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.… More
Providing food is a universal act of care in every species within the animal kingdom. Humans above all show affection by preparing and serving a variety of food. Often, certain types of food are given as “treats,” thus assigning them extra value.
Here’s an example of a dialogue between parent and child:
Parent: Finish your dinner and you can have a special treat.
Child: What’s the special treat?
Parent: You can have a frosted cupcake.
The problem here is that the frosted cupcake is given the status of a special treat, so the child perceives it as something highly desirable. The fact that the child has to finish dinner in order to obtain the treat implies that the dinner is something to get out of the way in order to obtain the cupcake. It may seem harmless enough, but this kind of behavior becomes entrenched in the child and carries into his or her adult life and can even perpetuate itself into the next generation. Unfortunately, high-calorie, high-fat and heavily sugared foods are the ones that are generally called treats, while nutrient-dense foods that should be valued, are not. No wonder childhood obesity has become a serious problem in North America.
Obese children are at a higher risk of having chronic health conditions, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems and type 2 diabetes. Onset of diabetes in children can lead to heart disease and kidney failure.1 And more obviously, children with obesity are more likely to become obese adults with numerous health challenges.
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), obesity threatens the health of today’s children to such an extent that they may, for the first time in U.S. history, have a shorter lifespan than their parents. This crisis has led to increasing interest in the prevention of obesity, starting with childhood. The ADA has compiled a lot of data about childhood obesity, based on ongoing studies and reports. The main areas of review are food and nutrients, eating behaviors, family interactions around food and meals and physical activity vs. sedentary behaviors.2
Since parents and caretakers are largely responsible for providing food for most young children, the “control” is in the adults’ hands. Here are some common sense guidelines:
- Be a good role model and eat healthy foods.
- Help children develop good nutritional habits by having healthy food available—lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, lentils and beans.
- “Out of sight, out of mind,” so don’t purchase beverages with extra sugar. Evidence strongly supports a correlation between obesity in children with a high intake of sweetened beverages.3 Also avoid the availability of snacks with high fat and high sodium.
- Have family meals together. Reports from the American Dietetic Association show evidence that increased frequency of family meals is associated with a higher consumption of nutritious foods and less of fried food and soft drinks.
- Encourage children to drink water throughout the day, and provide them with their individual PiMag® Sport Bottle. Children like taking ownership of something special and the PiMag® Sport Bottle will help them receive clean, filtered water. Teach them to fill the PiMag® Sport Bottle with tap water or wherever there is potable water. In doing so, your children will be learning to drink less chlorinated water and at the same time, reduce plastic waste from bottled water.
- Serve age-appropriate portions, and don’t expect children to “clean their plates” at every meal. On the other end of the spectrum, wait 15 minutes before serving seconds, so children can learn the feeling of fullness.
- Don’t watch TV during meals or snacks. Distracted eating is the opposite of mindful eating.
- Don’t use sweets as a reward. The definition of “treat” is really up to the parent, and when kids are taught to choose healthy foods from a very young age, it carries into adulthood.
Now let’s take the example dialogue mentioned above and change it up:
Parent: Finish your dinner and you can have a special treat.
Child: What’s the special treat?
Parent: We’re going to go for a bike ride together before it gets dark.
It’s never too early to start living Active Wellness. Examples of good treats that are 100 calories or less are a medium-sized apple or banana, a cup of blueberries, a cup of carrots, broccoli or bell peppers accompanied by a couple of tablespoons of hummus. A Kenzen Vital Balance® “milk shake” is also a healthy treat, and makes a wonderful breakfast or snack for the whole on-the-go family.
Lots of research is being conducted on pain, and no wonder! According to pain specialists at Johns Hopkins University, nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain, more than those who have diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.1 To help find and improve treatments, researchers attempt to understand more about the underlying causes of pain.
Pain is actually a warning signal that something is wrong. The pain starts in receptor nerve cells located beneath the skin and in organs throughout the body. There are many different types of pain, but the most common stem from arthritis, spinal issues and headaches.
- Arthritis refers to more than 100 different conditions ranging from autoimmune disease to joint inflammation. Although there is no cure, there are treatment plans with short-term and long-term goals, dependent on the severity and type of arthritis.
- Back pain is so common that the National Institutes of Health contend that eight out of 10 people will have some sort of spinal issue in their lifetimes.
- Headaches vary, with migraines being one of the most debilitating types. They can be triggered by stress, fatigue and certain foods. Children can have headaches triggered by hormones, stress, medications, dehydration, depression and anxiety. Genetics can play a part in headaches.
Pain is the most common reason for people to seek medical care. It also is one of the reasons people frequently turn to complementary and integrative health approaches.2 Pain costs the United States an estimated $635 billion a year in terms of lost productivity and medical expenditures, with chronic pain being the leading cause of long-term disability in adults.3
Given the huge opioid crisis in the United States, many suffering from chronic pain are now dealing with limited access to prescriptions—alternatives to drugs are needed even more. These alternatives can range from outright tolerance (the grit your teeth school of pain management) to methodical breathing (similar to Lamaze techniques during childbirth) to yoga and meditation.
There also are a wide range of topical ointments, patches, orthopedic support systems and homeopathic formulations. For example, Nikken CM Complex Cream and Kenzen® Joint, both contain cetyl myristoleate, a naturally occurring compound that is believed to help ease joint discomfort. The soothing nature of the compound was discovered by National Institutes of Health researcher Dr. H.W. Diehl. The Nikken formulation is endorsed by Dr. Diehl’s estate.
Health practitioners who practice pain management contend that expectations are key to whether patients become overly dependent on prescription pain relievers. Expectations of pain relief can range from total painlessness to taking the edge off. Search and Rescue USA states that of 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, 40% involved a prescription opioid.4 The higher the expectation, the more drugs are involved.
A concrete example of varying expectations can be witnessed with the changing trends in childbirth. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, women had no choice but to tolerate the pain of childbirth. By the 1940s and 1950s, many giving birth were completely “knocked out” or “put under” because childbirth was considered a medical procedure. By the 1960s and 1970s, the pendulum swung in the other direction and the natural childbirth movement began. By the 1980s, epidural anesthesia became common; as a result, many opted to stay awake but without feeling acute labor pains and Cesarean sections increased.5 By the 1990s, there was a swing back to birthing without drugs. With each decade, mothers and their families had a different set of expectations and pain was managed accordingly.
Whatever types of pain we may experience and whichever treatments we seek largely depend on our expectations. Barring life-threatening diseases that require extreme forms of pain management, an Active Wellness lifestyle can help enhance any other way of relieving pain.
KenkoTherm® Support Wraps help strained or achy muscles and joints function more smoothly. The strong yet stretchable wraps have warming ceramic reflective fibers that help provide a sense of confidence while they support movement. KenkoTherm DUK® Tape is made with 100% cotton tape and hypoallergenic. You can cut it to the size you want to obtain the support right where you need it. It’s water-resistant and lasts all day to help ease muscle and joint discomfort.
September is National Cholesterol Education Month in the United States, so it’s an appropriate time of year to get updated with the facts. Research is ongoing in this particular area related to heart health, especially since high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
High cholesterol usually doesn’t have any symptoms. As a result, many people do not know that their cholesterol levels are too high. However, doctors can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol—it’s called a lipoprotein profile and can measure your total cholesterol levels, including LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or “good” cholesterol), and triglycerides. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends that adults aged 20 years or older have their cholesterol checked every five years.
In the United States, more than one-fifth (20%) of youth aged 12–19 years have at least one abnormal lipid level.1 Risk increases for children two or older through their teen years if they are overweight, have a family history of high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, or certain chronic conditions, such as kidney disease, inflammatory diseases, congenital heart disease, and childhood cancer survivorship.2
High cholesterol can be controlled through lifestyle changes but if practicing Active Wellness is not enough, physicians frequently prescribe medications known as statins. Side effects vary depending upon the individual.
Lowering cholesterol naturally takes discipline and commitment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focus on improving the diet to combat high cholesterol:
- Limit foods high in saturated fat. Saturated fats come from animal products (such as cheese, fatty meats, and dairy desserts) and tropical oils. Foods that are higher in saturated fat may be high in cholesterol.
- Choose foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium (salt), and added sugars, such as lean meats, seafood, fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.
- Eat foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans (black, pinto, kidney, lima, and others) and unsaturated fats, which can be found in avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil and nuts. These foods may help prevent and manage high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
When it comes to naturally lowering cholesterol, the partner to a healthy diet is exercise. The Surgeon General recommends two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking or bicycling, every week—or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity. Children and adolescents should get one hour or more of physical activity every day.3
Another alternative to statins that may work well with an Active Wellness lifestyle is taking a nutritional supplement made with bergamot fruit. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) has published various studies and multiple clinical trials with bergamot. To summarize their findings, bergamot has been found to contain a variety of phytochemicals—otherwise known as biologically active compounds—that are known to be beneficial in helping to reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in patients with levels that are higher than what is widely considered by researchers and physicians to be within a healthy range.4 Bergamot therefore continues to be studied as an alternative to statins which are known to have a variety of uncomfortable side effects.
Now in capsule form, Kenzen Bergisterol® 60 is a unique organic formulation made with Citrus bergamia Risso, an exclusive strain of the bergamot fruit and blended with vitamin C in the form of organic amla, colloquially known as Indian Gooseberry,
a known source of polyphenols and bioflavonoids.
Every life form on Earth requires water to survive, but how much do human beings need to drink to be healthy and practicing the Active Wellness lifestyle? It really depends on the individual and there are a variety of opinions from researchers and health authorities.
What everyone agrees on is that the human body is composed of about 60% water, and we’re constantly losing water from perspiration and urine and other bodily output. We therefore drink water to replenish and prevent dehydration. Water is required for virtually every bodily function, including flushing toxins from organs, carrying nutrients to cells, cushioning joints and helping to digest food.
When the water content in the human body goes below certain levels, we experience the feeling of thirst. In general, it’s not something we have to think about, just as we don’t think about breathing. It happens and we reach for water to rehydrate. As simple as that process is, this automatic thirst mechanism becomes less accurate with age, so the elderly need to be more conscious and hydrate throughout the day, even when not feeling thirsty.1
People’s water requirements vary depending on age, weight, physical activity, general health and the climate they live in. If you live in hot climates, you will sweat more and require more water. If you have a job that requires strenuous labor, you will require more water than someone sitting at a desk in an air-conditioned office. It’s common sense but there are recommendations and guidelines from the National Academies of Sciences. For women, they recommend a total of 2.7 liters or 91 ounces of liquid daily, including all beverages and water-rich foods.2 For men, the recommendation is a total of 3.7 liters or 125 ounces of liquid daily, including all beverages and water-rich foods.3
Similarly, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends 13 cups or three liters daily for men and nine cups or two plus liters daily for women. IOM adds that pregnant women should drink about 10 cups daily, while breastfeeding mothers need 12 cups.4 They state that children and teens generally require six to eight cups daily, with the addition of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are water-rich. During exercise, the goal is to drink a half to two cups of water every 15-20 minutes.5
Signs of dehydration include headaches, increased heart rate, faint pulse, reduced blood pressure with an inability to stand upright and dry mouth.6 Many medications also cause dry mouth or outright dehydration, so be sure to discuss water intake needs with a doctor or pharmacist if placed on prescriptions.
No matter which health authorities you choose to believe, there is no question that everyone can benefit from the eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle and PiMag Waterfall®. They’re great for Planet Earth and you’ll save money over the years by avoiding the purchase of bottled water!
During the summer months, the topic of water safety comes up as the warm weather attracts people of all ages to pools, lakes and the beach. Whether indoors or enjoying water sports outside, being “water competent” is key to having fun without being at risk of drowning. According to the American Red Cross, the skills required to achieve water competency are to be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely.1
Common sense dictates that all children, whether they are water competent or not, be supervised when they are in or near bodies of water. “Better safe than sorry” absolutely applies to water safety. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death among children of all ages and is a worldwide phenomenon. That’s why it is paramount that children are educated early in recognizing drowning risks to protect themselves and others. Public awareness and education focused on young children is the most powerful tool to prevent fatal and non-fatal drowning.2
Water can kill in more ways than by drowning. The World Health Organization says that every year more than 3.4 million people die as a result of water related diseases. Most of the victims are young children, the majority of who die of illnesses caused by organisms that thrive in contaminated water sources.3
In countries such as Canada and the United States, the law protects public drinking water supplies with specific standards, so it is generally safe to drink water straight out of the tap. However, even in North America, there are places that don’t have readily available potable water. Water in different states and provinces have discernible tastes, some palatable and others not. Whether due to convenience or taste, far too many people habitually drink bottled water, adding to the catastrophic carbon footprint of plastic waste. And ironically, the water within the bottles is not necessarily better for the health.
Why not commit to drinking water that is produced with Active Wellness and sustainability in mind? Plastic bottles simply are not sustainable—they use vast quantities of fossil fuels and water itself—they’re manufactured, filled and shipped around the globe, creating a massive carbon footprint!4 Even with recycling efforts, six out of seven plastic bottles consumed in the U.S. become waste in land fills or end up in the ocean.5
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there may be a slight chance that bottled water contains more contaminants than tap water. The EPA strictly regulates tap water, while bottled water is categorized as a packaged food product by the Food and Drug Administration. Testing is not as stringent or strictly enforced as tap water.6
The solution is so simple: drink water from a PiMag Waterfall® or PiMag® Sport Bottle. Not only do they help decrease your carbon footprint, it’s actually healthier for you! Alkalizing with 99%+ reduction in bacteria, particulates, chlorine, chloramine, cyst and lead—the eco-friendly bottle has replaceable filters, each of which provides the equivalent of drinking approximately 250 12 to 16-ounce bottles of water. The Waterfall holds 1.32 gallons or five liters of water and each replaceable filter lasts 90 days or for 900 liters, whichever comes first! Save money, but more importantly, save our planet.
Discover Planet Earth. Live Green and Clean. Share Community Conscience.
At Nikken, we promote Active Wellness as a way of living. It’s a proactive rather than reactive approach to life. That means taking measures to maintain health and doing the best to prevent bodily and mental breakdown. Ironically, as we make huge advances in technology, we continue to be confronted with challenges that often have no sure-fire solutions. This is the case with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than 125 million people worldwide.1
No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but since August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, it is a good time to learn about it, whether we suffer from outbreaks of scaly skin or not. Researchers believe psoriasis can be triggered by cuts, scrapes or surgery, as well as emotional stress, infections, and even certain medications, such as beta-blockers that control blood pressure and antimalarial drugs.2 This skin disorder causes skin cells to multiply 10 times faster than normal, building into bumpy red patches with white scales.3 It’s not contagious but sometimes occurs with members of the same family.
Although not curable, certain precautions can be taken to help prevent flare-ups:
- Stay warm in cold, dry weather. Researchers have shown that psoriasis occurs more often in wintry weather, so limiting the skin’s exposure to the cold is a proactive measure.
- Keep skin moisturized. Dry skin is a trigger and can make scaling more severe. A humidifier may be helpful, especially in winter months. Alternatively, use True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care to cleanse, tone and hydrate skin year round.
- Get short, regular bursts of sunlight, because ultraviolet radiation has immunosuppressive effects. UV light therapy is a known treatment option for psoriasis.
- Wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Skin damage of any kind is a trigger for flareups.
- Make sure to get enough Vitamin D, since a deficiency is common in people with psoriasis.
- Take extra care when cutting nails or shaving and avoid scratching insect bites. Wear gloves when gardening and be careful when preparing food with knives.
- Reduce stress. Reports suggest that stress may trigger flare-ups in 68% of adults with psoriaris.4 Practice yoga and meditation to ease stress.
- Eat a whole food diet that includes nuts and seeds, since they contain good fats, which may help improve skin health. Avoid food that is known to be inflammatory, especially processed carbohydrates and anything with lots of added sugar.
- Take Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA. Research suggests that omega fatty acids may improve various signs and symptoms of psoriasis.5 Since Omega Green + DHA is made with flaxseed oil, cranberry seed oil and red algae, it comes from sustainable resources that are kosher, vegan certified and gluten-free. With all three types of omega fatty acids formulated in optimal proportions (3, 6, 9), Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA is designed for heart health, an added benefit, since the risk of heart disease rises for those suffering from psoriasis.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration is found among people with psoriasis, especially females 60 years of age and older.7 Keep a PiMag® Waterfall in your kitchen for cooking purposes as well as drinking, and take a PiMag® Sport Bottle with you everywhere.
- Take Kenzen® Joint. Although symptoms of psoriasis depend on the specific type, sufferers commonly experience some combination of itchy skin, burning or sore skin, scaly skin and swollen or stiff joints. Kenzen® Joint nutritionally supports collagen, bone and connective tissue repair with a high concentration of cetyl myristoleate combined with glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and compounds from the boswellia plant.
- Use CM Complex Cream for its naturally soothing and cooling effects on achy joints. In addition to cetyl myristoleate, this topical formulation includes aloe, menthol and peppermint, which are derived from plants and offer a natural alternative to chemical ointments.
All the precautions mentioned above may help those trying to prevent psoriasis flare-ups. They also are part of the Active Wellness approach to wellbeing for anyone seeking to maintain or improve health—physically and mentally.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Whether you have children or grandchildren, understanding how vaccines work is an important aspect of successful parenting/co-parenting and role modeling Active Wellness.
A vaccine works by training the immune system to recognize and fight pathogens, whether they’re viral or bacterial. In order to achieve this goal, certain molecules from either a virus or a bacterium (known as antigens) are injected into the body so that the immune system can identify and remember them as “enemies.” When confronted with the antigens, the immune system goes to work by activating white blood cells that make proteins called antibodies, which locate the “enemies” and wage a counter offensive.
Depending on the strength of the virus/bacteria, the immune system will succeed or fail. In cases where the antibody response is too late, the invading organism can cause a severe or life-threatening infection.1 Fortunately, in many cases, even when symptoms are already present, the immune system and its antibodies can eventually help stop many infections and help the body recover.
Vaccines can be effective to protect entire populations even when not everyone is inoculated. This phenomenon is called “herd immunity” or “community immunity.” Public health officials and scientists continue to study herd immunity to identify key thresholds. One notable example is in Gambia, where 70% of the population was vaccinated and that was enough to eliminate the Hib disease, a bacterial illness that can lead to potentially deadly brain infection in young children. 2
In addition to those who choose not to vaccinate, there is a percentage of the population that cannot be vaccinated due to severe allergies, pregnancy or compromised immune systems. Fortunately, when “herd immunity” occurs, these unvaccinated people are able to stay safe—this was the case with the 30% of Gambians who were not vaccinated but did not contract Hib.
Those with hardier immune systems fare better when attacked by pathogens. The elderly are especially at risk, because they are more likely to contract infectious diseases than the young. Respiratory infections, influenza and particularly pneumonia are leading causes of death in people over 65 worldwide. Furthermore, studies have shown that people over 65 respond less favorably to vaccines than healthy children. Despite this reduction in efficacy, sickness and death in older people have been significantly lowered when compared with those who do not get vaccinations.3
Scientists continue to research why certain nutrients and micronutrients may alter components of immune function—but there is no evidence they can actually bolster immunity to the point of being protective against infection and disease.4 There are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that they respond in innumerable ways to the myriad types of microbes. Scientists still don’t know which specific cells to boost and by how much. What they do know is that the body continually generates immune cells and the extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death.5
Studies have been conducted over the years regarding the relationship of mushrooms and immune response.* Mycologists continue to produce evidence that mushroom species have been used as far back as 3,000 B.C. for their potential benefits.6
Kenzen® Immunity is formulated with 14 species of mushrooms, of which six strains are exclusive to Nikken.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.