Breathe Deeply and Other Tips for Respiratory Health

Just like any other important organ in our bodies, the lungs age over time and lose some of their efficiency. The lungs can become less flexible and lose strength. The overall effect is that breathing becomes more difficult.

Our breath literally gives life, so keeping our ability to breathe easily is critical to Active Wellness and a high-quality lifestyle. Here are some key behaviors to help keep our lungs functioning properly:

•            Never smoke. If you do, find a way to stop. Seek the help of a professional if necessary. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, more than 10 times as many U.S. citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the U.S. during its history. In addition, smoking causes about 90 percent of all lung cancer deaths in men and women.1 Smoking also causes the lungs to age more rapidly. The good news is, according to the American Lung Association, within just 12 hours of quitting smoking, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drops to normal, and within a few months, lung function begins to improve. Within a year, the risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.2

•            Exercise regularly. We think about exercise in terms of maintaining a comfortable weight, keeping muscle tone and optimizing cardiovascular health. The truth is, regular exercise is key to the health of our lungs. Just as the heart beats faster during exercise, the lungs work harder, too. The body requires more oxygen during exercise, and the lungs increase their activity level to deliver that necessary oxygen while expelling additional carbon dioxide. Breathing increases from about 15 times a minute to approximately 40 to 60 times a minute, giving the lungs a real workout.3 Try to do something active for 30 minutes daily to lighten the load on the lungs and to help increase the efficiency of oxygen transportation and metabolism.4Strengthening the lungs with regular exercise helps improve immunity and resist aging.

•            Avoid exposure to pollutants. Stay away from smokers to avoid breathing in secondhand smoke. Keep your windows rolled up when in heavy traffic to avoid breathing in exhaust fumes.

•            When driving, avoid idling the car for long periods of time (a minute is a very long time when idling, so keep it to 10 seconds or less) to help prevent noxious air. Many newer car models automatically turn the ignition off when idling for more than a few seconds.

•            The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that indoor pollution is typically worse than outdoor. To help decrease indoor pollutants, open windows to keep air circulating, ban smoking indoors, keep dust to a minimum, use natural cleaners such as Kenzen® Surface Cleaner as much as possible, avoid synthetic air fresheners and make sure exhaust hoods and other ventilation methods are adequate.

•            Wash your hands frequently. Keeping hands clean is the easiest way to help prevent lung infections.

•            Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruits and vegetables, because they contain nutrients that help boost the immune system.

•            Cover your coughs to help stop the spread of germs. Get plenty of rest, eat well and keep stress levels under control to overcome any viral or bacterial infections.5

•            When working where there are known pollutants, wear a mask, such as the Kenzen® Face Mask. Avoid breathing in toxic fumes from chemicals, solvents, paints, excessive amounts of dusk, fumes, smoke, gas, vapors or mists.6

•            Breathe deeply. Most of us take shallow breaths from the chest area, but this only utilizes a small portion of our lungs. On the other hand, deep breathing helps clear the lungs and allows for full oxygen intake and expulsion of carbon dioxide. Be conscious of your breath and it is noticeable that deep breathing feels invigorating as well as relaxing.

1, 2, 3 healthline.com/health/understanding-idiopathic-pulmonary-fibrosis/ways-to-keep-your-lungs-healthy-and-whole#4.-Prevent-infections

4, 5, 6 https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/prevent-lung-disease

Super Yummy and Really Good for Us!

“Everything in moderation.” The essential thought is found in the work of the Greek poet Hesiod (c.700 bc), who wrote ‘observe due measure; moderation is best in all things’, and of the Roman comic dramatist Plautus (c. 250–184 bc), who wrote ‘moderation in all things is the best policy.’1 These wise words are especially prudent when it comes to delicious food that may have high calories or may not be the best for us. When something is delicious and beneficial, double bonus! Such is the case with cacao or cocoa powder.

Cacao beans are a source of flavonoids, with the primary type present being flavanols. Cacao beans come from the fruit of the tree known as Theobroma cacao. Theobroma means “food of the gods” and aptly, cacao beans not only contain flavanols but also nearly 400 other identified compounds.2

Flavanols are a type of plant nutrient found in many foods and drinks, such as tea, red wine, blueberries, apples, pears, cherries, and peanuts. They are particularly abundant in cacao beans. Fermenting, drying, and roasting cacao beans yields cocoa powder, which is used to make chocolate. Flavanols in cocoa have been studied for many years. Decades of research and more than 100 published studies have demonstrated the benefits of daily cocoa flavanol consumption, including supporting a healthy heart, blood pressure, brain health and cognition, circulation and skin health. 3 They have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, prevent blood clots, and fight cell damage.4

With the emerging recognition of the beneficial effects of flavanols, there has been a shift in commercial production towards chocolate forms with high flavanol content.5 Cocoa powder can contain as little as 10% fat and has up to 6% by weight, flavanols. It also has minerals (Magnesium, Copper, Vitamin K and Calcium), protein, and fiber in modest amounts. The main flavanols present in the cocoa powder are catechins and epicatechins.

Italian researchers tested the effects of cocoa flavanols in 90 healthy 61- to 85-year-olds whose memories and thinking skills were in good shape for their ages. Participants drank a special brew of cocoa flavanols each day. One group’s brew contained a low amount of cocoa flavanols (48 mg a day), another’s contained a medium amount (520 mg), and the third’s contained a high amount (993 mg).

After eight weeks, people who consumed medium and high amounts of cocoa flavanols every day made significant improvements on tests that measured attention, executive function, and memory. The findings were published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. A similar study by these researchers published in 2012 showed that daily consumption of cocoa flavanols was associated with improved thinking skills in older adults who did have thinking problems, a condition called mild cognitive impairment. And both studies found that cocoa flavanols were associated with reduced blood pressure and improved insulin resistance. 6

Formulated to help people reach their recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetables, in other words, to eat an Active Wellness diet, Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix was designed with children in mind. It therefore “hid” its four recommended daily servings of veggies and fruits per serving/scoop with delicious chocolate flavor.

When you check out the ingredient listing of Kenzen Total Vegan Drink Mix, you’ll see that the second ingredient is Organic Cacao Powder. The formulation of this powdered green superfood is proprietary, but we can tell you that there are 3.15g of Organic Cacao in each 6.3g serving. That’s a significant amount, based on studies mentioned above, so whether you’re trying to get veggies into a child or feeding your own adult heart and brain, it doesn’t get easier than this!  Just add water and get a delicious chocolate beverage that is really good for the body and mind: triple bonus!

1https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110810105420435#:~:text=The%20essential%20thought%20is%

2, 4,5 https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/590371

3 Kwik-Uribe, Cocoa flavanols: Manufacturing Process & Supply Chain Make or Break Benefits, Nutraceuticals World, July/August 2020, p. 36.

6 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cocoa-sweet-treat-brain-201502057676

Have You Heard of the “Have a Plant™” Movement?

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) is promoting the consumption of vegetables and fruits for health. Health means decreasing the risk of certain common but debilitating conditions, including type 2 diabetes, diverticulitis and other digestive issues, hypertension and most notably, cardiovascular disease. Have a Plant™ is PBH’s new behavioral science-based call to action.

Since nearly 90% of Americans fall below fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations1, the PBH suggests the following:

  1. Join the Have a Plant™ Movement by enjoying fruits and veggies you know and love, whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried or 100% juice.
  2. Follow PBH’s social channels to learn creative tips/tricks to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your daily diet.
  3. Take the Have a Plant™ pledge: commit to adding one or more fruit and or vegetable to your routine every day this month: try something new, and experiment. Although this is National Fruit and Veggie Awareness month as recommended by PBH, any month is a good month to make this pledge.
  4. Spread the word on the importance of consuming multiple types of fruits and veggies, since no single vegetable or fruit can supply all your nutrient needs.

The importance of eating fruits and vegetables cannot be overstated. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to reap the multiple benefits of including a rainbow of plant foods into your diet. Studies show that people who eat more vegetables and fruits as part of an overall healthy diet are more likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases, as mentioned above. Here’s why:

•            Vegetables are low in fat and calories and none have cholesterol.

•             Vegetables and fruits are important sources of potassium, fiber, folate (folic acid) and Vitamins A and C.

•            Diets rich in potassium may help maintain healthy levels of blood pressure.2 Sweet potatoes, white beans, tomato paste, sauce and juice, beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils and kidney beans are rich in potassium.

•            Fiber helps reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease, as well as help ensure proper bowel function. High-fiber foods include peas, broccoli, figs, berries, all types of beans, artichokes, avocado and pears.

•            Folate (folic acid) helps the body form red blood cells.3 Foods rich in folate include leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, seeds and nuts, and fortified foods, such as whole grain breakfast cereals.4

•            Vitamin A keeps eyes and skin healthy and helps protect against infections. Vitamin A is found in orange and yellow vegetables and fruits as well as broccoli, spinach and most green leafy vegetables.

•             According to a study conducted by Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals, all fruits and veggies contributed to the benefit but green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and mustard greens most strongly associated with a decrease risk of cardiovascular disease.5

•            Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds and keeps teeth and gums healthy. It also aids in iron absorption. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, cauliflower, green and red peppers, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes and winter squash.

•             A randomized trial known as the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health showed fruit and vegetable rich diets lowered blood pressure even more when some of the carbohydrates were replaced with healthy unsaturated fat or protein.6

Have a Plant™ works well with an Active Wellness lifestyle and it’s never too late to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Remember that Kenzen® Super Ciaga is rich in antioxidant fruits, and Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix can help you and your children with four of the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables in each scoop!

1 https://www.producebluebook.com/2019/08/27/how-to-promote-september-as-national-fruits-and-veggie-month/#

2, 3 www.choosemyplate.gov

www.m.activebeat.com

5, 6 www.hsph.harvard.edu

Is Your Appetite Changing with the Seasons?

Have you noticed if your appetite changes with the seasons? Do you eat more when the weather is colder? In cooler weather, your body needs to burn more calories to maintain body temperature. To protect your health and keep you warm, the system that controls appetite signals you to eat more.1

There have been studies done to determine why our appetites vacillate. In one study, subjects consumed about 200 more calories a day beginning in the fall when the days grew darker.2 Another study explained that humans are very light-sensitive and when there is less of it, we tend not only to eat more but also to eat faster!3

Other experts believe the environment causes us to eat more, not the changing season. They believe that being inside all day with less activity and fewer opportunities to exercise, contribute to increased food intake.4 The holiday season is an obvious example of environmental influences in food consumption: we eat certain high-caloric foods during the holidays and even crave them during that time of year.

A common question related to increased food consumption is, “Will I gain weight because I eat more in the cooler months?” The answer may seem obvious; however, it’s not as simple as it may seem. The logic behind this question is that the increased calories will add body fat. This is not necessarily correct, because weight gain depends not only on the amount we eat but also on what we eat.

The role that the hormone insulin plays in fat accumulation helps determine whether or not we gain weight. Insulin is produced when we eat complex or simple sugars. Its main function is to usher sugar into our cells to be used for energy. When our cells are getting enough energy from sugar, insulin will signal the leftover sugar to be stored as fat, so it can be used as needed in the future if food is sparse. Contrary to carbs, dietary fat doesn’t spike insulin and therefore doesn’t get stored as body fat. Instead, it provides a steady energy source, and is excellent for brain health and immunity.5

Another reason some of us eat more during colder weather is simply due to boredom or depression because we can’t get motivated to go out in the cold. Even an advocate of Active Wellness can have a day lacking in motivation once in awhile. Eating comfort foods is a known escape mechanism, so the key is to be mindful and eat because you are hungry. In other words, stay in tune with your body and make sure you actually feel hunger, not boredom.

Also, keep to your exercise routine, whether it’s a daily walk in the cool brisk air or an indoor mat workout. And, remember there’s help to stay on the right food regimen with high protein, low fat options such as Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix to which you can blend in healthy fruits and even veggies. For an antioxidant boost, simply add Kenzen® Super Ciaga powder.

1, 5 https://www.morrisonhealth.com/why-your-appetite-goes-when-temperature-drops-and-what-do-about-it/

2,3,4https://www.sparkpeople.com/blog/blog.asp?post=does_your_appetite_change_with_the_seasons#:~:text=Turns%20out%2C%20the%20study%20subjects,eat%20more%20and%20eat%20faster.

Be Sure to Take Care of Your Bones While Housebound!

As we are staying home more than usual during these unprecedented times, we tend to be less physically active. We need to make a special effort to get our bodies moving on a daily basis, not only for our health’s sake but specifically to keep our bones strong. Here’s why it’s so important to keep up the practice of Active Wellness:

  • When bones and muscles do not get adequate stimulation, that is, through movement and exercise, bone resorption quickens. Bone resorption refers to bone loss. 1
  • Vitamin D levels are critical for bone health, and staying indoors decreases exposure to the sun, the natural source of vitamin D.
  • We might be making fewer trips to shop for fresh groceries and eating fewer fresh leafy green vegetables, fruits, and dairy products, all good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Eating ready-made or processed foods may deprive us the nutrients that are necessary to help protect, build and maintain bones.
  • Strength-building and weight-bearing exercises provide great stimulation to the bone cells and help to increase bone mineral density and bone size. The good news is that these types of exercises can be accomplished by stair climbing, walking, lifting weights and dancing, all of which can be accomplished indoors.
  • Decreasing contact with others and staying homebound can cause mental stress. Social media shows evidence of increased smoking and alcohol intake by members of various age groups. Unfortunately, smoking and excessive alcohol intake contribute to bone loss and weakening of bones by reducing blood supply to the bones, slowing production of bone-forming cells and impairing the absorption of calcium.2

In summary, there are simple things to do to help maintain bone health. They’re the same habits we should form even when we have the freedom of going out whenever we want:

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in calcium and vitamin D. If your access to fresh food is limited, remember that staples such as canned beans and canned fish contain calcium and protein.
  • Set aside 30 minutes a day to exercise. If you can go outdoors and enjoy sunshine for some of that time, even better.
  • Maintain your body at a weight that is comfortable for you. This is not a time to try and lose a lot of weight. In fact, being too thin makes you more likely to get osteoporosis, but carrying too much weight can increase the risk of falling or leading to a more sedentary lifestyle.
  • Ensure your home environment is free of clutter and any obstacles that may cause you to fall. Now more than ever, staying fracture-free is critical, especially if you already have osteoporosis.3 Minimize the need to go to a hospital.
  • Ensure a daily calcium intake that is age-appropriate.

If you don’t normally take a nutritional supplement to help boost your bone health, this may be the perfect time to start. Why not try Kenzen BDZ® and Kenzen® Calcium Complex? At Nikken, we call them“bone buddies”because they are formulated to work together. Kenzen BDZ™ helps the body absorb calcium with three patented blends that research has shown to help preserve bone structure and strength and to build healthy bones.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

 

 

1, 2 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/what-do-we-need-to-know-about-our-bone-health-during-this-pandemic/articleshow/77588729.cms

3 https://osteoporosis.ca/your-bone-health-during-covid-19/

 

Drink to Your Health with Delicious Tea

Derived from the plant Camellia sinensis, true teas—black, green, oolong, dark and white—are well known for their health benefits. Throughout its nearly 5,000-year history, tea from the Camellia sinensis plant has been believed to help purify the body and preserve the mind. The earliest record of tea’s restorative power dates back to China in 2737 BC.1

Scientists have been testing these theories for decades. To date, researchers have identified and classified the bioactive compounds inherent in tea and thousands of published studies support tea’s ancient health claims. Bioactive compounds that promote health include polyphenolic compounds such as catechins, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), L-theanine, theaflavins, tannins and flavonoids, as well as amino acids, caffeine, lignins and xanthins. Black and green teas are rich sources of phytonutrients, which are responsible for some of their health benefits.2

Tea has been shown to have both short and long-term health benefits for Active Wellness.

  • The antioxidants in true teas are thought to play a role in protecting brain cells and inhibiting oxidative damage. Tea polyphenols are reportedly bioavailable to the brain and may protect neurological function. When researchers compared non-habitual tea drinkers and routine tea drinkers, the “regulars” were found to have greater functional connectivity strength and suppressed hemispheric asymmetry in their structural network, suggesting that habitual tea drinking has a protective effect on age-related brain decline.3
  • Research suggested there is an association between daily tea consumption and the reduced risk of heart disease.4
  • Additional research suggests that the catechins or bioactive compounds in tea, in combination with caffeine, are responsible for increasing energy usage in tea drinkers. This is believed to help in weight management and research suggests tea consumers have a lower weight and waist circumference.5
  • Antibacterial properties of tea may help protect against cavities and gum disease as well as strengthen tooth enamel. Research has demonstrated that two to three cups of green tea daily may play a role in reducing the risk of gum disease.6
  • Tea may boost bone-building markers and improve muscle mass, both of which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fracture.7
  • Whereas high caffeine consumption is believed to be a risk factor for reduced bone mineral density, tea drinking has been linked to higher bone density.8

Matcha green tea is one of the true teas highest in catechins and therefore exceptionally beneficial to overall health. Why not take advantage of our “Three for the Price of Two” sale on Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix made with high-grade organic matcha green tea, organic brown rice solids, organic kiwi and stevia leaf extract!

1,2 Goggi, Peter. Tea: A Beverage Steeped in History and Health Benefits, Nutraceuticals World, March 2020, pages 38 and 40.

3 De Bruin EA, etal. Black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. Appetite, 2011, 56, pages 235-240.

4 Eng Qy, etal. Molecular understanding of epigallocatechin gallate in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Ethnopharmacology, 2017, 210, pages 296-310.

5 Hersel R etal. The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation, Obesity Review, 2011 July:12(7):e573-81.

6 Kushiyama M etal. Relationship between intake of green tea and periodontal disease. Journal Periodontol, 2009, March; 80(3):372-7

7 Sun K etal, Association between tea consumption and osteoporosis. Medicine, 2017, 96:49 (e9024)

8 Devine A, etal. Tea drinking is associated with benefits on bone density in older women, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2007: 86(4)1243-7.

 

Do You Know What Beta Glucans Are?

Medical experts have routinely stated that having a strong immune system is important for all people, especially for those more vulnerable to illness, that is, the elderly, chronically ill and immune-compromised. Consumers are looking for products and ingredients that help immune systems and beta glucans are one of the newest. They’re well-grounded in science with more than 1,000 published articles in the scientific literature attesting to their efficacy.1

Beta glucans are chains of glucose molecules that are naturally present and act as storage depots and structural components in bacteria, fungi, algae and cereals. Their chemical structure and composition as well as their molecular weight affect the extent to which they can stimulate and support the immune system. Beta glucans exert a prebiotic effect on the GI tract: they specifically fuel beneficial GI microbiota, enabling them to flourish and compete against pathogenic bacteria for space and food.

 While we think of the digestive tract primarily as the organ for digesting food and absorbing nutrients, it is also the body’s largest immune organ. Approximately 70% of immune cells reside in the human intestine.3 Feeding and maintaining the health of intestinal cells maintains GI tract integrity so it can act as a physical barrier to invading pathogens.

Because beta glucans are a type of soluble fiber, it can slow down the process of food moving through the intestines. By slowing down the digestive process, the body doesn’t absorb sugar as quickly and this helps stabilize blood sugar levels, an important benefit especially for diabetics. As beta glucans travel through the entire digestive tract, it can help transport cholesterol out, helping to lower levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a heart-healthy label for foods that have high amounts of beta glucan, based on this evidence.4

Like many fibers, beta glucans are available in supplement form. They are also found in various types of fungi, such as maitake and reishi mushrooms. Less known ingredients such as inulin and spirulina are also sources of beta glucans. More commonly, beta glucans are found in whole grains, oats, bran, wheat and barley.

Dietary fiber is sourced from plant-based foods, another good reason to incorporate them into an Active Wellness regimen. Many Nikken nutritional supplements contain an assortment of beta glucans. Check out Kenzen® Immunity, Kenzen® Cleanse & Detox, Kenzen Lactoferrin® 2.0, Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix, Kenzen® Jade GreenZymes®, Kenzen® Digestion 4-20 and Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix.

 

1, 2, 3 Nutraceuticals World, April 2020, pp.24-25

4 https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-glucan-heart-healthy#TOC_TITLE_HDR_1

Are You Gaining Weight While Staying Home?

Nobody has yet done an assessment of how COVID-19 has impacted the nation’s weight—in fact, there are reports that some people are losing weight. But John Morton, MD, MPH, MHA, medical director of bariatric surgery at Yale New Haven Health System, says he has seen patients in telehealth appointments who have gained five, 10, and even 30 pounds.1

In fact, the global pandemic has disrupted life in major ways: Gym and park closures have upended exercise routines, parents have had to work at home while teaching their children, and elective medical checkups have been postponed, whereas updates on blood pressure, AC1 and cholesterol numbers would have been motivation to think about weight.

WebMD readers in the U.S. cited a number of reasons for their weight gain in a poll conducted on May 17. About 72% reported a lack of exercise. About 70% said they’ve been stress eating. An overwhelming 59% said both a lack of exercise and stress eating were a problem, and 21% attributed it to extra alcohol consumption. The same poll conducted among international readers on May 18 found 73% cited lack of exercise, 35% stress eating, and 17% to drinking more alcohol.2

Purpose gives direction, and it helps when it comes to weight management. A few pounds short term may not make a difference. It could be fluid. It might be just a little weight gain while we establish new routines. Obviously, the more weight we gain and the longer it’s maintained, the more it affects our health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, for example, it’s been shown that children’s weight tracks to some extent. If children establish those habits, or lack of healthy habits when they’re young and they gain weight, that might persist as they go into adolescence and adulthood.3 This is a great time to role model healthy eating habits. In fact, cooking can be a family affair and a source of quality time.

With adults, it’s more important for some people than others to manage weight. Weight gain of a few pounds can hurt people who have diabetes or high blood pressure, as the extra weight can increase their blood glucose and blood pressure.4 So, it’s important to establish new habits that help maintain a healthy weight even when we are sequestered at home.

Here are a few tips on keeping unwanted poundage off by practicing Active Wellness:

• Create a daily routine. Include wake-up time, bed time and meal times. Even if you are working at home now, adhere to a schedule.

• If you are home more than usual, take the time to learn about healthy foods and do more cooking. Restaurant food is generally higher in calories but when you’re the cook, you can focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.

• Control your portions. Practice eating until you’re 70% to 80% full.

• Eat proteins first, because they will make you feel full. Too many carbohydrates can cause swings in blood sugar.

• If you simply do not cook and have no interest in it, resist ready-made processed foods. Instead choose a healthy meal replacement drink like Kenzen Vital Balance® Meal Replacement Mix at least once daily. It’s high in plant protein, MCTs and sweetened with all-natural, zero-calorie monkfruit.

• For those with finicky children, keep offering fruits and vegetables but don’t add more stress if they refuse them. Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix is a yummy alternative that delivers four recommended daily servings of vegetables and fruits with a single scoop.

• Schedule regular exercise. Exercise is not the main factor for weight loss, but it plays a role in keeping weight off as well as helping loosen stiff joints. Remember the simple rule that fewer calories consumed than expended is what produces weight loss. There are many ways to exercise at home.

• Get a good night’s sleep. Those who do not get restful sleep tend to gain weight!

• Decide how to manage stress. Meditation, prayer, yoga, listening to soothing music, playing a musical instrument, reading, etc. It all depends on what relaxes you best. Enjoy the time you have at home and stay healthy and active!

1 https://www.yalemedicine.org/stories/quarantine-15-weight-gain-pandemic/

2 https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20200518/webmd-poll-many-report-weight-gain-during-shutdown

3,4 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/packing-on-pounds-during-covid-19-and-how-to-turn-it-around/

What Are You Worried About During the Pandemic?

The COVID-19 crisis has made consumers around the world increasingly aware of the critical role a strong immune system can play in health maintenance and disease prevention. Fears of possible additional outbreaks or returning to normal behaviors too soon have created a new need for preparedness.1 Being prepared in this sense is very much an integral aspect of Active Wellness.

According to the 2020 Harnessing the Power of Self Care report, preventive products will likely trend higher than those that target symptoms.2 In effect, this approach aligns with TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) as well as the Ayurvedic tradition. The pandemic is in effect causing people who previously relied solely on alleviating symptoms of health issues to actually taking action to help prevent their onset. This has been one of the goals of Active Wellness and certainly reflects the Healthy Body and Healthy Mind Pillars of the foundational 5 Pillars of Wellness that represent the Nikken lifestyle.

Bolstering the immune system is not a new concept; however, healthy individuals may not always pay attention to it, because the need is not obvious or immediate. During the pandemic where seemingly healthy people, even those without underlying health issues, are dying, maintaining a strong immune system that is capable of fighting the unknown, becomes a real need.

Consumers worldwide are making changes to their diets and lifestyles to help improve their immunity—61 percent in North America, 56 percent in Europe, 50 percent in Africa, 48 percent in the Asia Pacific, and 45 percent in South America.3 Here are some ways that people can help their immune systems stay strong and healthy not only during a pandemic but as a committed Active Wellness lifestyle:

  • Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Eat more omega-3 rich oils.
  • Eat fresh vegetables, organic whenever possible.
  • Add garlic, onions, ginger, cinnamon, and functional mushrooms into the diet.
  • Take probiotics, vitamin C and vitamin D.
  • Add animmune supplement to your daily regimen.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.  The Center for Disease Control states that those with a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease as well as COVID-19.4
  • Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated throughout the day.

The pandemic has helped many of us develop better health habits: frequent handwashing, eating healthy food, exercising regularly and incorporating immune-boosting nutritional supplements into our daily regimens. The world doesn’t have a cure for COVID-19 yet, but we can be more vigilant in aligning our daily behaviors with Active Wellness.

1,2 Nutraceuticals World, May 2020, p. 44.

3 FMCG Gurus. (2020). Insights & Opportunities – Immunity – Global 2020.

4 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

Interconnectivity of Joy and Suffering

Today’s blog is adapted from The Empowerment Paradox by Ben Woodward, a Nikken Royal Diamond Consultant who writes and speaks about entrepreneurship. His insights are appropriate to incorporate into a life of Active Wellness. Here’s what Ben graciously shares:

From a young age, we are taught that suffering should be avoided. Don’t touch the hot stove. Wear a helmet. Be careful when it’s slippery. The problem is not all suffering can be avoided. If we treat suffering as something only to be avoided, we will be unprepared to handle the unavoidable suffering in our lives.

We must reframe suffering as something unpleasant but not without value. After all, it is only through suffering that we can experience and appreciate joy. As a result of winter, we appreciate spring. As a result of illness, we appreciate health. As a result of death, we appreciate life.

The opposing sides are not at war, but tightly joined together—two sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other. By understanding the interconnectivity of joy and suffering, you can learn to accept and even embrace the suffering of your life, recognizing it as a potential catalyst for growth and greater joy.

Often it is the lowest, darkest times in life that lead to the greatest personal growth. That was the case for my friend Andy who had an accidental fall that broke his back. The doctors repaired the extensive damage by fusing pieces of his spine, which made matters worse rather than better. He often walked with a cane and sometimes used a wheelchair due to the injuries he’d sustained. I asked him once how often he experienced pain.

“Every day,” he told me.

“Are you in pain now?”

“Yes,” he said, remaining just as calm and composed as ever.

When I inquired further, he told me that it felt like his feet and legs were on fire, and that this was his normal state of being. Sometimes it felt manageable, and other times it overwhelmed him. Remarkably, he also told me this: “I have come to appreciate that breaking my back was the second-best thing that ever happened to me—second only to meeting and marrying my wife. What it has demanded of me has shaped me into a person I never would have become otherwise.”

His story is remarkable not because of his degree of struggle, but because of his response to it. When faced with great pain, or chronic struggle, he was obliged to confront it and be transformed by it. His response ensured that it was for the better.

The way we grow or suffer through the challenges of life depends entirely on our perspective. There is no escaping suffering, yet there is also joy to be found when we are patient, humble, and accepting of our circumstances. But this perspective does not develop overnight. When Andy first broke his back, he wasn’t immediately happy and appreciative. However, the fact remained that his back had been broken. He couldn’t change that, and the working of time and necessity brought him to a place where his heart changed.

In a conversation with my wife, I had explained that we need to let go of our illusions in order to truly be free and to achieve our goals. “Don’t we lose hold of our dreams doing this?” she asked. This was a powerful observation. Many hold onto illusions for fear of losing their dreams.

“No, quite the opposite,” I explained. “As long as we hold onto illusions that keep us from confronting reality, we cannot make a lasting, real change. We may need to adapt, pivot or make some changes to accommodate an unwanted challenge or pain point, but the change makes dreams and goals possible.”

I assure you, better dreams can be created – and more importantly, realized, when we let illusions go, confront reality – even the painful parts of it, and work with conviction and hope towards a bright and wonderful future. The future is certainly bright.