The holidays are full of festivities and that generally means lots of food and drink. In North America, parties tend to include a variety of alcoholic beverages, and moderation can be difficult. Everyone needs to… More
Most of us have had an occasional bout of heartburn, and as unpleasant as it might be, it’s relatively benign. On the other hand, if heartburn becomes chronic, it may be a symptom of GERD, short for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
November 24-30, 2019 is GERD Awareness Week in the United States. American Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the fourth Thursday of November and often involves overeating, so that week is dedicated to educating the public about GERD, a disease which affects about 20% of the population and revolves around the digestive system.
GERD is also known as acid reflux disease and its prevalence is on the rise. Because GERD is a primary risk factor for esophageal cancer, it’s important to develop preventative habits and understand the triggers.
GERD affects the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach. In normal digestion, the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closes to prevent food and stomach acids to flow back upwards. Reflux occurs when the esophageal sphincter is weak and allows the stomach contents to go back upward into the esophagus.
If heartburn occurs more than once a week, becomes more severe, occurs at night and awakens you, these are possible signs of GERD. Less known symptoms that may be associated with GERD include belching, difficulty or pain when swallowing, a sudden excess of saliva, dysphagia (the feeling of food being stuck in the esophagus), chronic sore throat, laryngitis, gum inflammation, tooth enamel eroding, morning hoarseness, bad breath and a sour taste in the mouth.1
Whether you suffer from occasional or frequent heartburn or even GERD, there are some precautions that can help prevent episodes:
- Eat a plant-based diet. Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds all help prevent or shorten GERD attacks. Winter squash, corn, beets and whole grains also help minimize symptoms.2
- Make green juice in a blender with cruciferous veggies such as cabbage or kale. These nutrient-rich foods promote a healthy digestive tract lining and help reduce stomach acids.3
- Eat five to six small meals a day rather than three larger ones. Too much food triggers acid production in the stomach.
- Eat your last meal of the day at least three hours before bedtime.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, as water helps dilute stomach acid.
- Try to avoid citrus, because they produce more stomach acid. These include oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes.
- Alcohol and smoking worsen GERD and heartburn symptoms.
- Fried and high-fat foods as well as caffeinated beverages trigger heartburn and GERD.4
- Try to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity or being overweight contributes to GERD. A British study of more than 10,000 people, ages 20 to 59, found that obese participants were nearly three times more likely to suffer GERD symptoms than those of normal weight.5
As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s be mindful of what we’re eating and how much we’re eating. It’s all part of Active Wellness and treating ourselves is enjoyable unless we have to suffer the consequences of overindulgence. During the holidays, it’s prudent to keep Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen® Digestion Complex 4-20 with you everywhere you go!
November 15 is designated as National Recycling Day. Created by the National Recycling Coalition, there are events held locally nationwide to spread the word on reducing waste and learning exactly what can be recycled and how. Recycling takes place when a product or material that is no longer being used is turned into a raw material that can be used for something else. It is a critical aspect of environmental sustainability.
How we recycle and reuse products directly impacts the environment. For example, about 60 million one-use water bottles enter landfills in America daily.1 By using water filtration devices such as the PiMag Waterfall® and reusable drinking bottles such as the PiMag® Sport Bottle, this outrageous number can be reduced to help sustain the environment.
One area of recycling that America is doing well in is aluminum, with about 65% being recycled in the U.S. alone. In America, about 105,800 cans are recycled every minute.2 To put this into perspective, a TV can run for three hours from the energy saved by recycling one can!3
As more people get on board with the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recyle) we are gradually returning to a more Earth-friendly lifestyle. Each year more than 60 million tons of wastes are recycled instead of ending up in landfills or incinerators. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a set a goal for America to reach 35% recycling. This is targeted at reducing the 4.5 pounds of solid waste created by each person every day, much of which can be recycled.4
We have all thrown out things that are actually recyclable. Becoming more vigilant and knowledgeable about recycling is an integral aspect of Active Wellness. Over time, we’ll naturally reduce waste and modify our purchasing behavior in favor of less packaging and reusing things rather than throwing them out. Examples of items that people forget or don’t know can be recycled are inkjet or toner cartridges, glass jars, eyeglasses, pizza boxes, reusable plastic or cardboard food storage containers, plastic grocery bags, aluminum foil and empty aerosol cans.5 Donate old clothes and shoes rather than relegating them to trash. You’ll not only be helping someone in need but also reducing waste.
Consumers committed to preserving the environment can take the National Recycling Coalition’s pledge:
- to find out what materials can and cannot be recycled in their communities;
- to lead by example in their neighborhoods by recycling;
- to recycle batteries, cell phones and other electronic waste;
- to tell five friends that recycling is the easiest thing they can do to slow global warming.6
Remember that every day is a recycling day in the Nikken Wellness Community! Please join us!
Diets come and go, but the need for a healthy Active Wellness regimen never ends. One of the ongoing trends is to cut down on carbohydrates or in some diets, to eliminate them. Those who have lost a lot of weight by focusing on protein and fats often commit to a low- or no-carb diet. Vegans are on the opposite end of the spectrum and are committed to staying away from animal protein and fats, while focusing on plants. The truth of the matter is, you know your body best. You need to pay attention to what your body tells you, especially if you are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
Since everyone’s body is different, there are no absolutes; however, the Center for Disease Control gives general guidelines on carb intake. On average, people with diabetes should get about 45% of their calories from carbs, with each serving measured as approximately 15 grams. Translated, this means three to four carb servings (45-60 grams) per meal for women and four to five carb servings (60-75 grams) for men.1 What also needs to be taken into consideration is age, weight, activity level and whether or not you are on diabetes medications. A certified dietician or medical practitioner can help with carb intake, especially if you take insulin—the carbs plus the amount of insulin you have in your body determine your blood sugar levels and impact how you feel.2
Since the role of carbs is to provide the body with a source of energy, the rule of thumb is to eat the “good” carbs and stay away from the “bad” ones. Carbohydrates are generally divided into three categories: starches, sugars and fibers.
- Starches—or complex carbohydrates—include starchy vegetables, such as potato, corn, yam, beans, lentils, peas and whole grains. For example, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and brown rice are high in fiber and rich in B vitamins, which are nutritional essentials. These carbs serve as important sources of energy for the body and are considered “good” carbs.
- Sugars include those naturally occurring (as in milk and fruit) and added (as in baked desserts). They’re best when kept to the naturally occurring kind taken in small amounts. All types of added sugar are considered “bad” carbs.
- Fiber comes from plants and is often from the same category as starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, lettuce, and other salad greens, mushrooms, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, and zucchini, have fewer carbs than starchy vegetables and contain lots of fiber. Fiber is also abundant in some fruit, nuts and seeds.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber absorbs water and turns into gel, which slows down digestion. Insoluble fiber adds bulk, which enables food to pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines and produces an effect similar to a broom, sweeping out waste. Eating a lot of fiber keeps your digestive tract happy and helps you feel full, making fiber an effective tool for weight management.
Since complex carbohydrates and fiber contribute to overall Active Wellness, they are needed in most healthy dietary regimens. Since not everyone has the discipline to eliminate sugar, the key is portion control. One easy way to control portions is called the “plate method.” Start with a 9-inch dinner plate:
- Fill half with non-starchy vegetables, such as salad, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots.
- Fill one quarter with a lean protein, such as chicken, beans, tofu, or eggs.
- Fill a quarter with a grain or starchy food, such as potatoes, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta (or skip the starch altogether and double up on non-starchy veggies).
Diabetic or not, it is prudent to choose foods with a low glycemic index. Low GI foods are more slowly digested and absorbed by your body, so you stay full longer, and they don’t have a big impact on your blood sugar. Examples of carbs with low GI are beans, brown rice, tomatoes, yogurt, apples, and milk.3
Be sure to take advantage of the Nikken November Special: Get three Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix for the price of two through November 24! Made with superior quality matcha green tea, brown rice solids, kiwi fruit and stevia leaf extract, you get good carbs and none of the bad, with only eight calories per serving.
For those with a sweet tooth, the last three months of the year may well be the worst. Temptations are everywhere, as brick and mortar shops display sweets galore and we’re bombarded online with images and recipes of holiday dessert. What’s a body to do!
Here are some practical tips to ease cravings for sweets while staying on an Active Wellness regimen:
- For a quick sugar fix, eat a piece of fruit or a sweet vegetable. Crunchy textures seem to help satisfy cravings, so choose carrots, beets, apples and persimmons. Fruit that is high in natural sugar also satisfies cravings more quickly—for example, grapes, mangoes and pineapples.
- Berries are delicious and when you freeze them, they take on the characteristics of sorbets. Try blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and any combinations. They’re high in fiber and actually low in sugar. A healthy combination of exotic berries is the basis of Kenzen Super Ciaga®, a great replacement for sodas when blended with seltzer water.
- Watermelon is wonderful as a base for smoothies and other blended beverages. Add some mint or even basil, and it’s scrumptious.
- Healthy sweeteners include monk fruit and stevia. They have zero calories and none of the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners—that’s why monk fruit is the sweetener in Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix and stevia is in Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix.
- Are you a chocoholic? The good news is that dark chocolate (with 70% or more cocoa) contains healthy plant compounds known as polyphenols. It still contains sugar and fat, so eat a couple of squares and savor it—no bingeing allowed.
- Dates! They’re nutritious and very sweet, naturally. They’re also rich in fiber, potassium, iron and a source of antioxidants. As a dried fruit, they contain a lot of natural sugar, so eat three or four, not too many.
To keep sugar intake low, here are some habits to develop:
- Read labels! Hidden sugars lurk in unexpected places. For example, packaged instant oatmeal has virtually no fiber but contains lots of sugar and artificial flavoring. Condiments such as ketchup, barbecue sauce and sweet chili contain a lot of sugar—a single tablespoon of ketchup may contain as much as four grams of sugar, which is about one teaspoon.1
- It may be counterintuitive, but when trying to decrease sugar intake, go for full fat rather than low-fat or non-fat versions of beverages and desserts. This is because low-fat and non-fat drinks and desserts add more sugar to compensate for the lack of fat. For example, an 8-ounce coffee made with whole milk and no added sugar, contains 2 grams of naturally occurring milk sugar and 18 calories.2 The same amount of a low-fat mocha drink contains 26 grams of added sugar and 160 calories.3
- Minimize consumption of processed foods. Go natural and organic. Processed foods contain 90% of the added sugars in the average American diet.4 For example, one serving, or approximately 128 grams, of canned pasta sauce can contain nearly 11 grams of sugar.5
- Choose nutrient-dense whole foods whenever possible. It takes a little more time, but preparing desserts with dried fruit, nuts and seeds provides healthy fats in addition to fulfilling your sweet tooth.
- Be a good role model for your family. Start your children on an Active Wellness regimen as soon as they can eat solid food. Mashed roasted yams and smashed bananas are great starter foods.
October is ADHD Awareness Month. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and its prevalence has increased in recent decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than seven percent of children and between four and six percent of adults in the United States have ADHD.1 Symptoms of the condition include having a hard time organizing and completing tasks, difficulty concentrating. focusing and listening, impulsivity, forgetfulness, impatience and poor time management.
While there are many drugs that claim to improve ADHD by balancing the brain’s neurotransmitters, these medications can also cause potential side effects including sleep problems, mood swings, loss of appetite, high blood pressure and even suicidal thoughts or actions. 2
Researchers continue to find alternative treatment methods that revolve around lifestyle modifications, many of which fit perfectly with Active Wellness. Here are some things that are believed to help minimize ADHD symptoms when eliminated from the diet:
- Avoid foods with dyes and preservatives. The Mayo Clinic noted that certain food colorings and preservatives may increase hyperactive behavior in some children, specifically sodium benzoate (commonly found in carbonated beverages, salad dressing and fruit juice products), FD&C yellow no. 5 and no. 6, FD&C red no. 3 and no. 40, D&C yellow no.10, FD&C blue no. 1 and no. 2, FD&C green no. 3, orange B and citrus red no. 2.3 Basically, be careful with anything that has food coloring.
- Avoid foods with chemical additives such as BHT and BHA. They are generally used to keep the oil in a product from going bad. They’re also found in processed foods such as potato chips, chewing gum, cake mixes, cereal and instant mashed potatoes.4
- Avoid foods with salicylates. These are natural substances that are actually abundant in healthy foods such as red apples, almonds, cranberries, grapes and tomatoes. Salicylates are also found in aspirin and other pain medications. Research has shown that when salicylates are eliminated from the diets of hyperactive patients, 30 to 50 percent of them showed improvement.5
- Allergens can be found in healthy foods but they might affect brain functions and trigger hyperactivity or inattentiveness if the body is sensitive to them. To see if any of the following foods can help decrease ADHD, eliminate them one at a time. They are the top eight food allergens: wheat, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, fish and shellfish.6
- Avoid sugar and gluten. Two studies done in Holland demonstrated that eliminating them improved symptoms in 70 percent of the children in their studies.7
- Avoid produce grown with pesticides and livestock raised with hormones and antibiotics. Go organic whenever possible to avoid accumulating chemicals, even in low doses, in the body and brain.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following behaviors to calm the mind and ease the tendency for overactivity:
- Eat lean proteins which help increase focus and provide the building blocks for brain health. Make sure to eat small amounts, as large quantities of protein at one time can overburden the digestive system. Protein powders can be a good source, but whey can be overstimulating for some people, so the safer choice is pea protein. This makes Kenzen Vital Balance® an ideal choice.
- Stay hydrated by drinking water. The brain is made up of 80 percent water and needs to stay hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating and can impair cognition and judgment. Carrying a PiMag® Sport Bottle that can be filled at any tap is a good habit to develop.
- Eat healthy fats, especially those with omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like salmon, sardines, avocados, walnuts, chia seed and dark green leafy vegetables. Supplement with Kenzen® Omega Green+DHA to fill in dietary gaps.
- Get at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Limit daily screen time from phones, computers and TV.
- Cook with herbs and spices. Garlic, oregano and turmeric are believed to boost blood flow to the brain, while there is scientific evidence that shows rosemary, thyme and sage help improve memory.8 Try incorporating Kenzen® Clarity into your daily regimen, as it’s formulated specifically to help maximize cognitive function.*
ADHD can be challenging, but by eating well and avoiding food triggers, both children and adults may be able to improve productivity and decrease or eliminate medications. Whether you may have ADHD or not, Active Wellness is the lifestyle of choice.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Do you stand up straight or do you slouch? Having good posture is more than a matter of being attractive. It’s important in terms of your physical strength and flexibility—it’s essential for Active Wellness—and especially for bone and joint health.
More than half of the American population older than 18 years of age (about 54%) are affected by bone and joint conditions.1 It’s no wonder that the most common cause of long-term disabilities are related to bone and joint pain.2 As life expectancy increases, so does the prevalence of bone and joint degeneration.
Here are some ways to help keep bones and joints strong and stable:
- Move more! Less movement increases stiffness in joints. Don’t sit in one position for a long time. Get up and stretch or take a short walk.
- Research suggests that aerobic exercise (otherwise known as cardio exercise) can help reduce swelling of the joints. Inflamed joints respond well to low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling.
- Stand and sit up straight. Slouching is hard on the joints, from your neck to your knees. Good posture helps keep hip and back muscles strong.
- Pay attention to your stance when lifting or carrying heavy items. Bend your knees instead of your back.
- Make sure to get enough calcium in your diet, since calcium helps keep bones healthy and strong. Natural sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, broccoli, kale, figs, soy or almond milk. Fill in any dietary gaps with the Kenzen® Bone Health Pack to help meet your recommended daily value of calcium with optimum absorption.
- Make sure to eat enough protein to build and maintain muscle mass. Muscles support the bones and joints. Good natural sources of protein include lean meats, seafood, beans, legumes and nuts. Just one serving of Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement contains more than 39% of the recommended daily value for protein.
- Incorporate citrus into your diet. Some studies suggest that vitamin C and other antioxidants can help keep joints healthy.3
- Take Kenzen® Joint with its advanced formula of a naturally occurring compound, cetyl myristoleate. This ingredient has natural surfactant and lubricant properties to help in smooth movement.* The same ingredient is found in CM Complex Cream to provide a naturally cooling and soothing effect to achy joints and muscles.
October 16 is World Spine Day and October 20 is World Osteoporosis Day. It’s an annual reminder to take care of your bones and your joints. It’s never too early to develop the habit of maintaining good posture, so be a good role model for the kids in your life. It’ll also keep you looking strong and healthy!
Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to many respiratory problems. Unfortunately, airborne contaminants are rampant and most people are not aware that indoor air quality often is even worse than polluted outdoor air.
Here are some of the things that can cause indoor air to be bad to inhale: asbestos, bacteria and viruses, building and paint products, carbon monoxide, odors from carpeting and flooring, cleaning supplies and household chemicals, dust mites and pet dander, mold and mildew, radon, secondhand smoke, volatile organic compounds and insect debris. Ironically, because air freshener is scented, it actually can be a culprit for respiratory distress—artificial fragrances are a major cause of serious health problems, especially for people with lung diseases such as asthma or COPD.1
There are simple precautions you can take to maintain indoor air quality:
- Do not allow anyone to smoke indoors.
- Make sure there are no leaks or standing water, for example, in the kitchen, basement or attic.
- Keep fuel-burning appliances fully vented to the outdoors and serviced regularly for proper functioning. These include gas stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.
- Store household chemicals, paints or solvents in closed compartments.
- Keep garbage covered before its removal.
- Select unscented or naturally scented personal care products.
- Keep pesticides and herbicides securely sealed.
Even people who live an Active Wellness lifestyle can experience negative health impacts from breathing polluted indoor air. Symptoms can be as mild as respiratory irritation (sneezing, sniffling) to serious ones that may cause asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and COPD.2
Some symptoms may not pertain to the respiratory system but can still be the result of breathing bad air. These include dry throat, headache, nausea, reduced resistance to infections, fatigue and even weakened athletic performance.3 When resistance to infections occurs, most people may experience cold-like or flu-like symptoms that can result in more severe respiratory complications.4
To breathe is to live. Breathing clean air is necessary to have an Active Wellness life. The KenkoAir Purifier® (KAP) is such an easy solution with multiple-stage HEPA filtration. Energy Star qualified, KAP is 35% more efficient than standard models and saves a minimum of 215 kilowatt hours per year. Using only 55 watts to cover 313 sq. ft., its carbon footprint is further decreased with a reusable prefilter and replaceable outer filters. Its advanced system helps to generate negative ions, replicating those in Nature, and it operates ozone-free and is therefore non-toxic. Made with recyclable plastics, KAP supports respiratory health and the health of planet Earth.