What’s the Big Deal with Berries?

Within our bodies millions of processes occur every day, such as turning the foods we eat into energy. These processes require oxygen. Byproducts of using oxygen are called oxidants, often referred to as “free radicals”. Free radicals can also be introduced to our bodies through external sources such as tobacco smoke, pollution, and exposure to the sun. In the same way that oxidation can cause rust on the surface of some objects, free radicals can cause damage to cell walls, cell structures and even the genetic material of a cell. If the genetic material of a cell is attacked, this can lead to changes in the body’s DNA “genetic blue print” and has been linked to a number of diseases, including cardiovascular disease.1

Antioxidants work to deactivate free radicals by binding to oxidants, which prevents the damage from occurring. Diets high in antioxidant-rich foods, that is, foods containing vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, have been linked to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. As a result, current national guidelines on the prevention of cardiovascular disease recommend choosing foods rich in antioxidants.2

Berries contain a variety of antioxidants, which help keep free radicals under control. Anthocyanins, ellagic acid and resveratrol are types of antioxidants found in an assortment of berries. One study showed that blueberries, blackberries and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits, next to pomegranates.3

Studies suggest that the antioxidants in berries may help lower inflammation. Long-term inflammation arising from chronic stress, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy food choices can lead to diabetes, heart disease and obesity,4 so berries are really a big deal in counteracting those negative effects! But that’s not all that berries can help do.

Test-tube and human studies suggest that berries may protect cells from high blood sugar levels, help increase insulin sensitivity, and reduce blood sugar and insulin response to high-carb meals. Importantly, these effects appear to occur in both healthy people and those with insulin resistance.5

In one study of healthy women, eating 5 ounces (150 grams) of puréed strawberries or mixed berries with bread led to a 24–26% reduction in insulin levels, compared to consuming the bread alone.6 Moreover, in a six-week study, obese people with insulin resistance who drank a blueberry smoothie twice per day experienced greater improvements in insulin sensitivity than those who consumed berry-free smoothies.7

Berries are also an excellent source of soluble fiber, which is known to be important for slowing down the movement of food through the digestive tract. This slower movement helps us feel full for a longer period of time. Ideally, this may help us eat less and make weight management easier. One study found that doubling fiber intake could help absorb up to 130 fewer calories per day.8

Unsurprisingly, berries are considered heart-healthy food that may help lower LDL levels and help protect the bad cholesterol from becoming oxidized, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. In a controlled study of obese people, those eating 1.5 ounces (50 grams) of freeze-dried blueberries for 8 weeks noticed a 28% reduction in their oxidized LDL levels.9

Berries are highly nutritious, may provide a variety of health benefits, and are easy to incorporate into an Active Wellness nutritional plan! Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder makes it even simpler if you find it hard to access fresh berries. Simply combine it with PiMag® water or blend into smoothies for an energy and antioxidant boost!

To celebrate love, friendship and Valentine’s Day, Nikken has three “Heart of Nikken” packs available through February 28. Each pack contains three extraordinary heart-healthy nutritional supplements—Kenzen® Bergisterol®, Kenzen® Super Ciaga® and Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA — plus one piece of magnetic jewelry, exclusive to Nikken. You have your choice of the pack with a silver Kenko Perfect Link II necklace, a gold tone Kenko Perfect Link II necklace or a Kenko Heart Set.

1, 2 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/16739-antioxidants–heart-health

3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-reasons-to-eat-berries#:~:text=Berries%20are%20some%20of%20the,cholesterol%2C%20while%20reducing%20oxidative%20stress

Making Health Resolutions

Making health resolutions is an annual event for many of us. For example, I resolved to lose 10 pounds for at least a dozen years. I eventually reframed that specific resolution, and it’s led to achieving and maintaining my annual resolution, which is to keep my numbers, not just my weight, at acceptable levels. That means numbers related to cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, blood sugar and body-mass index—and if the weight decreases, so much the better.

We can practice Active Wellness as a Global Wellness Community and individually, every day. We can commit to keeping joints mobile, maintaining muscle flexibility and exercising mental agility. Staying hydrated, eating healthy food, drinking alcohol conservatively, exercising consistently and getting restful sleep are all necessary to keep the numbers in check. Health resolutions challenge us to stick to them. Here are five tips to help achieve health resolutions:

1.         Listen to your body. Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi says, “By consciously listening to your body you are better able to discover what your body actually wants and what makes you feel healthier. You may be surprised to learn you need more sleep or need to drink more water or eat healthier.”1

2.         Find an exercise you really like. Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo says, “Every New Year, people spend a lot of money on gym memberships, workout studio memberships, and online fitness programs. Even though most people start strong, most of them fail to turn their new routine into a long-term habit. Even so, there are ways to improve your odds of sticking to your exercise goals. To begin, pick an activity that you will enjoy and that fits into your schedule.”2

3.         Take time for self-care. Putting ourselves higher up on our priority lists can have a beneficial impact on our well-being. We can really help others better when we are in good shape ourselves. Dr. Candice Seti says, “Self-care can be about scheduling time for yourself, planning fun or relaxing activities, or focusing on healthy behaviors. For example, “I am going to eat four whole-foods based meals a week. Or, “I’m going to take 10,000 steps for five of the next seven days.”3

4.Just cut down on the “bad’ and up the “good” a little bit at a time. Don’t withhold. Some people are able to give up sugar completely or walk three miles a day every day. Know yourself and set your goals accordingly. Aim to keep the scoreboard of healthy behaviors on the plus side and commit to doing better a little bit every day.

5.         Check out PiMag® products for hydration, True Elements® Marine Organic skin care for state-of-the-art COSMOS certified formulas, KenkoAir Purifier® for filtered indoor air, and Kenzen® organic nutrition for smart supplementation. Nikken can help you stick to your health resolutions!

Remember to change your water and air filters to keep your units functioning optimally and take advantage of our four special January packs that each contain a bonus item when you purchase a PiMag® Waterfall filter cartridge and a KenkoAir Purifer® HEPA filter in the same order.

1, 2, 3 https://www.choosingtherapy.com/new-years-resolutions/

Health Trends for 2022

It’s no surprise that staying as healthy as possible will continue to be top priority this year. That priority has been the premise for each Nikken product in every category, whether it’s nutrition, magnetic support, PiMag® water or clean air, since the company began more than 46 years ago.

What are some of the health areas that people may focus on in the year 2022?

• According to the international health insurance company BUPA, Google searches for “gut health” are up by 83% and they predict more people will focus on it in 2022.1 The Nikken organic nutritional supplements that address this are Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and Kenzen Vital Balance®. All three contain prebiotics and/or probiotics that enhance gut health.

• Some health experts predict that people will pay closer attention to their mental health in 2022. Mental health affects how the brain functions, and is also a byproduct of our individual ways of responding to stress. Relaxing strategies such as spending more time in green spaces or practicing self-care to reduce stress will continue to be a priority in 2022.2 You can also take nutritional supplements that support brain health such as Kenzen® Clarity, a fermented blend of 100% organic ingredients formulated to help you stay focused and mentally sharp, designed to help maximize your cognitive function.*

• The “green generation” of healthcare is growing. Green health professionals blend healthcare with an understanding of the environmental changes that affect people’s health in different parts of the world. They provide healthcare while advocating for the environment.3 Everyone understands the need for clean air and water for optimal health, and Nikken provides the stellar KenkoAir Purifier®, PiMag Waterfall® and PiMag® Sport Bottle that help us decrease our carbon footprint by minimizing plastic waste. Replacing the filters of these components keeps them in top shape for years. Through January 31st, check out our filters replacement promotion where you can get a bonus item whenever you purchase one KenkoAir HEPA filter and one PiMag Waterfall filter together.

• Plant-based-eating articles and meal plans were up 31% in 2021 and it is expected to grow even more as more people choose to eat healthier and more sustainably.4

• Perennial (as opposed to annual) grains like kernza (a new type of wheat) will explode. That is a good thing when it comes to fighting climate change, because perennial grains develop deeper root systems than annuals, and these deep roots help prevent soil erosion and trap harmful greenhouse gases underground, keeping them out of the atmosphere.5

• Kelp and seaweed will make their way into all kinds of products, not just food. Although common to many cultures, farming kelp has been found to pull carbon out of the atmosphere.6 Known as a great source of minerals, such as potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium, seaweed is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins. A great example of using seaweed not just as food is the improved line of True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care. A variety of seaweeds are ingredients in these advanced formulations.

• A “new school” of vitamins and supplements will evolve in 2022. Known as “smart” and “forward-thinking” supplements, they not only effectively address nutritional sufficiency but also nurture specific areas of health, from our cells to the whole body. The advancements range from delivery format and options that consider our personalized genetic makeup to strategic ingredient combinations, environmental sustainability, and more.7 Nikken began using this smart, forward-thinking approach in formulating nutritional supplements years ago. Examples include the smart use of fermented ingredients in Kenzen Clarity, the natural stress relievers such as the adaptogen Ashwagandha, turmeric extract and Shisandra in Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox and the “bone buddies” delivery system of Kenzen Calcium Complex and Kenzen BDZ for optimal calcium absorption.

In essence, 2022 is the year that asks each of us how to become healthier and stronger personally while respecting and working together with the environment. At Nikken, we pledge to use and share what we learn to build a bigger, healthier and environmentally-conscious Global Wellness Community!

*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.

1, 2 https://www.phillyvoice.com/2022-health-trends-diet-alcohol-reduction-male-fertility-sound-healing/

3 https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/doctors-are-becoming-leaders-in-environmental-movement

4, 5, 6 https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7935948/top-10-food-nutrition-trends-2022/

7 https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/new-generation-of-vitamins

Hydrogen Water, Mitochondria and Energy

The scientific community is now uncovering hydrogen water’s mechanisms of action, which are diverse. They refer to the potential for increasing antioxidant activity, inhibiting inflammation, modulating immune regulation and regulating autophagy, circadian rhythm and mitochondria.1 (Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer,healthier cells.) Each of these beneficial anatomical activities is believed to help boost overall energy levels and health.

Because hydrogen is such a small molecule, the lightest in the periodic table, it can more easily dissolve throughout the cells as compared with traditional antioxidants.2 Hydrogen has the characteristic of protecting nuclear DNA and mitochondria and can permeate biomembranes to help reduce the risk of lifestyle-related issues caused by oxidative stress.3 In other words, drinking hydrogen-rich water may improve our overall ability to function, which elevates our quality of life.

Mitochondria are specialized structures that perform various jobs inside cells. They’re membrane-bound with two different membranes. These membranes function for the purpose of the mitochondria, which is to generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions.4 That means mitochondria are the powerhouses within our cells.

Energy is produced by the conversion of chemicals within the cell. These chemicals go through pathways to be converted. The process of conversion produces energy in the form of a small molecule known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Different cells have different amounts of mitochondria—depending on how much energy they require. For example, the muscles have a lot of mitochondria, as do the liver and kidneys and to a certain extent, the brain, which lives off the energy those mitochondria produce.5

What do these energy-producing mitochondria have to do with hydrogen water? Clinical studies on hydrogen-rich water show that it helps improve mitochondrial function.6 When the mitochondria are functioning at high or optimal levels, our energy levels are correspondingly high. An abundance of energy makes all the difference to how we feel. It impacts our moods, our activity levels, and in essence, creates a domino effect of Active Wellness. When we are energetic, we tend to be happier and more active. When we are more active, each internal organ (heart, liver, lungs, etc.) gets a workout, which helps fight oxidative stress.

There are ongoing clinical trials on the effects of hydrogen water. From enhancing athletic performance to alleviating muscle fatigue,7 from helping to fight metabolic syndrome8 (a condition characterized by high blood sugar, triglyceride levels and cholesterol) to positively influencing the gut microbiome,9 these research studies appear to support the use of hydrogen water for a variety of reasons, most of which relate to increasing antioxidant activity, helping to reduce inflammation and regulating our immune systems.

Remember that there is free shipping for all Registered Customers through December 17, 2021!

1 https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2021-05/going-beyond-hype-hydrogen-water

2, 3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6096066/

4, 5 https://www.genome.gov/genetics-glossary/Mitochondria

6 https://litasenior.com/the-revolutionary-benefits-of-molecular-hydrogen/

7, 8 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hydrogen-water#benefits

9 https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2021-05/going-beyond-hype-hydrogen-water

Celebrate World Vegetarian Month This October!

October is World Vegetarian Month and there are many facts, historical and nutritional, that may be little known but of interest. By definition, a vegetarian is a person who decides to abstain from meat whether it be for health, religious, or moral reasons. The term “vegetarian” is believed to have come into existence in 1847, whereas prior to that, those who refrained from consuming meat were known as “Pythagorean.”1 There is no proof that the famous Greek mathematician and philosopher was vegetarian but many sources say he and his adherents followed a restrictive diet that did not include animal flesh.2

Some other historical figures who are known or purported to have been vegetarian include the esteemed artist and philosopher Leonardo da Vinci, feminist and author of Frankenstein Mary Shelley, the founding father of the United States Benjamin Franklin, and Indian activist and leader Mahatma Gandhi. Historians note that the Mahatma strayed from vegetarianism briefly but renewed his commitment when studying law in England, even though it required 10 to 12 miles of walking to find vegetarian restaurants!3

In North America, vegetarianism became a movement in 1850 and is attributed to William Alcott who helped start the American Vegetarian Society.4 He happens to be a relative of Little Women author Louisa May Alcott. In current times, many celebrities are known to be vegetarians and the movement is growing as scientists continue researching the the health benefits of plant-based living.

Globally, India has the highest percentage of vegetarians when compared to other countries, with roughly 30 percent of the population adhering to a plant-based lifestyle.5 Generally acknowledged by nutritionists and dieticians to be a healthy way of eating and even a way to sustain weight loss, it is important to know that some vegetarian foods can be high in calories and fat. For example, if you cut out meat but replace it with lots of cheese and nuts you could end up consuming the same number of calories or even more. On the other hand, eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, soy and moderate amounts of nuts can help you maintain a healthy weight.6

Here are some important nutrients to keep in mind when eating a vegetarian diet: 7

• Protein—Protein is important for maintaining healthy muscles, skin, bones, and organs. Ovolacto vegetarians may have an easier time getting enough protein but vegans should be sure to eat enough soy products, meat substitutes, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

• Calcium—This mineral is important for building strong bones and teeth. Vegetarians who do not consume dairy products can find adequate calcium in leafy greens, broccoli, fortified soy milk, and fortified juices.

• Vitamin B12—The body uses this vitamin to produce red blood cells and it is mostly found in animal products. Vegans must include a B12 supplement, consume enriched cereals, or drink fortified soy milk.

• Iron—Iron is a crucial component of red blood cells and lack of iron can lead to anemia, or iron deficiency. Dried beans and peas, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, and dried fruit are good sources of iron. Be sure to combine the above foods with foods high in vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, hot peppers) because vitamin C aids in iron absorption.

• Zinc—This mineral is an essential component of enzymes and formation of proteins. Good sources of zinc include whole grains, soy products, nuts, and wheat germ.

Kenzen Nutrition is composed of a complete program based on organic ingredients. At Nikken, our goal is to help the Global Wellness Community fill the nutritional gaps in any daily diet. Founded on a whole-food philosophy, our organic-based solutions help bring your daily food regimen closer to nature and make it easy to practice Active Wellness.

1, 4 https://nationaltoday.com/vegetarian-month/

2, 3, 5 https://www.britannica.com/list/8-of-historys-most-famous-vegetarians

6 https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/get-the-facts-about-vegetarian-diets

7 https://www.depts.ttu.edu/hospitality/pdf/SmartChoices2011_Veg.pdf

Activate Your Breathing Power

To breathe is to live, but how can we breathe better to live better in our pursuit of Active Wellness? We know the use of a Kenko Air Purifier® can help improve indoor air quality in multiple ways, but there are ways to physically enhance our lung capacity.

Good breathing techniques may not only help our bodies get the oxygen needed but also keep our lungs healthy and strong. One particular exercise that helps the lungs intake oxygen is called diaphragmatic breathing.1 In layman’s terms, this type of exercise is called “belly breathing.” Follow these steps:

  1. Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
  3. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.
  4. Breathe out for two seconds through pursed lips while pressing on your abdomen.
  5. Repeat.

Another exercise helps keep our airways open longer, which helps reduce the “work” of breathing. It’s called pursed-lips breathing and helps improve the lung’s function of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.2 Pursed-lips breathing is simpler than diaphragmatic breathing and can be practiced at any time. Follow these steps:

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose.
  2. Purse your lips, as if pouting or about to blow on something.
  3. Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips. This should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in.
  4. Repeat.

To help increase lung capacity, the British Lung Foundation advises deep breathing in general. It’s believed that deep breathing can help clear mucous from the lungs, which allows more air to circulate.3 Simply inhale deeply through the nose, 5-10 times, then cough a couple of times and repeat.

In addition to breathing exercises, do the following for healthy lung maintenance:

  • Stop smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke or environmental irritants.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. 
  • Exercise more frequently, which can help your lungs function properly. Swimming is especially helpful for increasing lung power.
  • Improve indoor air quality. We highly recommend our KenkoAir Purifier.

For the entire of month of September, you save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

1, 2 https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-lung-capacity

3 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323787#when-do-they-work

Lungs are Vital in Our Amazing Human Bodies

Breath gives life, so breathing is one of the most important things our respiratory systems accomplish. The most vital components of breathing are our lungs.

Here are some facts about our lungs1 that are notable:

  1. In humans, the right lung is larger than the left to accommodate the heart.
  2. Exhalation is just as important as inhalation. The air we breathe contains 21% oxygen, of which only 5% is used—the rest is exhaled.
  3. We think of our digestive systems as being in charge of waste disposal; however, 70% of waste is eliminated through our lungs in the form of up to 17.5 milliliters of water exhaled each hour!
  4. Children and women breathe at a higher rate than men.
  5. Lungs are the only organs in the human body that are capable of floating on water.
  6. A person inhales an average of 13 pints of air every minute!
  7. Imagine this: If we were to open up the lungs and lay them flat, they would be so large that they would cover an entire tennis court!

So many physical activities we do naturally are the work of our respiratory systems. For example, coughing, sneezing and yawning are ways to rid our lungs of unwanted substances that we unknowingly inhale. Yawning also helps us intake more oxygen, especially when the brain senses a shortage of needed air! 2

Similar to our digestive tracts, our lower respiratory tract is colonized by diverse groups of bacteria. On the other hand, unlike the bacteria in our digestive tracts, studies have shown that the flora or microbes in the respiratory tract do not cause disease.3

As we inhale and exhale, there’s a small amount of air, called residual volume, that always stays inside our lungs.4 Our amazing lungs keep at least 1,200 ml of air in the lungs at all times! Even after we do a good exhale, there’s always more that can be pushed out.

Residual volume actually helps keep smaller airways and air sacs (known as alveoli) open a little at all times, so that the next breath and the next and so on, comes easier. The tiny but powerful alveoli cover a surface that measures more than 1,076.4 sq. ft. or 100 sq.m. This large surface area is necessary to process the huge amounts of air involved in breathing and getting oxygen to our lungs.5 Alveoli are responsible for three overall processes6 involved in breathing:

  1. Ventilation: moving air in and out of the lungs
  2. Diffusion: oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange
  3. Perfusion: pumping blood through the lungs

When we take deep breaths in and exhale slowly, we are helping our lungs do their best work! It’s all part of Active Wellness and getting to know the intricacies of our remarkable bodies.

1 https://pulmonaryhypertensionnews.com/2017/12/20/8-fun-facts-lungs/

2, 3, 4 https://careplusvn.com/en/10-surprising-facts-about-the-respiratory-system

5, 6 https://www.healthline.com/health/alveoli-function#alveoli-function

Breathe in Clean Air for Healthy Living and Active Wellness

The United Nations has declared the International Day of Clean Air to be September 7 this year. In support of the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet,” the clean air initiative emphasizes the health aspects related to what we breathe in. The United Nations states, “This year’s focus is on prioritizing the need for healthy air for all, while keeping the conversation broad enough to encompass other critical issues such as climate change, human and planetary health as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.”1

Here are five main health benefits2 we can enjoy simply by breathing in clean air:

  1. Decreased Allergies and Asthma Symptoms: Clean indoor air can greatly improve the symptoms of allergies and asthma, thus increasing well-being and productivity.
  2. Cleaner Lungs: Clean air keeps lungs healthy and functioning optimally. Breathing in polluted air is similar to inhaling cigarette smoke.
  3. Improved Digestion: The respiratory system is important not only for healthy lungs but also for healthy digestion. Clean, fresh oxygen is needed in order for the muscles of the digestive tract to function as they should by breaking up food and moving it along in the digestive system.
  4. Improved Mood: Serotonin is a highly important neurotransmitter responsible, among other things, for regulating mood and anxiety. One of numerous factors that serotonin production and serotonin uptake in the brain are dependent upon is oxygen intake. Enzymes responsible for the production of serotonin can be impaired by low quality oxygen intake, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
  5. Longer Life Span: Breathing in clean air can also improve the immune system, which is one way our bodies build on for a long and healthy life.

We can’t always control outdoor air, but we can actively monitor our indoor air and keep it as fresh as possible. Here are five simple tips for keeping indoor air fresh and clean:

  1. Air purifiers can be an effective way to reduce harmful particles in the air. It can be helpful to have one in each room, especially bedrooms.
  2. Keep pets well groomed, especially if they are big shedders. Removing excess fur not only helps keep pet skin less irritated, but it also helps keep air cleaner.
  3. Take your shoes off before going inside. The dirt your shoes bring in can contain pesticides, pollen, fungi, bacteria and more undesirables.3
  4. Indoor houseplants can help improve air quality, according to a study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science. Several types of houseplants help filter out common volatile organic compounds from indoor air. For example, spider plants are effective at reducing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.4
  5. Rather than using chemically-based detergents and air fresheners, try using natural cleaning products and remember to open your windows at least part of the day.

Nikken supports clean air every day with eco-friendly KenkoAir Purifier® and its HEPA replacement filters. To celebrate the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet” Nikken is offering two specials for the entire month of September. You save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

1 https://www.un.org/en/observances/clean-air-day

2 https://cascadeenviro.ca/5-important-health-benefits-of-clean-air/

3, 4 https://www.treehugger.com/ways-get-clean-air-without-chemicals-4864310

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/