5 Tips for Balancing Your Immune System

Immune health has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially in the past year. People have tried to come up with a variety of ways to “boost” their immune system. But, is that really possible? It’s actually a common misconception that the more active our immune system is, the healthier we will be. The fact is, when it comes to our immune system, more is not necessarily better. While we don’t want an underactive immune system, an overactive immune system can cause problems, too. So, what we really want to achieve is a balanced immune system1. Here are five tips on how to get it!

 

1. Keep those vitamin D levels up!

Many people have low vitamin D levels, and studies show our levels drop in the fall and winter months (in the Northern hemisphere) when we begin to spend less time in the sun. This is bad news for our immune system. If our vitamin D blood levels fall rapidly – as often happens when the weather gets colder and our time in the sun decreases – our innate immunity suffers. So, to maintain optimal blood levels of vitamin D we need to get daily, moderate sun exposure and/or take a vitamin D supplement.

 

2. Sleep like a baby

For years, science has linked a good night’s sleep (6-8 consecutive hours) to a healthier immune system. That’s because during this regular time of rest, our immune system promotes a healthy inflammatory response. Stress hormones fall to the lowest levels at night, allowing our bodies to undo the physical stress exerted during the day. One of the best ways to improve the quality of sleep is to improve “sleep hygiene.” Create the right ambience in your bedroom by making it cool, dark, and quiet. You can even light some candles, take a bath, meditate, or just sit quietly. Sweet dreams!

 

3. Say sayonara to stress

Easier said than done, but it’s so important because stress takes a significant toll on our immune system. Physical, mental and emotional stress, especially when it’s ongoing, can impair our immune system’s ability do its job. Mindfulness-based activities like meditation, deep breathing and yoga are excellent tools for managing stress. Don’t forget exercise! It not only keeps us healthy, but it strengthens our immune system. Just 30 minutes a day of moderate activity is all it takes.

 

4. Feast on fermented foods

You may be thinking, “Fermented foods? What the heck is that?” Fermented foods consist of sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir and kombucha. Eating them is great for our immune system because 80 percent of the immune system is found in our gastrointestinal tract.  If these foods aren’t appealing to you, you can get the same benefits by taking probiotic supplements. Ingesting probiotics (friendly bacteria and yeasts) is an effective way to improve digestion and support immune health.

5. Add mushrooms to your diet

Did you know there are a few species of mushroom that contain some of the most powerful immune boosting compounds in nature? It’s true! Mushrooms such as shiitake, cordyceps, reishi, and maitake can reduce the negative stresses on our bodies. Not a fan of mushrooms? Consider adding a mushroom supplement to your diet such as the Kenzen® Immunity. It contains a combination of 14 different mushrooms, including rare varieties not available in conventional mushroom products.

Incorporating the active wellness tips described above to your lifestyle now will help you feel better and more balanced long-term.

1 https://www.objectivewellness.com/journal/posts/how-to-boost-your-immune-system-its-all-about-balance

Do More by Doing Less

By Guest Editor: Jeff Isom, Chancellor of Nikken University

Most of us are continually striving to be active, healthy, and well. The idea of Active Wellness is perhaps more of a process than a result and encompasses a variety of aspects in our lives. One of those areas is the personal growth we work towards as we decide what to create and accomplish on a day-to-day basis.

A question someone might ask themselves is, how do I do more with the time I have? It may be that we can accomplish more by deciding to focus on less. Think about the idea of limiting your daily to-do list to the top 3 most important things you want to accomplish for that day. You could do this same process at the beginning of every week for the week ahead. It is a simple strategy, but one that might prove to be extremely powerful.

This habit turbocharges your productivity because it forces you to prioritize the most significant things you want to achieve, and then causes you to have laser-like focus in getting them done. Having just three items to focus on throughout the day and week can help you stay centered and to accomplish more, even on days when you feel overloaded.

In order to make this approach work, it is important that you write out these 3 main focus areas before busying yourself with “urgent” but not important tasks like checking email, texts, or social media. It is necessary to prioritize what you want to achieve during the course of the day. You can also reference your schedule for the day and your week to see how much time you’ll have to devote to your top tasks.  Then, you can shift around meetings and commitments to concentrate on what really matters.

As you think about putting this Rule of 3 into practice, create your list on a daily basis first in order to realize how effective it can be. You can then add the weekly exercise from there. Make sure that your top 3 items are challenging but also realistic and achievable. This will help you stay motivated and ride the momentum for getting things done.

After you list out the top 3 items to accomplish, it is okay to write down additional minor tasks to take care of during the day (such as remembering to buy stamps, writing a thank you card, or going to the dry cleaner). What’s important is that you prioritize and place your energy on your top 3 tasks, and work on smaller items as time allows. At the end of the day, you can measure your productivity by looking at how successful you were at accomplishing your main 3 tasks.

To accomplish more and to spend time on your highest-impact tasks, you have to act on them on a daily basis. The Rule of 3 is a great way to do exactly that. This habit will help you do more by doing less. It will increase your growth as a person and move you closer towards Active Wellness in a variety of areas in your life.

About the guest editor: Jeff is Chancellor of Nikken University and regularly runs Nikken’s Humans Being More Workshops around the globe!

How to Use Color Psychology to Increase Your Overall Wellness

My 3-year-old’s favorite color is orange. I know this because he prefers to eat orange fruit, wear orange clothes and will always choose the orange popsicle when offered a variety of other flavors. Orange makes him happy and puts him in a good mood. Is this a coincidence or is there more at play here?

Psychologists and scientists have long believed that colors can impact your mood, sleep, energy and eating habits. It’s called color psychology or color therapy. And you can use it to create a wellness plan for yourself1.

Color therapy uses the benefits of different colors and shades to affect your wellbeing. As each color has a unique light wavelength, the color therapy principles use the energy of each shade to boost your mental and physical health.

  • Red and pink colors are linked to your blood, circulation and breathing. Use these colors to help raise your pulse, blood pressure and the speed that you breathe, and strengthen your veins. Wearing red or pink for a high energy workout could improve your results. Red is also linked to feeling of passion, so keep a red outfit at the ready for date nights!
  • Orange, as one of the warmest tones, notably resembles the color of the sunset – one of nature’s most calming and peaceful gifts. Watching a spectacular sunset can rebalance your joy, optimism and wisdom. Orange is also said to inspire creativity and enthusiasm.
  • Yellow is the most intense color in the spectrum. This color can make you feel happier. It can bring out your intelligence and wisdom. It’s also said to bring energy and encourage action. Yellow flowers can brighten your day and uplift you!
  • Green colors have a harmonious, calming effect. This is why many people choose to have plants in their homes and on their desks at work. And, when you’re indoors for a prolonged period of time, you know the exhilarating feeling of getting out into nature with the greenery.
  • Blue also encourages relaxation and calm, which is why it’s such a popular color on the walls of a bedroom. Many people prefer to choose blue mats to practice yoga or daily meditation. Stronger shades of blue support the brain’s thought processes, while lighter shades help improve concentration2.
  • Purple or indigo colors are beneficial for problems with the eyes, ears and nose, while more violet shades of purple with a pink tone can help relax your muscles and nervous system. Violet colors are also useful when meditating.
  • Black is often regarded as color of authority and power3. If you’re looking to take charge this is the color you should be gravitating to.

There’s a whole world of color out there! Embrace what it means and how it can improve your overall active wellness.

1 https://www.calmmoment.com/wellbeing/colour-therapy-boost-wellbeing/

2 https://www.barker-whittle.com.au/blog/3-colours-improve-concentration-productivity

3 https://psychologia.co/meaning-of-colors/

Workspace Wellness

Boost Your Mental and Physical Health Working Remotely

If there’s a silver lining to the past year, it’s the ability for most of us to work from the comfort of our own home. No commute, no business attire and no noisy coworkers! However, working remotely can come with unique challenges when it comes to mental and physical wellness: burnout, loneliness and uncomfortable working conditions. Here are some workplace wellness tips for the home to help keep you happy, healthy and productive1

Establish a Daily Routine
It is so important to keep the ritual of your regular morning routine as if you were still leaving the house to go to work. Set your alarm for your regular waking time, shower and dress, make your breakfast and coffee, etc. Consider scheduling in a few minutes of meditation every morning before you sign into work. It’s a great way to start your day with a clear and focused mind! You can find many free guided meditations online or through your mobile app.   

Create a Designated Office Space
Not everyone has the luxury of a private office space to work in. If possible, avoid working on your bed or couch. Aside from the back pain you’ll experience, it will be difficult to get into “working mode” in these spaces. Experts highly encourage you to find a dedicated space in your home with natural light, enough space for all your materials and an excellent desk chair! Did you know the average worker sits for approximately 10 hours a day?* Therefore, it’s extremely important to invest in a durable chair with a supportive back.

A separate working space also lets you disconnect at the end of the day. If your office is also the place where you sleep and watch television every night it will be difficult to differentiate work from relaxation.  

Take a Break

Set limits on how long you sit and stare at your computer screen. You need breaks to stretch your body, eat your meals and decompress. Schedule at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Take a stroll around your neighborhood, do an online workout video or try some yoga moves. 

Remember, just because you are at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a coffee or a lunch break. Avoid eating in front of your computer as much as possible. If needed, schedule your lunch breaks at a certain time every day, so your coworkers know that you are not reachable during that time.

Stay Social
Make it a point to stay connected and bond with your coworkers through Zoom lunches or virtual team Happy Hours. Send your best friend a text or give your mom a call – chances are she would love to hear from you! Smile and wave to people you see on your walks when strolling through your neighborhood on a break. We are social beings and we need to maintain that human connection!

Structure a Beginning and End to Your Day
Working from home makes it very easy to stay connected until the late hours of the day. To maintain mental wellness, it is important to set limits and end your work days as you normally would in a traditional office setting. Keep track of your hours to make sure you aren’t constantly working overtime. 

Work smart with workspace wellness to help maintain your active wellness.

1https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/promote-wellness-work

*WashingtonPost.com

Expert Workplace and Higher Learning Tips for New Grads

Congratulations, Class of 2021! Whether you finished school on-campus, remotely or hybrid, the end result is you did it! You achieved a monumental milestone and now the future is yours. You may wonder, what now? Should you join the workforce? Pursue higher learning? Well, if you’re looking to join the workforce, we recommend these tips to help you succeed1:

  • Identify the key soft skills (power skills) you have and need. Examples include critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and learning agility. Learning agility is your most important skill, because it means you have the curiosity and motivation to continuously learn new skills throughout your career.
  • Consider core technical skills you have that are likely to stay in high demand, such as digital literacy, data science and data analytics. And then build upon those skills.
  • Focus on skills that are portable and that will be critical regardless of what field you enter. For example, the data analytics skills you developed in your marketing job may be just as valuable — or even more valuable — in e-commerce or product development.
  • Keep a permanent, personal list of past and future learning. This will help you have better conversations about your skills in interviews and on the job.
  • Discover, filter and apply your learning. Utilize low or no-cost technology. You can also use Twitter Lists for streams of topic-specific material from those you choose to follow and platforms like YouTube have many relevant talks and interviews.

Some new grads may find joining the workforce right away to be bad timing, too intimidating or be looking for an advantage to find their perfect position. For these reasons and more, higher education can be a worthwhile option.  Here’s what you’ll need to excel2:

  • Be an effective planner and initiative taker. You’ll need to be mentally ready for the marathon of graduate studies.
  • Have the maturity to rebound from disappointments. Graduate school is a whole different ballgame than college.
  • Build up your stamina to complete long projects on your own, without much interaction or (potentially) direction.
  • Do specific research on job placement for the programs you’re considering. It’s a competitive market out there!
  • Finances matter. You’ll need to weigh the cost of graduate school against your future earning potential, and then figure out how much you can afford to spend on your degree.

Remember, no matter what you choose, this is an exciting time in your life—enjoy it!

1 https://hbr.org/2019/09/why-even-new-grads-need-to-reskill-for-the-future

2 https://www.princetonreview.com/grad-school-advice/should-you-go-to-grad-school-right-after-undergrad

The Amazing History of Honoring Men on Father’s Day!

Moms are awesome, but dads deserve a day to be recognized for all they do too! Did you ever wonder how Father’s Day began? It’s quite a story! It started with a young girl who had five siblings who were all being raised by their single father. Her name was Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington and this is her story1.

In May of 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd sat in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. She decided she wanted to designate a day for her dad, William Jackson Smart. Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth, and Dodd’s father, a Civil War veteran, had taken the responsibility of singlehandedly raising the newborn and his other five children.

The following year, Dodd wanted to celebrate Father’s Day on June 5th, her father’s birthday, and petitioned for the holiday to be recognized in her city. Needing more time to arrange the festivities, Spokane’s mayor pushed the date back by two weeks, and the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910, according to the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau.

In 1916, President Wilson attended the Father’s Day celebration in Spokane and confirmed that he was working to make the holiday recognized at a national level. Congress initially resisted because they were worried about commercialization. It took 56 years before President Richard Nixon signed Father’s Day into law in 19722.

At the first Father’s Day celebration, young women handed out red roses to their fathers during a church service, and large baskets full of roses were passed around, with attendees encouraged to pin on a rose in honor of their fathers – red for the living and white in memory of the deceased.

One hundred and eleven years later, we still celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday of every June in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other countries. It’s an anticipated day not just for fathers, but for stepfathers, uncles, grandpas and the other men who take on the role of fatherhood for children everywhere.

1 https://www.livescience.com/10697-father-day-turns-100.html

2 https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/fathers-day/g21205120/fathers-day-throughout-the-years/

Healthy Dads are Happy Dads!

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of becoming a father. A whole new chapter of your life opens up filled with endless milestones to experience with your child: teaching your mini-me how to talk, walk, run and navigate life. To keep up with your little one for every new experience, you’ll want to be in your best health. In honor of Men’s Health Week (June 14th-June 20th), here are four tips to help be the healthiest dad you can be!1

1. Watch Your Weight
Most men relax their diets and exercise program once they get married and start a family. They gain weight, particularly during their partner’s pregnancy. But once the baby arrives, you have to be as active, mobile and quick as you can. Therefore, controlling your weight should be your top priority and something that will define your health status throughout your life.

2. Manage Your Stress
Working all day and keeping everything under control means you’re probably under more stress than you realize. There are lots of ways to minimize stress – staying active, exercising and communicating with your loved ones are just some of them. Find the methods that suit you the best, practice them daily, and you’ll be a calmer and better parent for the long-haul.

3. Schedule Regular Check Ups
All parents go into action mode the minute they see something is not right with their kids. As soon as they start coughing or feeling woozy, we take them to the doctor’s office and deal with the problem. However, it’s not just kids that need this sort of attention – it’s the dads as well. It’s essential to see your doctor for regular screenings and annual physicals. Your kiddos are counting on you!

4. Find the Balance
Providing for family often requires dads to work long hours. It can wear you out physically and emotionally. Avoiding burnout is a must if you want to enjoy fatherhood and life long-term, so you need to learn how to balance your work and your family more effectively than before. Talk to your employer, talk to your partner, and find a solution that works for both of you.

Remember, you’re doing it all for the sake of your children and a chance to spend more quality time with them. That’s why lots of men don’t really mind altering their habits and introducing positive changes to their lives in order to become healthier, happier and better fathers.

This year’s Father’s Day falls on June 20th, and we have the perfect gift to keep all dads healthier and happier. Receive the Men’s Nikken Watch as a gift with qualifying orders between  June 1—June 30, 2021!* Speak to your Nikken Consultant for further details.

1 https://www.daddilife.com/how-to-be-a-healthier-dad-in-2019/

Introducing KENZEN True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care

Good for You and Sustainable for Nature

Sometimes it’s possible to make a good thing better. That’s what we’ve done with the KENZEN True Elements® range of skin care products. Not only have we upgraded the already advanced formulas, but we also have a higher level of organic certification and have changed our packaging to be more eco-friendly.

We’ve added ‘KENZEN’ to the brand – Kenzen means “healthy” in Japanese – we are tying together our nutritionals with our skin care. In fact, you’ll notice the new True elements® contains an even higher level of natural and organic ingredients – making it a great nutritional addition for your skin. 

KENZEN True Elements® was always certified organic by EcoCert®, but now we’ve added COSMOS ORGANIC to our certifications. Adding this gold standard in international certification, COSMOS Organic means the True Elements® range must comply with even more stringent guidelines. Complying with COSMOS Organic certification ensures responsible usage of natural resources and responsibility towards biodiversity and eco-friendly production with high-quality natural and organic ingredients via processes that respect people and the environment.

We take our commitment to the environment and to natural organic skin care seriously. 

Our KENZEN True Elements® formulations are formulated along the same ingredient guidelines as our nutritionals. That means no GMOS, pesticides, parabens, polyethylene glycol (PEG), silicone, dyes, aroma, controversial ingredients, gluten, alcohol or aluminum salts.

Because we respect the ocean and its precious inhabitants, the seaweeds used in KENZEN True Elements® are harvested by hand and by boat from the Iroise Sea in Brittany France, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Just as it’s important to fish sustainably, it’s equally crucial to harvest seaweed and other marine plants respectfully. Harvesting by hand and boat helps to preserve resources and maintain a low carbon footprint.  Another step towards our mission to be ‘in harmony with nature’ and sharing Active Wellness with the Global Wellness Community.

The first three new and improved products are: Moisturizing Face Cream (item 2044), Youth Activ Serum (item 2042) and brand new Revitalizing Serum (item 2062). The two serums are formulated to complement the Moisturizing Face Cream. To be applied on a clean face before applying the Moisturizing Face Cream, the Youth Activ Serum targets anti-aging and dark pigmentation spots. The Revitalizing Serum is formulated to energize dull, tired-looking skin with marine minerals . Both serums help decrease the appearance of fine lines and boost the hydration of the Moisturizing Face Cream. Depending on the needs of your skin, you can choose which serum best suits you; however, you can also use one in the morning and the other at night.

The key ingredients in these advanced formulas include three different types of seaweed extracts: Organic Chondrus, Organic Laminaria, Organic Ulva Lactuca and sea plant: Organic Sea Fennel. Along with High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid, Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid, Organic Shea Butter and Marine Magnesium Concentrate. Take a look at the three new KENZEN True Elements® products in our Nikken shopping cart to read more about the features and benefits of each precious skin care product.

Nikken is committed to working in tandem with nature and Planet Earth, so KENZEN True Elements® are Good for You and Sustainable for Nature.

Do You Have Allergies?

Allergies are irritating, but they can be managed, especially if you stick to an Active Wellness lifestyle. An allergy is when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. It could be something you eat, inhale into your lungs, inject into your body or touch. Allergens can cause coughing, sneezing, hives, rashes, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. Although there is no cure for allergies, you can manage them with prevention and treatment.

More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year.1 That’s why it’s important to know what you are allergic to and avoid those allergens as much as possible. Some allergens are easier to avoid than others—the main sources of allergens are drugs, food, insects, latex, mold, pets and pollen.2

Many people suffer from allergies but don’t know the causes. Because many allergies are irritants but not life-threatening, it’s common practice to take any number of over-the-counter allergy medications. If the medication helps stop the symptoms, then people simply keep taking them without knowing the root cause. The most common side effect to taking allergy medications is sleepiness, so over the years, new formulas have popped up that are “non-drowsy.” Most commonly used are antihistamines, cortisone ointments, decongestants and epinephrine—people with severe allergies carry “epi-pens” so they can self-inject epinephrine to counteract serious allergic reactions.

An Active Wellness lifestyle may not be able to get rid of your allergies; however, being healthy can certainly bolster your overall immune system to help you cope with them. For example, with seasonal allergies from pollen or certain trees, sometimes the allergic reactions disappear. Whether this is your body’s way of adapting over the years or the result of healthy living can’t be proven, but it certainly might be helpful.

There are treatments without using medications. For example, people with airborne allergies may choose to wash out their noses daily with a nasal saline solution, plain water or by using a Neti pot. Others may choose to diffuse natural scents to help the nasal passages open.

With food allergies, avoiding the primary offenders generally takes care of any issues. The most common food allergies are to milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.3 Food allergies are different from food intolerances. For example, you can be lactose-intolerant but not allergic to lactose—food intolerance does not involve the immune system. To determine any possible food allergies, track what you eat, when symptoms occur, and what seems to be helpful.

Insects that may cause allergies are generally divided into three groups: stinging, biting, and non-stinging/biting. Stinging insects such as bees, wasps, hornets and fire ants inject a toxic venom when they sting. Biting insects such as mosquitoes, bedbugs, fleas and certain flies may cause itchiness, swelling, rashes and/or pain.

One particularly unusual development that may result from a Lone Star tick bite is becoming allergic to meat. This is because a tick transfers alpha-gal, a sugar, into the person’s bloodstream. When the person’s immune system reacts to it, the meat allergy develops because alpha-gal is also found in beef, lamb and pork.4

Your indoor environment plays an important role in keeping allergens away. Dust mites and pet dander are common offenders that can be filtered out with a good air purifier. There are still a few days left in May to take advantage of the outstanding promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price! Tell your friends about it and share the benefits with your family! To breathe is to live!

1, 2 https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts

3 https://www.aafa.org/prevent-allergies/

4 https://www.aafa.org/insect-allergy/

How Do You Feel When You Breathe?

To breathe is to live! We take breathing for granted, but there are people who have trouble breathing. People with asthma sometimes have trouble catching their breath. Why does this happen? The good news is that there are ways to mitigate asthma.

People with asthma may be sensitive to things which may not bother other people. These things are known as “triggers.” Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms, which may include trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.

Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Some people react to only a few while others react to many. Most commonly, triggers come in the form of dust mites, pollen, molds, pet dander, smoke from cigarettes, smog, wood fires, charcoal grills, fumes and vapors from paint, gasoline, perfumes, deodorizers, dust, floating particles in the air and any number of chemicals.1

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with medications, preventative measures and a healthy Active Wellness lifestyle. The key is to learn from past asthmatic episodes and to track them. In other words, if you know your asthma triggers, you can try to avoid them as much as possible, which will lower the risk of an attack.2 Some questions to help track triggers are:

  • Was I making a bed or vacuuming?
  • Was I near an animal?
  • Was I near someone who was smoking a cigarette?
  • Was I exercising vigorously?
  • Was I extremely upset or happy?
  • Was I exhausted?

You can see from the questions which triggers they represent. You then can acknowledge whether or not you’re triggered by dust, pet dander, smoke, exercise, extreme emotions, or fatigue. There are other triggers, but these are just examples of things to pay attention to.

People may feel asthma symptoms come on gradually. For example, warning signs include coughing, chest tightness and/or a feeling of tiredness unlike the usual fatigue. These symptoms occur as the lungs are narrowing slowly. People may also not even notice anything unusual before the airways are uncomfortably blocked. Experience will help determine whether or not an asthma attack is about to happen.

Just to be on the safe side, you can work on reducing the usage of chemical detergents and artificial deodorizers in the home. You can also get rid of old carpeting, vacuum often, and keep pet hair cleaned up as much as possible. Perhaps the one most important thing to do is to use an air purifier.

Since asthma is one of America’s most common and costly illnesses, using a good air purifier is a good preventative measure to help even the healthiest of us breathe clean air. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Your lungs will appreciate it!

1 https://www.aafa.org/asthma.aspx

2 https://www.aafa.org/asthma-prevention/