Women’s Health: Stay Strong and Healthy

National Women’s Health Week starts on Mother’s Day annually. This year it started on May 9 and continues through May 16, 2021. This yearly observance is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and to provide steps to take to improve their health.

The basics of women’s health are the same as those for men—eat healthy foods, get adequate amounts of exercise for your age and current state of health, get plenty of restful sleep, refrain from smoking and only drink alcohol in moderation. Nevertheless, there are certain aspects of Active Wellness that are specific to women.

Women have some unique nutritional needs, for example, needing more of certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy or after menopause. Calcium, iron and folic acid are particularly important for women from puberty onward.1 Since women’s bones are more prone to becoming brittle, especially in their senior years, consuming enough calcium and retaining it in the body is an important aspect of women’s health starting from youth—this helps create healthful eating habits early on.

Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and foods made with milk. Between 30 million and 50 million Americans are lactose-intolerant, meaning have trouble digesting foods with lactose in them.2 Although this is common, lactose intolerance raises a woman’s risk of health issues related to osteoporosis. Women who are lactose intolerant should take special care to obtain enough non-dairy calcium in their diets or through supplementation.

Women are more prone to iron deficiency, the cause of anemia.3 Like eating calcium-rich foods to maintain healthy bones for a lifetime, eating iron-rich foods supports Active Wellness. Taking iron supplements may be helpful but may have the undesired side effects of constipation.

On average, adult women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.4 Women who are more physically active may need more calories than those who are more sedentary, as muscles hasten metabolism. The basis of how many calories you personally can consume without weight gain depends on your age, height, current weight, and activity level.

Pregnant women require different nutritional needs than during other stages of their lives. For most normal-weight pregnant women, the estimated number of calories needed is about 1,800 calories per day during the first trimester, about 2,200 calories per day during the second trimester and about 2,400 calories per day during the third trimester.5 Pregnant women should also drink plenty of fluids, avoid drinks with caffeine and sugar, and take a prenatal vitamin.

An additional 450 to 500 calories per day is recommended for well-nourished breastfeeding mothers, compared with the amount they were consuming before pregnancy. The number of additional calories needed for an individual breastfeeding woman is also affected by her age, body mass index, activity level, and extent of breastfeeding (exclusively breastfeeding versus breastfeeding and formula feeding).6

Although Women’s Health Week ends on May 16, all of May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Take a deep breath and embrace your inner power—now is the best time to get healthier and stronger!

1, 3, 4  https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-and-women#6

2 https://www.womenshealth.gov/healthy-eating/food-allergies-and-sensitivities/lactose-intolerance

5 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000584.htm

6 https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/diet-and-micronutrients/maternal-diet.html#:~:text=An%20additional%20450%20to%20500,per%20day%20for%20moderately%20active

Mothers Are Special and Science Proves It

Mother’s Day in North America lands on May 9th this year, and other than honoring moms (which should be done every day of the year) we may reflect upon how motherhood changes women. There is actually a burgeoning science behind mothers’ health as differentiated from those who have not given birth.

As with everything in life, there’s an upside and a downside. Fortunately, motherhood appears to confer many striking pluses, a reward for all those labor pains and beyond!

• According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), women who have children are less likely to develop breast cancer. Being pregnant apparently reduces exposure to certain hormones that are linked to breast cancer—a direct result of not menstruating during pregnancy.

• The risk for breast cancer is further reduced if the mother breastfeeds, as the process the breast cells go through to produce milk, may prevent them from becoming cancerous.1

• A large 2009 study2 showed that mothers who breastfed for at least 12 months in their lifetime had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes than those who had never breastfed.

• The hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for spatial memory and learning, actually increases in size during pregnancy and motherhood. This led Canadian researchers to believe that the mother’s brain might actually grow with each child.3

• An Australian study, conducted in 2012 in a small rural town over more than 16 years, showed that despite a mild increase in the risk of being overweight, having diabetes or hypertension, mothers still had longer lifespans. Those with more than four children had an even lower risk of death—these effects are not fully understood but other studies in Israel and Norway showed similar results! 4

Do you know any mother who doesn’t worry about her children or how the environment affects them? Ironically, the World Health Organization (WHO) has isolated a specific environmental risk that puts mothers and other women most at risk: exposure to household air pollution. This is particularly true for women in low- and middle-income countries—the result of using polluting fuels for cooking, heating and lighting.5 The truth is that even in high-income nations, indoor air pollution is a challenge, resulting not from fuel usage but from mold, mildew, dander, air conditioning, central heating and chemical detergents and artificial deodorizers.

Air pollution affects women more than men. Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma are more common in women over 50 compared to men in the same age group—these conditions are directly related to breathing in polluted air. Fine particles and ozone are recognized as the most harmful air pollutants.6

To exercise caution, never use outdoor products indoors, including pesticides and cleaning agents, in the form of powders, gels, liquids, or sprays—powerful chemicals used in the garden or outside the house to clean surfaces and kill pests. After using these products, always wash your hands and any other parts of your body or clothing that might have been exposed to them.

May is not only the month we honor mothers. It’s also Asthma and Allergy Awareness month. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Why not celebrate mom with the gift of clean air and Active Wellness?  

1,2,3,4  https://www.healthline.com/health-news/motherhood-the-good-bad-and-weird-050914#:~:text=The%20study%20showed%20that%2C%20despite,had%20more%20than%20four%20children

5 https://www.who.int/life-course/news/household-air-pollution/en/

6 https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-08/documents/weh_english_100-f-07-028_v2.pdf

Sleep Your Way to Better Health

There’s no question that a good night’s sleep can brighten our days and is an integral part of Active Wellness! Why is sleep so important? Why does it affect us so much? Here are seven bodily actions that take place to help understand the importance of sleep:1

  1. Your brain processes your day while you sleep, sorting and storing information. This process is particularly important for creating long term memories, as your brain consolidates all the information it’s picked up during the day and files it away for later use.
  2. Hormones flood your body during sleep. The pineal gland releases melatonin, which controls sleep patterns. Levels increase at night time, making you feel sleepy. The pituitary gland releases growth hormone, which helps the body to grow and repair itself.
  3. Your sympathetic nervous system needs rest. When deprived of sleep, activity increases in the sympathetic nervous system, which is accompanied by an increase in blood pressure. Scientists studying coronary disease are investigating whether decreased sleep may increase the risk of heart disease.
  4. Cortisol levels are lowered. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol decreases during the first few hours of sleep before rising to peak soon after you wake up. This helps you feel alert and energetic when you awaken.
  5. Your muscles are paralyzed. While asleep, you cycle through periods of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and rapid eye movement sleep (REM). The most vivid dreams occur during REM. During this stage, your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, so you can’t move.
  6. Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH) helps you not have to get up and use the bathroom. It is released by the brain under a circadian rhythm which switches off the need to urinate as often overnight as during waking hours.
  7. Your immune system releases cytokines, which are small proteins that help the body fight inflammation, infection and trauma. Without enough sleep, your immune system might not be able to function at its best.

To help get quality sleep consistently, Nikken has an entire Sleep System that encloses you in a coccoon of magnetism. The latest addition is the Kenko Naturest® Fit, a thin mattress topper with elasticized skirts on four sides, so that it fits easily over the mattress, under a fitted sheet. Made with Nikken Sleep Technology, it has 800 gauss magnets, reflective fibers and rubberthane to help achieve sweet dreams while feeling relaxed and massaged! Alone or as part of a Sleep Pack, it may well change your waking hours as much as your sleeping ones! (The Kenko Naturest® Fit is available for pre-orders. We expect it to be in our warehouses near the end of May.)

1 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/news-events/news/7-amazing-things-that-happen-to-your-body-while-you-sleep

Water is Life: Our Lives Depend On It!

During times of drought in California, we are asked to ration our water usage. During drastic periods of dryness, we have been asked to use water on certain days of the week, depending on the random numbers in our addresses: odd numbers have access on certain days and even numbers on the others.

Not everyone is old enough to have lived through these dry periods, but imagine if limited access to water is part of daily living, 24/7. The reality is that 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year.1

Water usage has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century, and an increasing number of regions are reaching the limit at which water services can be sustainably delivered.2 Even though water covers 70% of our planet, freshwater, which is what we drink, bathe in, and irrigate our farm fields with, is incredibly rare. Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater and two thirds of that is tucked away in glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use.3

Access to potable water is not limited to so-called third world nations. Our ecosystems have become more stressed and grossly polluted. And, climate change and weather patterns impact the world, resulting in water shortages, droughts and floods. Glaciers and snow packs are disappearing in some areas, affecting freshwater supplies to those downstream communities, making water scarce for agriculture, energy generation and ecosystems around the world.

Untreated wastewater, industrial waste, plastics, pesticides and fertilizers all add to the problem of water pollution. The World Wildlife Organization projects that by 2025, two thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages and ecosystems around the world will suffer even more.4

Each of us needs to not take water for granted. Water has to be treated as a scarce resource, with a far stronger focus on managing demand. Water is life and our lives depend on it.

There’s less than a week left to take advantage of the Nikken March promotion that not only helps you practice Active Wellness, but also helps you promote water awareness and help reduce plastic waste. For the entire month of March, we are offering four Water Packs. Each pack has two state-of-the-art PiMag® products. You get one at the regular price and the second at 50% off! You have your choice of two PiMag MicroJet® Wall Mount Shower Systems or two PiMag MicroJet® Handheld Shower Systems, both of which help neutralize chemicals, two PiMag® Sport Bottles of 100% recyclable biogreen materials, or two PiMag® Waterfalls that can help reduce bacteria by 99.99%.

1, 3, 4 www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity

2 www.unwater.org

Take Action on World Water Day and Every Day

World Water Day is celebrated globally once a year to consciously recognize the importance of providing affordable, lasting access to safe water. It became a United Nations observance day in 1993 to focus attention on the global water crisis.

On 22 March every year, people and organizations mark World Water Day by taking action to tackle the water crisis. World Water Day 2021 will focus on the theme, ‘Valuing Water’. This focus will extend beyond issues of pricing to include the environmental, social, and cultural value people place on water.1

The value of water is about much more than its price—water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.2

Currently, 844 million people on our planet lack access to safe, clean drinking water and over 200 million are walking an average of four miles or six kilometers per day to gather water.3 That’s why one of the ways people take action is to “walk for water,” with corporate or personal sponsorships for every mile logged—gathering donations to help those with limited access to water.

People die every year from diseases caused by unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation and insufficient water for hygienic use. When a million miles are logged by people who participate in ‘”walk for water,” an estimated 100,000 families are provided with clean water.4 This is a great example of what valuing water actually means to people as well as the true value of water and how we can better protect this vital resource.

A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6): water and sanitation for all by 2030. To achieve SDG 6, on the governmental levels, countries need to invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities and encourage hygiene. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems is essential.5

Although conservation on a grand scale may require legislation, it is something we can practice individually on a daily basis by being conscious of our water usage, not taking water for granted and participating in community events that support access to clean water and help sustain a cleaner environment. Human survival depends on all of us working with nature, not against it.

Water is Life and Nikken is doing its part to help people access clean water for Active Wellness—not only for drinking, but also for bathing. For the entire month of March, we are offering four Water Packs. Each pack has two state-of-the-art PiMag® products. You get one at the regular price and the second at 50% off! You have your choice of two PiMag MicroJet® Wall Mount Shower Systems or two PiMag MicroJet® Handheld Shower Systems, both of which help neutralize chemicals, two PiMag® Sport Bottles of 100% recyclable biogreen materials, or two PiMag® Waterfalls that can help reduce bacteria by 99.99%.

1 http://sdg.iisd.org/events/world-water-day-2021/

2  https://www.worldwaterday.org/

3, 4  https://worldwidewalkforwater.com/

5 http://www.undp.org

What Can We Do To Decrease Plastic Pollution?

There are many misconceptions about the plastic pollution problem, but there is no question that in its many forms, plastic is killing ocean wildlife that is vital to the ecosystem. In addition, plastic pollution is sickening land flora and fauna, including humans.

Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao were two of the youngest scientists ever to win the Perlman science prize in 2016 for developing a bacterium that may transform plastic into CO2 and water. Although they were not the first ones to discover that bacteria can break down phthalates, they were the first to find a possible solution to a local problem by looking into their own river system in Vancouver, Canada when they were still in high school.1

The two have since won numerous other science awards and established their company, BioCellection. Years of research later, their company is still focused on taking a main type of plastic, polyethylene, and turning it into chemical building blocks for new products that don’t end up in oceans as waste. The firm takes dicarboxylic acid it generates from polyethylene and transforms it into high-performance materials, such as photopolymers or polyyrethane.2

 “It is such a waste when materials that are perfectly good to be reused or repurposed end up as pollution,” Yao says. “Not only are we turning this currently wasted carbon into new materials that are high performing, but BioCellection is also making new products that can be recycled over and over again.”3

Since 2016, a product called the SeaBin has been available for purchase around the world. Created by two Australian surfers, the SeaBin is a bucket with a pump and water filtration system that is designed to suck in any floating trash into a removable mesh bag. The bucket includes an optional oil-water separator system that will pull oil right out of the ocean, then spit out cleaner water through the other side of the pump. The SeaBin can be installed at any floating dock to suck up trash or oil floating in nearby harbors.4

Since 2017, the SeaBin Project has removed over 1,400 tons of plastic pollution from the world’s oceans with SeaBin units in 53 countries. Each unit has the capability to collect 90,000 plastic bags, 35,700 disposable cups, 16,500 plastic bottles and 166,500 plastic utensils each year.5

Removal of plastic from the ocean is only one piece of the pollution puzzle. What happens to all the plastic that is collected? Not all of tons and tons of plastic can be transformed into usable products in the way of BioCellection. Much of the plastic waste has to decompose. Just as plastic was a wonderful invention due to its durability, it’s also a nightmare when it comes to decomposition, as it can take 1,000 years!

Leave it to yet another Canadian high school student to find a way to more quickly biodegrade plastic! Daniel Burd, a student at Waterloo Collegiate Institute won the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May of 2019. He created a process of immersing ground plastic in a yeast solution that expedites microbial growth, then isolating the productive organisms. After experimentation with different strains and interbreeding them, Burd achieved a 43% degradation of plastic in only six weeks!6

What makes Burd’s discoveries so exciting is that his method of decomposing plastic is organic. Other research on decomposing plastic have mainly focused on chemical additives made by scientists to cause plastic to vaporize.7 Testing needs to continue with Burd’s discoveries to ensure that byproducts of organic decomposition are not carcinogenic, but what a great starting point!

We can’t all be scientific entrepreneurs and make breakthrough discoveries, but every single one of us can help in decreasing plastic pollution by remembering to practice the 3Rs: reuse, reduce and recycle.

Water is Life and Nikken is doing its part to help people access clean water for Active Wellness—not only for drinking, but also for bathing. For the entire month of March, we are offering four Water Packs. Each pack has two state-of-the-art PiMag® products. You get one at the regular price and the second at 50% off! You have your choice of two PiMag MicroJet® Wall Mount Shower Systems, two PiMag MicroJet® Handheld Shower Systems, two PiMag® Sport Bottles of 100% recyclable biogreen materials, or two PiMag® Waterfalls.

1 https://www.thescienceandspace.com/2019/05/the-high-pollution-in-the-oceans-is-big.html?

2 www.intellingentliving.co/amp/students-recycle-polyethylene

3 https://cen.acs.org/environment/recylcing/BioCellection-Miranda-Wang-and-Jeanny-Yao-aim-to-make-treasure-out-of-plastic-trash/98/19

4 https://mitte.co/2018/02/13/water-related-technologies-inventions-inspire-us/

5 https://seabinproject.com/discovery-australia-joins-seabin-project-to-help-clean-up-sydney-harboru-in-world-first-program/

6,7 https://www.treehugger.com/boy-discovers-microbe-that-easts-plastic-4868136

Innovations in Clean Water Technology

We failed to take care of the environment and are paying dire consequences. Around one in three people worldwide, or 2.2 billion, lack access to safe drinking water near their home. By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas, when resources in a region or country are insufficient for its needs.1 Fortunately, innovative youth are coming up with ways to de-contaminate water sources.

At only 14 years old, Deepika Kurup noticed children in India using plastic bottles to collect water so dirty that she wouldn’t go near it. Coming from the United States, it was not something she was used to seeing. She understood that the dirty water was the only water they had to drink, and it was also used for washing clothes and bathing. She learned that lack of access to clean water restricted the girls’ opportunity for an education, since they could not attend school during their period.

Deepika Kurup proceeded to create an affordable and effective water purification system composed of a cement-like composite material that is activated by sunlight to reduce the amount of bacteria in water. The material can be molded into different shapes: a rod in a bottle, a disc or pot for a water tank—molds that can be scaled up or down. Kurup says, “This solution alone isn’t going to be what solves the water crisis, but it will be more effective in sunny parts of the world.”Kurup has patented her technology and will be working to implement it.

Around the world, many of the 783 million people who don’t have clean drinking water also don’t have access to electricity.  In 2014, 17-year-old Cynthia Sin Nga Lam created her prototype – the H2Pro – a portable device powered only by sunlight. Dirty water goes in one end, and a titanium mesh, activated by the sun, sterilizes the water and sends it through an extra filter. The photocatalytic reaction also splits the water into hydrogen and oxygen—so someone can flip a switch and start feeding a hydrogen fuel cell to produce clean power. Detergent, soap, and other pollutants in the water help make more hydrogen. There are similar water purification technologies but her invention did not require an extra source of electricity; only sunlight and titania was required. Besides being low-cost and easy to maintain, the H2Pro also generated a very efficient source of clean energy.3

Lam is now working as a contract consultant at the World Health Organization and hasn’t continued working with the H2Pro project. However, the idea of her two-in-one machine lives on with the development of scientists.4

Gitanjali Rao, from Colorado, was just 12 when she was awarded the title of “America’s top young scientist” for designing a compact device to detect toxic lead in drinking water, which she believes can be faster and cheaper than other current methods. At 15 years old, Rao was selected from a field of more than 5,000 nominees to be TIME magazine’s first ever 2020 Kid of the Year.

“I was like 10 when I told my parents that I wanted to research carbon nanotube sensor technology at the Denver Water quality research lab.

(they are cylindrical molecules made of carbon atoms that are very sensitive to chemical changes, and thus are good for detecting chemicals in water, among other uses.] It was just that changing factor of, you know this work is going to be in our generation’s hands pretty soon. So if no one else is gonna do it, I’m gonna do it.

“Observe, brainstorm, research, build and communicate. I’m currently working on an easy way to help detect bio-contaminants in water—things like parasites. I’m hoping for this to be something that’s inexpensive and accurate so that people in third-world countries can identify what’s in their water.”5

As a new generation of innovators makes headway in cleaning up water systems that previous generations have contaminated, the Global Wellness Community will continue spreading the word about conservation, respecting nature and new ways to access clean water. As Rao says, “I recently hit my goal of 30,000 students who I have mentored, which is super exciting. It’s like creating a community of innovators. I really hope the work that all of these kids are doing identifies innovation as a necessity and not something that’s a choice anymore.”6

Water is Life and Nikken is doing its part to help people access clean water for Active Wellness—not only for drinking, but also for bathing. For the entire month of March, we are offering four Water Packs. Each pack has two state-of-the-art PiMag® products. You get one at the regular price and the second at 50% off! You have your choice of two PiMag MicroJet® Wall Mount Shower Systems, two PiMag MicroJet® Handheld Shower Systems, two PiMag® Sport Bottles, or two PiMag® Waterfalls.

1, 2 https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/25/world/deepika-kurup-water-purification-intl-c2e

3 https://mitte.co/2018/02/13/water-related-technologies-inventions-inspire-us/

4 https://www.intelligentliving.co/teenager-invents-two-in-one-device-generates-electricity-purifies-water/

5,6 https://time.com/5916772/kid-of-the-year-2020/

Be Great Role Models for Heart Health

Have you thought about what the saying “Monkey see, monkey do” really means? When it comes to children, surrounding them with good role models is a fast way to ensure they develop good habits and behaviors. Children mimic the adults around them more easily than listening to requests or taking direction. When it comes to healthy heart habits, it’s a no brainer:  Whatever we do to be heart-healthy is more than likely what our children and grandchildren will copy. Be a good role model and get them on the Active Wellness track as early as possible.

Even though heredity is an important risk factor for heart disease, experts agree that healthy eating habits from an early age can lower the risk of developing cardiovascular issues, diabetes and other serious ailments later in life. American children and adolescents average more saturated fat in their diets than their counterparts in other developed nations.1

Although children and teens usually don’t show the symptoms of heart disease, the silent buildup of fatty deposits can start in childhood and can have a serious impact on their adult life. “The kinds of heart problems which relate to the problems adults have don’t really manifest themselves until [the children are] much older,” says Ronald Kanter, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, division of pediatric cardiology, at Duke University. “But the seeds of those problems are sown in childhood and adolescence.”2

Fortunately, parents can influence their children’s behavior by encouraging healthy eating and regular aerobic exercise, as well as discouraging smoking. Dr. Kanter says he has noticed a gradual decline in the activity levels of the children and adolescents he treats and an increase in the prevalence of obesity. “It’s a clear epidemic,” he says. “There is now definite evidence that obesity is a risk factor for coronary events later in life.”3

We can help prevent obesity in our kids by encouraging them to be active in school and at home. Give them time to play outdoors each day. The United States Department of Agriculture’s guidelines recommend 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for children most days of the week.4

To be good role models, we need to set time limits for TV watching, computer use (other than for work) and handheld computer games. On the other hand, we can set a good example by exercising regularly and making it a family routine—walking, biking, swimming, dancing to favorite music, etc. are all activities that are heart-healthy and also can bring us closer to our kids by sharing the gift of time. And to help them get some fruit and veggies into their diets, start them off early with Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix—its chocolate flavor will make it an easy habit to develop!

There are a few days left to give the precious gift of heart health with the V-Day Promo Pack from Nikken! It contains one bottle of Kenzen® Bergisterol® capsules and one jar of Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder, a dynamic duo for the heart. And, if you hurry, you will also receive the value-added Kenko® Heart Set, while supplies last. The V-Day Promo Pack is available through February 28th.

1 https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/heart/Pages/Heart-Disease.aspx#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20American%20Heart,including%20low%2Dfat%20dairy%20products.

2, 3, 4 https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=prevention-of-heart-disease-starts-in-childhood-1-2073

Interesting Facts about the Heart

Keeping the heart healthy is one of the most important things we can do for Active Wellness. Since February is American Heart Month, here are a dozen interesting but possibly rarely known facts about this life-giving organ of the body.

  1. An electrical system controls the rhythm of the heart. It is called the cardiac conduction system.1
  2. The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy.2
  3. Most heart attacks happen on a Monday.3
  4. The number of heart attacks peaks on Christmas Day, followed by December 26th and New Year’s day.4
  5. The beating sound of your heart is caused by the valves of the heart opening and closing.5
  6. It is actually possible to have a broken heart. It can have similar symptoms as a heart attack. The difference is that a heart attack is from heart disease and broken heart syndrome is caused by a rush of stress hormones from an emotional or physical stress event. Death from a broken heart, or broken heart syndrome, is possible but extremely rare.6
  7. Your heart beats around 100,000 times a day.7
  8. Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood a day.8
  9. Arteries are only about four millimeters in diameter, so it doesn’t take too much of those fatty, greasy foods over the period of a decade or two to start clogging up the arteries, according to Johns Hopkins cardiologist Roger Blumenthal, M.D.9
  10. A woman’s average heartbeat is faster than a man’s by almost eight beats a minute.10
  11. Every cell in the body gets blood from the heart, except for the corneas.11
  12. When you laugh, the lining of your blood vessel walls relaxes and expands, This increases blood flow and serves to help reduce stress and boost the immune system. So, laughter is called “good heart medicine.”1

Although Valentine’s Day has come and gone, it’s not too late to give the precious gift of heart health with the V-Day Promo Pack from Nikken! It contains one bottle of Kenzen® Bergisterol® capsules and one jar of Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder, a dynamic duo for the heart. And, if you hurry, you will also receive the value-added Kenko® Heart Set, while supplies last. The V-Day Promo Pack is available through February 28th.

1, 2, 3 https://www.healthline.com/health/fun-facts-about-the-heart

4 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/facts-about-the-heart/

5, 6  https://www.healthline.com/health/fun-facts-about-the-heart

7, 8 https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=20b07ab0-e855-49c6-9ee2-91247e52d5cc

9 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-heart-facts-that-may-surprise-you

10, 11 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/facts-about-the-heart/

12 https://www.webmd.com/heart/features/amazing-facts-about-heart-health-and-heart-disease_#2

When We Give We Also Receive

February 14th through 20th is known as Random Acts of Kindness Week. It is designated to bring awareness to the benefits of being kind, not only to others but also to ourselves.

Researchers have dedicated years to exploring the effects of giving and receiving. Research shows that when we do things for others, we do get repaid—not just through reciprocation, but as a result of the psychological benefits acts of benevolence produce in the giver.

Jamie Gruman, Ph.D., a Full Professor and Senior Research Fellow in the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, notes a couple of studies that show the complementary effects of giving and receiving. In one, employees at a company in Spain were asked to either perform acts of kindness for colleagues, or asked to simply count the number of kind acts they received from coworkers. It turned out that the people who received acts of kindness became happier, demonstrating the value of benevolence for the receiver. Those who delivered the acts of kindness not only showed a similar trend towards being happier but also had an increase in life satisfaction and job satisfaction, with a notable decrease in depression. The givers benefited even more than the receivers did! The positive effects of being kind were contagious in that the beneficiaries of the acts of kindness ended up spontaneously paying it forward and doing extra nice things for other colleagues. The study concluded that when we give kindness to one, we spread kindness to many.1

In another study that took place in China, researchers asked participants to wait in the lobby of a university building because they hadn’t yet determined which room they’d be using for the study. When each participant arrived in the lobby, a female research assistant greeted them standing beside two cartons at the bottom of a flight of stairs. In one scenario, the assistant pretended to have trouble carrying the cartons up the stairs, dropped one, and asked the participants if they’d be willing to help her. In the other scenario, the assistant simply said that the first part of the study involved participants carrying a carton up the stairs. Afterwards, participants in both scenarios were asked to estimate the weight of the carton. The participants who acted out of kindness by helping the assistant carry the box up the stairs estimated its weight as lighter than those who simply carried the carton because they thought it was part of the study.2  Being kind clearly helped to lighten the load!

The benefits from being kind are actually rooted in science, not just in perception. Being kind boosts our levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that fuels our feelings of well-being. Similar to exercise, being kind releases endorphins and produces what is known as a “helper’s high.”3 Kindness also releases the hormone oxytocin, which in turn causes the release of the chemical nitric oxide, which expands the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Oxytocin is therefore known as a cardio-protective hormone.4 In this way, kindness actually strengthens the heart physically and emotionally—no wonder kind people are often described as having “big hearts.”

Oxytocin also helps reduce inflammation in the body, and even small acts of kindness can trigger its release. Preventing inflammation is one of the key ways to decrease the risk of many health issues, including diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, obesity and migraines.According to a study of adults aged 57-85, volunteering manifested the strongest association with lower levels of inflammation.5

If you don’t already perform random acts of kindness in your daily life, this is the perfect time to try it out. The results may surprise you in a completely positive way and help you achieve your Active Wellness goals! 

As we fast-approach Valentine’s Day, think about what you can do for those you care about, and consider giving them the precious gift of heart health with the V-Day Promo Pack from Nikken! It contains one bottle of Kenzen® Bergisterol® capsules and one jar of Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder, a dynamic duo for the heart. And, if you hurry, you will also receive the value-added Kenko® Heart Set, while supplies last. The V-Day Promo Pack is available through February 28th.

1, 2 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dont-forget-the-basil/201806/being-kind-others-benefits-you

3, 4, 5 https://www.quietrev.com/6-science-backed-ways-being-kind-is-good-for-your-health/