See to Your Matters of the Heart

Before the 12th century, people were not aware of the true function of the heart. They knew that the heart beats faster when a person is excited or upset—so they gathered that the heart ruled emotions and feelings. Even though it has long been scientifically proven that emotions come from the brain, the heart remains a powerful symbol of love and is therefore universally used to represent Valentine’s Day.1

Since the heart pumps blood and oxygen to all our other organs, it is most vital to Active Wellness and overall good health. When the heart is unhealthy, it can lead to serious problems, including hardening of the arteries, high cholesterol, blockages, high blood pressure and cardiac arrest.bergisterol

The combination of consistent daily exercise and a low-fat, low cholesterol diet have been found to be most effective in maintaining heart health. Exercise without attention to diet or healthy eating without exercise are not as effective.2 Aerobic exercise, otherwise known as “cardio,” combined with resistance training and eating a Mediterranean diet, are found to promote heart health.

If you do not cycle, swim or run—the three forms of cardiovascular exercise that make up a triathlon—simply find something you enjoy in order to stay on a regimen long-term. For example, you may like zumba or ballroom dancing, hiking or power yoga. The key is to get a move on and to form a healthy habit that becomes part of your Active Wellness lifestyle. Trying something new—jiu jitsu or rock climbing, for example—makes it more interesting and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Researchers have found that consuming omega-3 fatty acids as part of a heart-healthy diet also reduces the risk of heart disease. OmegaDHANew_317x310Cardiac diet guidelines also include regularly consuming portions of peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. One study involving over 9,000 men and women found that increased consumption of legumes can help protect the health of your heart. Researchers tracked people over a 19-year period and found that eating plenty of legumes in the diet helped to lower the risk of coronary heart disease.3

Meditation can help lower blood pressure by putting your body into a state of deep rest. Yoga, tai chi and deep breathing are similarly effective. Using these relaxation techniques together with exercise and a low-fat diet full of fruit and veggies, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins are natural ways to stay heart-healthy. In contrast, research published in 2018 has found that sugar–laden foods and drinks pose even more of a risk to your heart’s health than saturated fats.4

It’s never too soon to take care of your heart! Wishing you and those close to your heart a Happy Healthy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

1 http://www.stvalentinesday.org/valentines-day-hearts.html

2 https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/cholesterol-how-much-exercise#1

3, 4 https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/cardiac-diet/

 

Enjoy Your Celebrations but Moderation is Best

From the holiday season of exuberant dining and imbibing, we plunged headlong into New Year’s resolutions! All that extra indulgence had to be dealt with! By the end of January, our resolve had been tested and some of us may already have fallen. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, there may be temptations galore yet again!

Staying well informed is one way to prevent excessive consumption of alcoholic spirits and sugary foods during celebrations. Many people are surprised to learn what counts as one drink. The amount of liquid in your glass, can, or bottle does not necessarily match up to how much alcohol is actually in your drink. Different types of liquor can have very different amounts of alcohol content. That’s why it’s important to know how much alcohol your drink contains.

In the United States, one “standard” drink (or one alcoholic drink equivalent) contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol,1 which is found in:

  • 12 fluid ounces of regular beer, usually about 5% alcohol.
  • 5 fluid ounces of wine, typically about 12% alcohol.
  • 5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits, about 40% alcohol.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.2

 One way to keep yourself from overindulging is to slow down the pace of drinking and to eat something at the same time. Dietician Cynthia Sass recommends eating something that has protein, fat or both because those two empty out of the stomach slower. She explains that they create a better buffer than carbohydrates.3 She also suggests a glass of water with each alcoholic drink, then adding another glass of water before your next beverage. She adds that “mock-tails” are a great alternative to alcohol when you are staying within your limit. Mock-tails often have sparkling water, berries and herbs to make them taste delicious without the alcohol content.

Certain people should avoid alcohol completely, including those who:

  • Plan to drive or operate machinery, or participate in activities that require skill, coordination, and alertness.
  • Take certain over-the-counter or prescription medications.
  • Have certain medical conditions.
  • Are recovering alcoholics or are unable to control the amount that they drink.
  • Are younger than age 21.
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Most people recognize that alcohol can do serious damage to the liver when used in excess; however, your immune system takes a hit, too. Even one night of drinking too much liquor can impair your body’s ability to evade infections, for up to 24 hours afterward.4 Any individual prone to colds or sinus infections should monitor alcohol intake to avoid illness this winter. To help stay on the Active Wellness path, Kenzen® Immunity and Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox are two of our favorite organic supplements that help counteract the possible effects of overindulgence!

Wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year of the Rat—full of prosperity and moderate indulgences in a healthy life of Active Wellness!

 

1 https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/what-standard-drink

2 https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/moderate-binge-drinking

3 https://abc7.com/4767686/

4 https://www.keckmedicine.org/how-too-many-drinks-during-the-holidays-can-be-bad-for-your-health/

Get the Benefits of Winter Sports without Injuries

Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice hockey and sledding are invigorating ways to experience the great outdoors during the cold months of the year. They’re high speed and therefore can also be perilous, causing many common injuries. These include fractures, sprains, strains, concussions and dislocations. Snowboarders tend to have more wrist injuries as well as tailbone contusions and concussions whereas skiers have more knee injuries.1

Take care of yourselves and properly prepare children for outdoor winter activities. Here are a dozen precautions to take when participating in winter sports:

  • Wear the appropriate protective gear such as helmets, goggles, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, as well as sunscreen. Check out Nikken KenkoTherm® Wraps for comfortable support for muscles, ligaments and joints.
  • Make sure all equipment is in good working order.
  • Wear layers of clothing that include a breathable base layer, one or two insulating layers and a water- and windproof outer layer to help you stay warm and dry. Layering helps accommodate your body’s changing temperature.
  • Wear comfortable footwear for warmth, dryness and ankle support. If you have weak ankles to begin with, try wrapping them with KenkoTherm DUK® Tape for extra support before putting on your Nikken Sport Socks.
  • Stay hydrated. Breathing cold air can be dehydrating, so bring along a good size water bottle and sip steadily. Convenient and giving you the bonus of ultra high-tech filtration, the eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle is a must-have carry-along. Orthopedists recommend drinking a pint before exercising and another pint after you’re done, with sipping every 20 minutes or so in between.3
  • Warm up. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more injury-prone.
  • After warming up, stretch. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch once, always with control and never bounce on a fully stretched muscle.2
  • Learn how to fall. Shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries can result from trying to brace a fall. According to the Canadian Ski Patrol, the harder you try to stay upright, the harder it is on the knees and the more risk of ligament breaks, strains or tears.4
  • Do not ice skate on frozen lakes, rivers or ponds unless you are absolutely sure they have not started to thaw. The safest way is to ice skate on frozen water masses only where posted signs indicate it’s safe.
  • If snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, be sure to bring a map and a compass. Also be constantly vigilant of changing weather conditions.
  • Never participate alone in a winter sport. If you must go alone, be sure to inform friends and family of your location and expected time of return.
  • Know your limitations and those of your children. Unless you are an athlete training under supervision, rest when tired, and choose slopes and maneuvers that match your skill level.

One of the most enjoyable parts of winter sports is the rest and relaxation afterwards! Why not revive yourself with a hot cup of Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and treat yourself to a gentle massage with KenkoTouch®?

 

1 https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/perfect-10-winter-sports-safety-tips

2, 3 https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sprains-strains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/

4 https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/9-safety-tips-for-winter-sports/

 

Are You Addicted to Certain Foods?

The effects of certain foods on the brain make it hard for some people to avoid them, even if they go against an Active Wellness lifestyle. Since food is something we need in order to exist, we don’t always think of it as an addiction; however, many of us lose control around specific unhealthy foods and that is where food may produce behaviors similar to more commonly accepted addictions, such as drugs or alcohol.

The most problematic foods include junk foods generally high in sugar, fat and artificial flavor enhancers. They’re notably bad for us, and many of us continue to eat them. Unlike drug addiction, there is no blood test to diagnose food addiction. It’s based on behavior. Health professionals assert that if we have four to five of these eight common symptoms, we likely have a food addiction :1

  1. Craving certain foods despite feeling full and just having eaten a healthy meal
  2. Eating more than intended of a craved food
  3. Eating a craved food to the point of feeling sick
  4. Feeling guilty after eating certain foods—then eating them again
  5. Making up excuses for eating a craved food
  6. Trying to quit eating certain foods unsuccessfully
  7. Eating craved foods or unhealthy foods in secret
  8. Feeling unable to control the eating of unhealthy foods

The concept of food addiction is controversial because not everyone has experienced it or even heard of it. For those who suffer from it, it can be a lifetime struggle and cause multiple health risks. These include overweight and obesity, which may increase the risk of heart problems, digestive issues and diabetes. Those who are unfamiliar with the problem often consider those with food addictions simply to lack will power. The implication is that food addiction can be easily stopped. In reality, health professionals consider food addiction to be as complex as any other disease. Once addicted, eating certain foods changes the brain in ways that make abstaining from them, very hard.2

When eaten, sugar, flour, grains and any other addictive foods, light up the brain’s reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. This reward system motivates repeat behaviors, causing people to eat these pleasure-inducing foods repeatedly.3

Just as with any other addiction, certain people are more vulnerable than others. No single factor is predictive, but genetics play a role, as does someone’s environment. The earlier and the more we are exposed to sugar and other addictive substances, the more likely we are to become trapped into desiring them. thomas-kelley-j5DeBxBUwHw-unsplashUnlike drugs and other addictions, abstinence is not an option when it comes to eating. However, abstinence from the unhealthy craved foods is actually the goal in curbing food addictions. As difficult as it may be, here are some tips to conquer any bad eating habits:4

  • Become educated about healthful foods and try them out.
  • Be honest about why you’re eating what you know you shouldn’t. What thoughts and emotions do you associate with the food you’re eating?
  • Identify social or environmental pressures that lead to unhealthy eating. Avoid them if possible, or explain to people why you are no longer eating certain “triggering” foods.
  • Make an action plan to eat well and get moving. Create healthy menus and cook at home. Devise an exercise routine and add to it incrementally as you improve your fitness. Write down Active Wellness goals.
  • Be realistic. Abstinence from “bad” food will not happen overnight. Just like quitting smoking, it may take a few tries. Don’t beat yourself up over it. There are no options other than taking it a day at a time.

Nikken nutritional supplements are designed to help us stay on track from head to toe. Whether it’s for digestion, mental clarity, strong bones, weight loss or an energy boost, Nikken provides the highest quality of organically sourced support! Take advantage of our special “three for the price of two” on KVB® Meal Replacement Mix! It’s low in fat and carbohydrates, and has no gluten, no dairy, no GMO, no added salt, no preservatives, no sugar and no artificial flavors—all stuff that can lead to food addiction.

 

1 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-overcome-food-addiction

2,3https://foodaddictioninstitute.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAxrbwBRCoARIsABEc9sgZ8KWTI3Qf6HtR4PbLKjzmqY9JUuG6nUEXvP5pAORqSvzkY1z4lkIaAkJlEALw_wcB

4 https://psychcentral.com/blog/expert-tips-for-overcoming-food-addiction/

 

A New Way to Approach New Year’s Resolutions

Do you cringe at the thought of new year’s resolutions? In the back of your mind, do you think it’s futile and you’re doomed to fail? You are not alone! According to U.S. News & World Reports, 80% of new year’s resolutions fail and most of us lose our resolve by mid-February.1 What can we do to improve our odds for success?

Human nature rebels against being told what to do, even if we’re doing the telling ourselves. In fact, we make more unreasonable demands on ourselves than anyone else—many of us want to be someone other than who we are—perhaps we want to be super mom/dad or be the employee of the year. Maybe we want to lower our cholesterol without medication or fend off diabetes. To increase our chances of achieving our resolutions, the question we need to ask is, “Is it realistic?”

The most common resolutions relate to Active Wellness. For example, we want to get in shape, then stay fit and healthy. We therefore resolve to exercise more, eat healthier food, get more quality sleep and reduce stress. Theoretically these are good resolutions. However, year after year, we may not achieve our fitness goals. Why do we continue to make the same resolutions without a plan of attack?

Once a plan and actual steps are implemented, the loftiest resolutions become action items to perform daily, weekly and monthly—at the end of the year, chances are we will have done better at keeping our resolutions. In addition to putting together a real and do-able plan to achieve our resolutions, there’s another way to help accomplish our goals. The National Community Service reports that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life.2

Because volunteering is service-oriented and is outside of our own regular lives, it allows us to meet a variety of people. Increasing social interactions, especially when it helps others, leaves us with a good feeling of accomplishment. This feeling stimulates a positive attitude that helps us stay on course for Active Wellness. A study conducted by Harvard University showed that volunteers experience similar health benefits to those who exercise regularly.3

Resolution of supportSome ways to volunteer can be done solo while others involve participating in a group. You can be a Big Brother or Sister, participate in many types of nonprofit organizations, work with churches, schools and clubs, become a trainee at local animal shelters and sanctuaries, serve at soup kitchens, canvas for food and clothing drives, or simply pick up each piece of trash you happen upon on a beach walk. It’s truly a win-win— do good within the community, feel good about ourselves and get healthier.

Let’s make 2020 the best year ever!

1 https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/why-set-yourself-up-for-failure-ditch-new-years-resolution-do-this-instead.html

2, 3 https://rewardvolunteers.coop/volunteer-opportunities-for-new-year-resolutions/

 

Build Your Personal 5 Pillars Mindset

Recently I had the privilege of attending a Nikken leadership summit that was conducted by our sales and marketing team, led by President Luis Kasuga. Our CEO, Mr. Fulle, was also in attendance. I came away with various nuggets of information and inspiration to work with in the coming year. Perhaps you can make use of them, too.

  • The original 5 Pillars of Health, when literally translated from the Japanese, really should be the 5 Pillars of “Wellness.” Wellness inherently connotes well-being, whereas health involves potential illness and therefore, possible cure. At Nikken, we help people with Active Wellness, achieving and maintaining well-being, never in curing or healing illness. Living with Active Wellness is an ongoing process that can always be improved upon.
  • The Family Pillar translated literally from the Japanese, really should be the “Relationship” Pillar. Families are doubtless the most important segment of all the relationships we choose to build or maintain over the years. Relationships are more far-reaching, so do not limit yourself to your family when building this pillar.
  • In Japanese, the literal translation for what we call the Society Pillar is actually “contributions.” There are people everywhere who need your help, which means there are infinite opportunities to serve. Using Nikken as a vehicle to serve does not mean just sharing the beneficial products. It means sharing yourself, as you are the actual contributor to the people you interact with. In the words of the original Nikken founder, “You are irreplaceable because you are you.”
  • We need Nature. Nature doesn’t need us. We need to be good to Nature and help preserve her, because we need her. In other words, the environment doesn’t need saving—it has been around for ages and will survive with or without humans. We, however, need the environment to support our well-being, so we are responsible for keeping it clean. We are responsible for being respectful of Nature for our own survival.
  • What is your legacy? What do you want your legacy to be? At Nikken, we share the ideal of Humans Being More. We share it but we don’t supply it. In other words, each individual has to commit to being more. It is a personal choice proven by positive behavior and service. We can role model it—that is a worthy legacy. What else can you add to your legacy?

I hope you had a wonderful 2019 and wish for you and yours an even better and more empowering new year of 2020. Remember, “Our past doesn’t define us. It provides lessons for the future.”

Keep Safety in Mind with Children’s Gifts

December is National Safe Toys and Gifts month. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2018. Almost half of those incidents were injuries to the head. Unfortunately, most of these injuries happen to children under age 15.1 Since so many children’s accidents are related to the eye, the American Academy of Ophthalmology provides a list of tips for choosing safe toys.2

  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  • Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
  • Ensure that laser product labels include a statement that the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.
  • If you give a gift of sports equipment, also give the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Check with your ophthalmologist to learn about protective gear recommended for your child’s sport.
  • Check labels for age recommendations and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child’s age and maturity.
  • Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
  • If your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist.

Federal small parts regulations ban any toys intended for use by children younger than three from having pieces that may break off during play or having small parts. A small part is defined as anything that fits completely into a test cylinder slightly smaller than a toilet-paper tube, which is about the size of a fully expanded child’s throat.3

In addition to the gifts themselves, the wrapping and packaging can prove hazardous to small children. Plastic wrapping and other packaging are often treated as toys by children and pets, and may cause suffocation. Strings and straps may injure or strangle young children. Here are some other safety tips:

  • Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children.
  • Avoid toys or gifts with unsafe lead levels. For example, there was a recall in August of this year by Restoration Hardware (RH) for children’s chairs and stools because they contained paint with levels of lead exceeding the federal lead paint ban.4
  • Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight. Discard broken balloons at once.
  • Children playing on riding toys (such as scooters, both motorized and foot propelled) need to be closely supervised. Make sure they are not on streets that have automobile traffic.
  • Whether riding bicycles or tricycles, skateboarding or scootering, children should be equipped with safety gear—helmets, elbow and knee pads, etc.kelly-sikkema-L1o1WQY5kp0-unsplash
  • Use a bin or container to store toys when playtime is over. Make sure there are no holes or hinges that could hurt little fingers.

Two great resources to check before purchasing children’s gifts are www.recalls.gov and www.safekids.org/children-product-recalls. These sites provide month-to- month updates on recalls related to children’s products as well as adult items.

From Nikken to you and your families, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season of continuous Active Wellness.

 

1,2 https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/buying-safe-toys

3 https://www.consumerreports.org/child-safety/toy-safety-tips-holiday-gift-buying/

4 https://www.safekids.org/childrens-product-recalls