care of your eyes will ensure you don’t miss those blooming flowers that have finally escaped the grasps of winter.
When spring finally arrives, the temptation to spend more time outside is very alluring. However, the enjoyment can be short lived when seasonal offenders like pollen and the flu swoop in to make your springtime moments miserable. Giving your body some extra help during this time can help make these warmer days much more enjoyable.
There is a small chemical found in your brain called Serotonin that plays a crucial function in your overall health and wellbeing. It serves the important role of being the “happy chemical” in your body.
Serotonin is important because it gives us a “feel good” response.
Read more below on what serotonin is and how you can help to naturally boost your levels!
The scientific name for serotonin is 5-hydroxytryptamine (or 5-HT). It is labeled as being a neurotransmitter, which means that it helps to transmit messages throughout your body.
Generally speaking, low levels of serotonin are linked with a negative mood/mindset, and high levels make us happier.
It is estimated that 90% of your body's store of serotonin is found in your gut, which goes to show how strong the gut-brain connection is. It can also be found in your brain and blood platelets.
According to Medical News Today, “Serotonin is used to transmit messages between nerve cells, it is thought to be active in constricting smooth muscles, and it contributes to wellbeing and happiness, among other things” (1).
Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin, and therefore helps to regulate the body's sleep-wake cycles and your internal “body clock”.
Maintaining your serotonin levels is highly important for a happy and healthy life.
When the stress of modern life takes over, it’s easy to become dissatisfied with even the smallest things. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways to help maintain a positive mood.
To help you start out, here are five healthy ways to boost your serotonin levels!
When we feel good, our brains produce serotonin. However, this beneficial neurotransmitter doesn’t appear out of thin air. An amino acid called tryptophan is the raw material that used to create serotonin in the body.
Thankfully, tryptophan is found in plenty of foods. All you need to do is integrate these foods into your diet and you’re all set.
Eggs are one of the best sources of tryptophan out there, and they also contain choline and omega-3 fatty acids that help both your body and mind stay happy and healthy.
Other great options include salmon, cheese, tofu, and turkey. These foods are easy to add into your diet, all you need is a bit of imagination.
Furthermore, tryptophan isn’t the only dietary source of serotonin. As it turns out, curry, or rather the turmeric in it, has also been shown to increase amounts of the beneficial neurotransmitter in the brain. This happens due to a compound called curcumin, which has been promoted by Ayurvedic medicine for many centuries.
The L-Theanine found in green tea is also beneficial as it helps to promotes feelings of relaxation. A trademarked version of this, called Suntheanine, is a great option for this.
The diet that you choose to eat plays a crucial role in your overall health. According to DefendYourHealthcare.com, when you follow the right diet, your overall quality of life improves tremendously, and you look and feel a thousand times better than before.
Another natural way to boost your serotonin levels is to adopt an exercise routine. Research has demonstrated that regular physical activity increases the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain due to two reasons.
The first one has to do with the rate at which it is pumped in the system. Being active triggers a rapid-fire response, which then promotes both the production and synthesizing of serotonin.
The second reason is that working out also increases tryptophan amounts, which as previously mentioned, is the amino acid that precedes the creation of serotonin. More tryptophan leads to an overall improvement in serotonin levels.
The best type of exercise for this seems to be aerobics, but any kind of physical activity will do. It is best to pursue exercise that you actually enjoy because it will serve to heighten your satisfaction even more than a regular workout would; plus you'll stick to an exercise routine that you actually enjoy!
So, what are you waiting for? Now’s your chance to find your next favorite sport. If you're new to exercise, check out our article on helpful workout tips for beginners!
There is a direct link between serotonin and sunlight. The brighter the light, the more serotonin your produce and the lower the risks of tryptophan depletion are.
As little as 15 minutes of daily walking or other outdoor activities in full sunlight is more than enough. Furthermore, vitamin D also promotes the synthesizing of tryptophan into serotonin and the best place to get it is again from natural sunlight (you can also check out our Natural D3 supplement).
With spring just around the corner, now’s the best time to try this method!
When it comes to the effects of stress on the brain, the data is clear. When external factors put pressure on your daily life, cortisol levels increase, while serotonin and dopamine take a hit. In turn, this affects your appetite, sleep cycle, and just about every other normal bodily function.
Eliminating stressors from your environment is very beneficial to your overall health. Of course, you won’t be able to do it completely. Things like chores, work deadlines, and other necessities will always exist, but you can still make sure that you declutter your home and workspace and organize your life in such a way as to not let the little things ruin your mood.
Believe it or not, massages are a great way to boost your brain’s serotonin production. A study conducted back in 2005 has found that this type of therapy increases serotonin levels by 28%, while at the same time decreasing cortisol by 31% - an impressive result!
The next time you need a quick pick me up consider getting a massage!
Avoiding serotonin depletion is essential for a high quality of life. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural and healthy ways to do that.
What you eat matters most, and it’s also a good idea to get some exercise and go outside for a walk every once in a while. And if you’re looking for an inventive way to relieve stress, try a massage.
Following these tips will help you to boost your serotonin levels!
When you begin a ketogenic diet, your pantry will become small because you will be buying less processed foods. Keto-friendly foods tend to have short shelf lives since they have minimal process. Low carb foods are also cheap compared to processed foods.
That being said, we put together a list of food staples for the keto diet. These are the top foods that you'll want to have on hand for your fat fueled lifestyle!
As a note, it is recommended to check the carb and fat content on the labels since every brand has its own values. This way you will know the exact nutrition content of each food you eat.
1. Avocado (Net carbs: 0.8g)
Avocados are a great source of healthy fiber and fats. One third of an avocado contains 10% of the daily folate value and 15% of the daily vitamin B5 value. It also contains 3.9g of carbohydrates and 3.1g of fiber.
2. Tuna (Net carbs: 0g)
Tuna is another awesome lean protein source. It is also a good source of vitamins, zinc, iron, calcium and minerals such as vitamins D, A, K, and B-12. It should however not be eaten in moderation because of its mercury content. A can of tuna contains zero carbohydrates.
3. Eggs (Net carbs: 0.36)
Eggs are an affordable source of excellent protein. They are rich in zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B and selenium. One egg contains around 0.36 g of carbohydrates.
4. Chicken (Net carbs: 0g)
Chicken is a great source of lean protein. Apart from that, it is also a great source of selenium and vitamin B. One half of a skinless, boneless, roasted chicken breast contains zero carbohydrates.
5. Tofu (Net carbs: 0.6)
If you are a vegetarian, tofu is a leading protein that has all the necessary amino acids. It is also a great source of iron, copper, vitamin B1 and calcium. A serving of tofu contains 3.5g of carbohydrates and 2.9g of fiber.
6. Spaghetti squash (Net carbs: 7.8g)
Spaghetti squash is a staple in low-carb diets and it has a lot of thiamin, manganese, niacin, vitamin C and vitamin B6. A cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains 10g of carbohydrates and 2.2g of fiber.
7. Zucchini (Net carbs: 4g)
Many people replace noodles with zucchini with good reasons. Apart from containing folate, potassium and vitamin C, its carbohydrates and calories are low. A medium raw zucchini contains 6g of carbohydrates and 2g of fiber.
8. Black beans (Net carbs: 11.6g)
Black beans have a lot of protein, fiber, potassium and plenty of useful phytonutrients. One half of canned black beans contain 19.9g of carbohydrates and 8.3g of fiber.
9. Chickpeas (Net carbs: 10.9g)
Chickpeas contain a high amount of carbohydrates like many legumes do. However you can include them in a low-carb diet through ensuring you take the right amount. They are also a good source of fiber (click here to learn how to get more fiber on a keto diet).
10. Coconut Oil (Net carbs: 0g)
A lsit of the best low carb foods wouldn't be complete without coconut oil! Coconut oil is a health made up of unsaturated fat. Use coconut oil to cook other foods with, it add a fantastic flavor to most dishes!
Those are some of the best healthy low-carb foods that you can add to your shopping list. Bear in mind that if you intend to minimize the intake of processed foods or you want to test a ketogenic diet, there is plenty of what is referred to as low-carb.
Also, every person is unique and what works for you might not work for another person. In overall, when calculating the amount of carbohydrate you consume, consider the net carbs (the amount that impacts the blood sugar level).
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Whether it’s to lose weight, reduce health risks, or boost your general immunity, it’s good to eat more fruits and vegetables. In fact, there is now evidence that eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to lower early mortality.
Considering that obesity is has reached epidemic levels, you would think more people would follow the recommended guidelines for a healthy lifestyle.
Healthcare providers are helping fight the obesity epidemic, but their patients also need to take initiative to help themselves. Even though there are plenty of health ideals out there, the simple thing is that many of us fail to fill half our plate with vegetables, as is recommended.
To make matters worse, there's a lot of false advertising that lures us into thinking we're eating healthy when we're not. Misleading branding makes it seem like quick fixes such as protein bars and “healthy” microwavable meals are good enough substitutes for real fruits and vegetables.
Even reputable brands like General Mills’ Nature Valley Bars, which is widely consumed, has a lawsuit being filed against it for falsely advertising their products as "all natural". Most of our everyday go-to granola bars could well be filled with harmful ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup.
The best way to avoid being misled is to stick to fresh fruits and vegetables as your go-to snacking items — it’s almost always better to munch on baby carrots or cucumber sticks rather than supposedly “all natural” protein bars with “no added preservatives”.
The ugly truth is that it’s easy to let our health and eating habits take a backseat as we navigate our increasingly busy lives. Use these tips to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet:
You might have seen the heavily trending hashtag “#EatTheRainbow” on Instagram. There’s a reason for this: the best way to get all your daily nutrients is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
Looking at produce as colorful items that can beautify your plate is more enticing than perceiving them as fruits and veggies; the increased “pretty plate” factor will make you want to eat your veggies even more.
Smoothies, smoothie bowls and juices are all the rage these days. From delicious breakfast smoothie bowls to raw pressed vegetable juices - these are some of the best (and yummiest) ways to ingest more vegetables and fruits.
The best part about making these smoothies and juices is that the possibilities are endless! Take a look at our Açaí bowl recipe - it’s loaded with fruit, and packs a punch in terms of energy.
Similarly, the internet is full of recipes for juices and smoothies that help increase your intake of produce. Green juices are especially good for you, and a great way to drink your leafy veggies that you might not like eating.
You could also try adding in superfood powders and supplements for an additional nutrient boost. Not only do smoothies and juices have health benefits, but they’re also really fun to get creative with - not to mention, they’re perfectly Instagrammable!
Mindful eating is easier said than done. Like every one of us, you’ve probably binged your way through bags of chips while getting lost in a television show, or continuously munched on fast food while completing an assignment for work or school.
If this sounds familiar, take a step back and force yourself to be mindful of your eating habits. Busy college students are often at risk for eating unhealthily without even realizing it due to their tight schedules.
If you are prone to stress eating, or eating alongside completing other daily tasks, make sure your snackable items fall into the healthy category. Snack on raw veggie sticks, bite into an apple, eat some dried fruits - but don’t cave and run to the nearest vending machine.
Another efficient but often overlooked way of including more produce in your diet is to prep your meals in advance. Some of the most regularly cited reasons for not eating enough fruits and veggies include not having enough time to prepare them in an appealing manner and not having enough time to shop for fresh produce.
Meal prep is your all-in-one solution to these problems.
Spend some time over the weekend shopping for produce at farmers markets, and then prepping your meals for the week. While prepping, include a large portion of veggies in every meal, add a fruit to snack on, and some dried fruits and nuts for dessert.
Having your meals ready in advance is almost like going to a restaurant — you don’t have to spend any time in the kitchen since you prepped over the weekend, all you have to do is sit down and eat! Meal prepping with veggies and fruits is very convenient, and leaves you with no excuse to not make healthy choices.
Fruits and vegetables are beneficial in so many ways, and there’s no proven downside of including more of them in your diet. So give it a go, and try to amp up your vegetable and fruit consumption with these tips — pretty soon, your body will thank you for it.
Avery Phillips is a freelance human based out of the beautiful Treasure Valley. She loves all things in nature, especially humans. Comment down below or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or comments.
When it comes to diet and nutrition it seems like every week there is a new list of foods that you “should never eat!”.
You’ve heard it all:
Eat more fat!
Carbs only at night.
Protein is the answer…
It’s confusing and makes clean eating difficult.
In this article we’ll go over the basic principles of clean eating that will serve you well as you strive to live a healthy lifestyle. These clean eating tips are based off of the quote by Michael Pollan (1), who elegantly summed up healthy eating as follows:
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
This is the essence of a healthy diet. Below, we’ll go into this in more detail and give some helpful clean eating tips.
One of the best things you can do to eliminate unhealthy foods is to make the food that you eat. By “make” we mean preparing it; baking, cooking, etc…
When you make the food that you eat, you get a couple of benefits. One, you know exactly what’s in the food (there is no mystery). And two, you have a deeper connection with your food. If you spend time and energy making a meal, you aren't going to wolf it down. You’ll enjoy it and savor it.
So strive to eat more food that you prepare yourself.
If cooking isn't your forte, consider taking a simple cooking class. It is a valuable life skill. Everyone should have a few go-to meals that they can whip up.
The typical American eats far too many pro-inflammatory foods. Inflammatory foods include foods that are high in omega-6’s, which increase your body’s inflammatory response (you can read more here).
Avoid these foods that are high in omega-6’s:
A good way to counteract this is by eating a diet high in omega-3’s. You’ve heard about omega-3, it’s the fatty substance found in fish that is so healthy for your body!
Foods rich in omega 3’s include:
A healthy diet should maintain an omega-3:omega-6 ratio of 1:2 or 1:4. That being said, the typical American diet is something like 1:20, not good!
Learn more about the best omega foods here.
A simple way to help improve your ratio is to eat fish once a week. Fish are a fantastic source of omega 3’s. You can also take a fish oil supplement, just make sure to take it at right time of day.
Cutting down on pre-packaged food will reduce omega-6 consumption as the oils used in pre-packaged foods tend to be high in omega-6’s.
Want to eat cleaner? Then start eating less pre-packaged food. That includes some pre-packaged foods that are listed as “health foods”.
Foods that are designed to sit on a shelf for 18-24 months are not your friend. They are usually full of added ingredients and chemicals that help to extend their shelf life.
Do yourself a favor and eat more fresh foods.
A simple tip is to shop on the perimeter of your grocery store (where all of the fresh food is stored). Foods on the inner shelves tend to be pre-packaged and are often full of harmful chemical additives. Just following this simple trick will help to increase your fiber intake and overall wellbeing.
A major key to maintaining a healthful diet is to eat a variety of foods. Don’t get bogged down into eating the same bland foods. Make it a point to try out a new food everytime you go to the grocery store (and no, a new flavor of Doritos doesn’t count!).
As well as trying new foods, try out new recipes. For instance, you’ve probably purchased hummus at your local grocery store, but did you know that you can easily make it at home? Here’s a simple and quick hummus recipe, it takes just a few minutes to make a fresh batch!
This tip is simple, drink more water. Soda and coffee (and other drinks) tend to be full of sugar and other other unhealthy additives. While it’s ok to have those things in moderation, make sure that your drink of choice is water.
Not only does water hydrate your body and help to keep it functioning properly, it also can help to keep you full. The rule of thumb is to drink eight 8oz glasses of water a day.
If reducing your coffee consumption is difficult, consider drinking tea. Green tea in particular has many benefits, including its L-theanine content. It can help to give a stead, focused energy. If drinking tea isn't your thing, consider taking a supplement with Suntheanine; an isolated, natural form of theanine.
Make sure to regularly share meals with friends and family. Studies show that sharing a meal with family members helps to build up relational bonds, and also helps with maintaining good health (2).
Don’t eat alone while scrolling through the internet. Spend that valuable time being with others. Here’s a helpful article that talks about how you can start to be more intentional with how you choose to spend your meal time.
When you eat a meal, truly enjoy it. Sit down and savor each bite. Enjoy the food you eat. Cooking can be a chore. Gathering family together for a meal can be difficult. Creating nutrient-dense recipes can be a thankless job.
But through it all, take the time to truly enjoy your food.
In closing, nutrition is tricky. There are a lot of methodologies, and each different approach may work (depending on genetics and lifestyle). However, rather than nutrition fads and trends, make sure to look at the principles of healthy eating.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
And I would add, enjoy it!
Our immune systems are pretty remarkable, they fend off sickness and help to keep your body healthy. It’s important to keep them strong, especially during the challenging winter months.
With friends and co-workers around you getting sick, it’s a great time to think about what you can do NOW to build a healthier immune system for when you need it most.
Don’t wait until it's too late to boost your immune health – start now!
Below, we have tips and the right vitamins and minerals to make sure your immune system stays at the ready!
It can be easy to slip into a diet made up of "comfort food" during the cold winter months. This is problematic because eating unhealthy food can impact your immune system's ability to defend itself.
A healthy immune system is made up of warriors cells that need quality nutrition to perform at their best.
Make it a priority to eat a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables. Eat high protein foods and plenty of greens, this will help to keep your immune system fighting strong during the winter months!
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. Research shows that physical activity can help your white blood cells move more quickly throughout the body, which can help build up a strong immune system.
Now, we know what you're thinking. We all have busy schedules, and it's hard to carve out time in our day to hit the gym. But you don't need to workout an hour a day, five days a week to help build up your immune system.
Studies have shown taking a 30 minute walk a few times a week can help support a strong immune system (source).
At Utzy, your health is always our top priority - we want you help keep you feeling your best. Our immune support product U-Mune has the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals, and botanicals to help support your immune system.
U-Mune contains four immunity boosting herbal ingredients you will want to have:
• Arabinogalactan Heartwood (Larch Tree)
• Andrographis Leaf Extract
Adding our Natural D3 5,000 is also a great idea, after all, we could all use extra Vitamin D in the winter months.
According to Harvard Medical School, getting adequate sleep is one of the most important steps you can take to help boost your immune system (source).
Sleep has a restorative impact on your body. Make it a goal to get 7-8 hours per night. This will help to keep your immune system strong.
Here is an in-depth list of sleep tips that you can follow to get higher quality sleep at night.
You can also download our free Sleep Diary here, this will help you track your sleep and will also help you to establish better sleep habits.
If you struggle with occasional sleeplessness, check out our natural sleep aids. We have award winning formulas that have helped many people get better sleep at night. Pick up for first bottle for 50% off here.
This is a pretty self explanatory tip. Try your best to avoid being around people that are sick or coughing. If you do find yourself around someone with a cold, your best option is to maintain good hygiene.
Wash your hands after touching surfaces that others have handled. Cover your mouth when you cough, etc... Pretty basic, but if everybody practiced good hygiene, we would see much less sickness around us!
Also, if you have children, this is a good time to re-enforce to them the importance of good hygiene.
It's easy to lose track of daily things you can do to keep your immune system strong during the winter. But knowing just a few tips can keep you at your best!
"Cholesterol" is a word that many people do not want to hear – especially from their doctor!
Whether your cholesterol report is good, bad, or something that needs to be monitored to prevent further concerns, here are five simple facts about cholesterol that may help you on your journey to having vibrant health.
As a note, seeking a health professional's advice is always the most important step that you can take.
There are two types of cholesterol, one is bad and one is healthy.
•LDL Cholesterol – also known as "low-density lipoprotein". This type of cholesterol is considered as being "bad cholesterol". LDL cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. A low LDL number is desirable.
•HDL Cholesterol – also known as "high-density lipoprotein". This cholesterol type is considered “healthy cholesterol". It is beneficial because researchers believe that it helps to "scavenge" LDL cholesterol and remove it from your body (source). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to overall health.
The every-day lifestyle that you choose to live out impacts your heart health.
•A sedentary lifestyle is a killer, research shows that the more time spent sitting leads to higher mortality rates (source). Maintaining an active lifestyle is important, even if you work a busy desk job, make sure to spend time each day walking around getting sunshine.
•Stay away from processed foods - foods made with white flour and white sugar are damaging to your overall health.
A healthy body starts with a healthy diet.
•In a recent study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that more than 30% of participants on a diet of healthier foods experienced positive results relating to cholesterol (source)
•Some foods are beneficial for maintaining good cholesterol health. These foods include healthy nuts such as almonds (raw) and walnuts. In addition to that, eating a good amount of fiber through food sources such as beans, dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale & spinach), and garlic is also beneficial.
•A good example of a cholesterol-friendly eating plan would be a Mediterranean diet (learn more here). A Vegetarian diet is also a good option, you can click here to learn more about the benefits of a Vegetarian diet.
•At Utzy, one of our core pillars for healthy living is to "eat food that is convenient for your body - not convenient food". Viewing food in this light changes the way that you consume food. If you haven't already, check out our article on the Seven Essentials For Health Living.
•Taking a bergamot supplement may be a good way to support cardiovascular health.
One of the most important nutrients to prioritize is fiber. In general, we tend to not get enough of it.
•Dietary fiber known to help remove cholesterol from your body, you can learn more about this process here.
•Recommendations of good sources of dietary fiber include soluble fibers (such as pectin or psyllium) and fibers that come from fruits and vegetables.
•Nutritional experts suggest that it is especially beneficial to consume skins whenever possible, such as those from apples and potatoes (organic). If you have a busy daily schedule and struggle with getting enough fiber, taking a daily fiber supplement may be a good option.
Healthy eating is important, and just behind it on the scale of importance is regular exercise.
•Researchers from Duke University found that the intensity of an exercise program seemed to correlate with raising the levels of HDL, the good cholesterol (source).
•The reduction of LDL is also linked to exercise. The science is still unclear as to how. However, is thought to be linked with weight loss.
•The Federal Government now recommends at least a 150 minutes each week of either moderate or intense aerobic physical activity for those 18-64 years of age. That comes out to about 20 minutes a day.
•If you are looking to add exercise to your daily routine, check out our helpful guide 10 Workout Tips for Beginners.
Try out these tips and start living a more healthy, active lifestyle!
Starting a new successful workout routine - and sticking to it - can be daunting.
If you're like most people, you have probably decided to finally start, or get back to exercising, multiple times throughout the course of the year.
You get a gym subscription and all the gym clothes but then you keep postponing your first workout and your new gym clothes just stay in your closet waiting for you.
To help you fight this inertia and stop with excuses, whether you’re a beginner or returning to exercise after some time, here are 10 helpful workout tips to get you started:
Taking the time to understand why you have decided to start working out is absolutely crucial. Think about the future and what you want to accomplish. What is motivating you? Write down your goals and hopes for the journey you're about to start.
Journal daily the ups and downs on your path to better health, and if you like, take advantage of tools such as Best Australian Writers to help you out with the writing. Making yours goals are measurable is also very important!
A partner is the key to a good workout. Working out with a friend can also be good for your confidence. If your friend already has experience, then this is even more beneficial. An exercise partner will motivate you.
Make sure you pair up with someone who is going to hold you accountable and drag you out of bed on the days you do not want to work out.
A key aspect of staying motivated with your workout and new fitness life is your nutrition. Developing healthy eating habits can really support your workouts. Get inspiration for recipes and advice about eating healthy right here on the Utzy Blog.
With a cleaner diet, you may find yourself feeling healthier, sleeping through the night, having strong digestion, and feeling more energized by your workout.
There's no magic pill or series of movements you can do to start being fit after a short period. Embracing that it will take time for you to feel good and get in shape will help the process. Getting back to exercise doesn’t mean making up for lost time or setting unrealistic goals for weight loss.
It is also important that you understand it may take longer for you than for others to achieve your goals. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is comparing yourself to others. When you compare yourself to other people, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Make sure to get some really great workout clothes and equipment to make your exercise experience as rewarding as possible. There are plenty of options out there so find something that makes you feel strong, confident, and comfortable instead of that old T-shirt you found at home.
In addition to clothing, you can also invest in quality fitness gear like a high quality kettlebell. You can get an amazing workout in, right at home!
Having a regular schedule is absolutely crucial when it comes to working out. This helps you maintain a routine and incorporate exercise into your day-to-day life. Determine how much time you can commit to exercise and then commit a certain time during the day to your workout. Also make sure you develop a schedule that is efficient and appropriate for your lifestyle.
A good daily schedule starts with having a morning routine. Click here to learn how to create a morning ritual
Be sure to hydrate yourself the right way when working out. An enormous quantity of water is lost while you work out so pay attention to the amount of water you consume and how much you need to consume after exercising.
Make sure you always have a full water bottle handy when working out and drink whenever you feel thirsty. If you were not getting enough water during workouts before, you will really notice a difference in how much better you feel.
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean doing a million workouts at the gym. If you think the gym membership is too expensive or you just don’t like gyms, you can exercise by going for runs, joining a yoga class, cycling, or swimming.
If these are not working for your or it is cold or rainy you can still get in a good workout at home. There are no excuses when you can exercise in the comfort of your home. There is a wide range of at home exercise routines available online that do not require any gym equipment to help you break out a sweat. Here is a link to some home workouts.
Your cool down is crucial for both mental health and muscle strengthening. Stretching is a vital part of any workout, it improves your flexibility and decreases the potential for an injury.
You can find helpful stretching tips and tricks here.
What you do immediately after a workout affects how your body reacts and responds to all that hard work. Make sure you listen to your body, get healthy food and enough rest between workout sessions to allow your muscles to recover. A key to workout recovery is fish oil and magnesium, which we have in our Recovery Bundle here.
Once you get started with regularly working out, you’ll feel the physical and mental benefits of it very quickly. Remember that you are doing this for yourself, plan, stay motivated and allow yourself to recover. Use these tips to help you ease in and your workout sessions will be extremely rewarding.
Essential oils have always had household uses that, in modern times, we would associate with chemical products. Even today, many people substitute these oils for harsh chemicals in a variety of ways.
Natural essentials oils are used for medicine, cleaning and even as an alternative to traditional insect repellents.
For repelling bugs, traditional chemical formulations usually rely on poisonous ingredients (such as DEET), but there are safer ways to keep insects at bay.
We go over these below.
The chemical called DEET has a long scientific name (N,N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). Since the discovery of the insect-killing properties of DEET, it's had helpful applications such as protecting soldiers engaged in jungle warfare and controlling insect-borne illnesses.
For example, DEET is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for people traveling to countries where malaria is prevalent.
For everyday use, however, DEET may not be needed to protect people from biting insects. There are many essential oil formulations that can be applied to the skin to deter the insects from biting.
Some essential oils can also be burned to create a smoke that repels them. For example, citronella candles are useful for creating an atmosphere at your campsite that deters mosquitos.
Essential oils are called natural oils because they're plant-based. Specialized plant cells produce the oils, and various parts of each plant are used to create them.
The bark, stems, or underside of leaves are typical production areas of a range of plants that produce essential oils. The oil is extracted by crushing these parts of the plant and isolating the oil using water or steam.
One of the most promising essential oil alternatives to DEET is lemon eucalyptus oil. Studies have shown that products containing it provide the same protection as bug repellents that contain low levels of DEET. Lemon eucalyptus oil comes from the leaves of the Australian lemon eucalyptus tree.
There are other natural oils besides citronella and lemon eucalyptus that are useful for keeping away biting pests.
Lemongrass, tea tree and peppermint oils are also repellents, and there's anecdotal evidence that neem oil, garlic oil and vanilla extract are also effective at keeping away biting insects. Here's a list of some plants known to repel insects:
Blending a few different essential oils together can have a synergistic effect and can create a more effective natural insect repellent. Keep in mind, blends should be used at full strength, but mixed with a base like witch hazel or distilled water.
Witch hazel is an oil derived from the witch hazel shrub, and formulations are made with a 14 percent alcohol solution in water. When blended with alcohol and water, the witch hazel creates a mild astringent that dries, leaving the active essential oils behind to do their job.
The solution that you add your essential oil to is called a carrier, since it carries the properties to your skin or the air around you. Water-based carriers like witch hazel are absorbed more easily by the skin.
One tip for blending essential oils in a water base is to shake the solution vigorously each time it's applied, since oil and water don't mix.
Carrier oils will create a film on the skin and not be absorbed as quickly. Shea butter and cocoa butter are pleasant smelling semi-solid oils that will act as a barrier between your skin and annoying insects.
If you blend insect-repelling oils with one of these oil-based carriers, you'll have a natural and effective repellent.
•12 ounces witch hazel
•15 drops lemongrass oil
•15 drops citronella oil
•10 drops peppermint oil
•10 drops tea tree oil
Simply add all of these ingredients together in a jar with a tight lid, and make sure there's enough room for the vigorous shaking.
Once it's well-mixed, immediately fill a spray bottle with the solution, and remember to shake it well with each application.
•4 ounces fractionated coconut oil
•6 drops citronella oil
•6 drops eucalyptus oil
•8 drops lavender oil
•8 drops lemongrass oil
•8 drops tea tree oil
This is a recipe that you'll enjoy if you have dry skin because of the coconut oil that acts as the carrier. All of the oils except for tea tree have pleasant scents, so you can experiment with whether you want to include it in the recipe.
However, it's good to have tea tree oil on hand for treating insect stings, since it's a natural disinfectant.
One reason that the use of essential oils is so attractive when compared to chemicals like DEET is the benign effect on human beings. These oils aren't poisons and, in mild concentrations, can be beneficial in many ways.
Like any product you use to keep away pests, following instructions will allow you to use safe concentrations that will get the job done without causing any harm to users.
Before making your own substitutions in any insect-repelling recipe, make sure that you know which oils not to use. These oils are phototoxic, which means that when they react with the sun they can cause skin damage:
•Bergamot (also available in a supplement form)
Besides avoiding these oils, be sure and test a small spot on your skin for sensitivity before using a homemade insect repellent on all the exposed parts of your body.
Some of the natural ingredients we've discussed like cinnamon, clove and oregano, are not recommended for pregnant women. And peppermint is not recommended for children under 30 months old.
There's a lot of overlap in the essential oils used to repel fleas and mosquitos, but the oils used to repel ticks are more toxic and most are on the list to avoid during pregnancy.
Some of these are rose grapefruit, geranium, juniper, oregano, rosewood, and thyme.
Essential oils are a useful and safe alternative to using bug sprays that contain toxic chemicals like DEET. As with any substance used on your body, it's important to always be conscious of safety.
When following a recipe, stick to the portions recommended for each oil, and remember that 'more' is not 'better'. Essential oils are extremely concentrated, and you only need a small amount to get the effect you want.
If you get any essential oil in your eyes, immediately flush them with milk or cream to dilute the oil, since oil and water don't mix. If you accidentally get the oil directly on your skin, rub it with vegetable oil or any carrier oil before using soap and water to remove it.
Follow the guidelines for children and pregnant women, and check with your doctor if you're not sure which essential oils to avoid.
Using essential oils to create insect repellents is an easy and economical way to keep mosquitos at bay when you're camping. The oils have other uses, like keeping away fleas and ticks, depending on the formula. Since they're highly concentrated, it's important to use natural oils responsibly and safely.
Besides fighting off stinging insects, some oils have beneficial properties, and the carriers you choose may moisturize your skin while protecting it from insect bites. Try making your own bug spray or lotion on your next camping trip!
Paul Turner is the man behind TakeOutdoors.com which he shares all his knowledge and experiences on camping. Looking for a challenging camping activity? He’s got a comprehensive beginner guide to backcountry camping get you started.