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/

Celebrate Your Heart and Your Love

Valentine’s Day is generally represented by a heart that signifies love and affection. But what about the physical heart which pumps to keep the body alive? Shouldn’t we celebrate the life-giving heart as well?

There are many things we can do to keep the heart healthy. Practicing Active Wellness means eating fewer fatty foods and more vegetables and fruit, exercising regularly and not smoking are the basics, but here are five related yet more specific tips for heart health:

  1. Eat healthy fats. In keeping away from fatty foods, we sometimes forget that we need healthy fats to function optimally. This means including healthy fats from nuts, seeds and olive oil. Eat healthy fats in moderation as they tend to be high in calories, but regular consumption can help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol. Avoid trans fats, as they are the ones that clog arteries. Read labels when purchasing ready-made food and rule of thumb is to avoid fast food outlets.
  2. Practice good dental hygiene. Develop the flossing habit and do it daily. Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies show that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause increased levels of C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels, which compound the risk of heart disease and stroke.1
  3. Sleep enough and sleep well. Those who don’t sleep enough may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, regardless of age and other habits. One study of 3,000 adults older than 45 found those who slept fewer than six hours nightly were about twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack as people who slept six to eight hours each night.2
  4. Don’t sit in one spot for a long time. Sitting in one place, whether it’s at a desk for work or on a long plane ride, increases the risk of blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis. Studies that have included 800,000 people show that there is an associated 147 percent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 percent increase in death caused by those who sit the most.3 Get up and stretch or walk around every hour.
  5. Stay away from those who are smoking cigarettes. We all know we should not smoke, as it puts us at risk for heart disease; however, even breathing in secondhand smoke from other people’s cigarettes may be dangerous. Studies show that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work. Nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart disease when exposed to secondhand smoke. This is because chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote the development of plaque buildup in the artieries.4

To celebrate heart health and those you love this year, Nikken has a V-Day Promo Pack that is available the entire month of February! It contains one bottle of Kenzen® Bergisterol® capsules and one jar of Kenzen® SuperCiaga® powder, and while supplies last, a Kenko® Heart Set from Nikken to you. Taken together, Kenzen Bergisterol and Kenzen Super Ciaga are a dynamic duo that help maintain cardiovascular health*, support the immune system* and provide overall health benefits*.

All of us at Nikken wish you and your loved ones a Happy Valentine’s Day this coming February 14! Get your V-Day Pack—it’s a gift for heart health!

*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, 3, 4 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-things-to-do-every-day-to-keep-your-heart-healthy/

Exercising but Not Losing Weight?

One fact about exercise that many tend to ignore is that when we work out, the calories burned only account for a tiny part of our total energy expenditure. “In reality,” says Alexxai Kravitz, a neuroscientist and obesity researcher at the National Institutes of Health, “it’s only around 10 to 30 percent [of total energy expenditure] depending on the person (and excluding professional athletes that workout as a job).”1

Exercise has another effect that actually deters us from losing weight. Many of us consume more calories after exercising vigorously than without a workout. We also might take on “compensatory behaviors” after exercising, behaviors that actually slow down the metabolism. Examples are lying down to rest, being too tired to cook, eating whatever food is at hand, whether it’s processed or not. These compensatory behaviors cancel out the calories burned during the workout.

Simply increasing physical activity won’t help us lose significant amounts of weight. While exercise is hugely important for Active Wellness, how much and what we eat helps determine our waistlines much more. It therefore would make sense for public health policies to prioritize fighting overconsumption of low-quality processed foods while educating the masses and improving the food environment.

The National Weight Control Registry has conducted a study with 10,000 enrolled members. The study analyzed the traits, habits and behaviors of adults who have lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for a one-year minimum. The researchers behind the study found that people who have had success losing weight have a few things in common: They weigh themselves at least once a week; they restrict calorie intake; they omit high-fat foods and watch portion sizes; and they exercise regularly.2

Decreasing calorie intake is necessary to lose weight, even with an increase in exercise. Research suggests that a person may be able to lose weight with extremely high levels of exercise, but even then, losing more than 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) is unlikely.3

When it comes to decreasing calories, omitting sugar and high-fat foods is basic. However, did you know eliminating or decreasing alcohol intake may help with weight loss goals? Alcohol tends to be high-calorie in general. For example, a 12-ounce beer has about 153 calories and a glass of red wine has about 125 calories. Evidence suggests that in most cases it is not necessary to avoid alcohol completely to lose weight; however, it is helpful to limit drinking to two or three per week, and to stick with low-calorie selections, such as vodka or whiskey.4

In a nutshell, the most important thing a person can do to lose weight and maintain the loss is to limit calories in a sustainable way and exercise moderately. That means focusing on eating healthful yet delicious foods as in an Active Wellness lifestyle, not only as a temporary way to lose weight. To help ensure adequate intake of fruit and veggies, try supplementing with Kenzen® Total Vegan Drink Mix. By substituting some meals with Kenzen® Vital Balance Meal Replacement Mix, you may help achieve weight management goals, as it is formulated specifically to help burn fat, boost metabolism and build muscle!

1,2 https://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11518804/weight-loss-exercise-myth-burn-calories

3, 4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324836#not-addressing-the-diet

Do You Know Your Purpose?

The age-old question on the meaning of life may never be fully answered, but individually, each of us can find a purpose. Our purpose or where we find our meaning in life and living does not have to be earth-shattering. In other words, our life purpose doesn’t have to be heavy and burdensome. It can be in finding small pleasures. It can be in performing services and kindnesses, intentionally or whenever the opportunity arises. And, it is ongoing and changes as we inevitably transform through the various stages of life.

The search for meaning and purpose is tied to the quest for happiness. Every culture has its own path for this lifelong journey. The Japanese have clearly defined this journey as ikigai—a way to find purpose, joy and fulfillment in daily living.

Hector Garcia, co-author of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life, explains ikigai as “the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.”1 Ikigai is seen as the convergence of four primary elements: your passion, your mission, your vocation, and your profession. Put another way, the four elements are what you love, what the world needs, what you are good at, and what you can get paid for. When these four elements are in balance, life is believed to have meaning, purpose and joy.2

Okinawans have the highest number of centenarians in the world, and their interpretation of ikigai translates to “the happiness of always being busy.”3 Their meaning of life is discovered through daily actions and to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances—to choose one’s own way.4

It also is rooted in the principle of ichariba chode, a local expression that translates to “treat everyone like a brother, even if you’ve never met them before.”5 This behavior of kindness toward one and all is found also in the Golden Rule as quoted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Living with Active Wellness certainly is one facet of pursuing ikigai. Staying active keeps us busy and helps keep stress at bay. Eating healthy foods in moderation and getting restful sleep are behaviors that help us to live well. Caring for ourselves and being strong enough to care for others is living to serve. We may do these things unconsciously, but when we become conscious of what we do on a daily basis, purpose and meaning unfold more clearly.  

At Nikken, Humans Being More training teaches that meaning is often found in our mission in life, in what we do to develop ourselves and to serve others. Humans Being More posits that our purpose in life is to be and become the very best version of ourselves. Purpose and meaning is thus found through doing and being.

The next Humans Being More training is on January 30, 2021 at 10 AM Eastern to 2 PM  Eastern. Your host will be Barb Satterwhite and the online class will be led by Jeff Isom, Chancellor of Nikken University. Simply go to the Nikken shopping cart and look under Training and Development to register.

1, 2 https://medium.com/thrive-global/ikigai-the-japanese-secret-to-a-long-and-happy-life-might-just-help-you-live-a-more-fulfilling-9871d01992b7

3, 4, 5 https://showmedamani.com/2020/05/20/book-review-ikigai-the-japanese-secret-to-a-long-and-happy-life/

Food and Related Trends for 2021

Around the globe, Covid-19 has changed lifestyles in many ways. One of the most important aspects of an Active Wellness lifestyle is what we eat. We are choosing our foods with more attention to reading labels, understanding what ingredients are in different foods, where they come from and which foods to avoid in order to help maintain Active Wellness and in many instances, simply to survive. There is a new understanding of what and how to eat and drink in order to have a positive effect on stamina, strength and immunity to help fight off threats to optimal health.

The International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2020 Food & Health Survey findings show that 54% of all consumers, and 63% of those 50 and older, care more about the healthfulness of their food and beverage choices in 2020 than they did in 2010.1

The same study shows that active dieting is growing. From 36% of the population dieting in 2018 to 38% in 2019 and 43% in 2020, active dieting will undoubtedly continue to trend as so much weight gain—the reported poundage from Covid-19 from being homebound and less active—will motivate people to lose it.

Working at home is bound to impact our behaviors. Snacking (or grazing throughout the day) has become prevalent. The IFIC survey showed that 26% of U.S. consumers snack several times a day, and another third snack at least once daily, while 38% say they replace meals with snacks (usually lunch) at least occasionally.

As working at home continues into 2021, the forecast is for snacking to continue. In addition, aging baby boomers embrace the snacking trend—as people age, their metabolism slows and the natural response is to eat less at each sitting. Snacking becomes a preferred option. For opposite reasons, children tend to snack because their metabolisms are so fast that they require frequent food intake. While snacks once were linked heavily to junk food, that thinking has changed. Now snacks provide nutritional boosts in busy days.2

The pandemic has intensified the search for immunity-strengthening foods and supplements. A GlobalData survey in June 2020 found that 80% of global consumers are understandably concerned about COVID-19, and 23% admit they’ve stockpiled more vitamins and supplements recently.3

Immune function ties with muscle health/strength as one of the benefits that health-motivated eaters seek from food, as noted by the IFIC data. Much more attention will be given to foods that contain Vitamin C and supplements to boost immunity. These health seekers cited their food-centered objectives as being immune function 40%, weight management 62%, energy 57%, digestive 46% and heart health 44%.4

OnePOll conducted a survey and found 74% of respondents found cooking to be a successful coping mechanism to deal with being homebound.5 Cooking at home will involve the increase in the purchase of fresh and raw ingredients. The trend is to purchase more plant-based proteins such as dry beans, lentils, tofu and ingredients for homemade veggie burgers. The survey found that 28% of Americans eat more proteins from plant sources vs. 2019, 24% eat more plant-based dairy, and 17% eat more plant-based meat alternatives. One of the primary forecasts for the coming years is the growth of the plant-based meat industry.6

Other top trends for 2021 include convenient coffee formats, driven by homebound consumers seeking concentrates, steeped, single-serve bags and edible coffee snacks. Functional products that promote concentration and relaxation also are expected to grow as more brands leverage the benefits of L-Theanine, fruits, botanicals and other natural ingredients.7 Along the same lines, consumers see food products as healthier when they’re free from artificial ingredients, non-GMO, plant-based and have shorter ingredient lists.8

Eating is one of the basic ways we care for ourselves. Changes in food consumption and preparation as well as in other daily activities have us thinking about how we define wellness. Many of the trends mentioned above have been part of the Nikken Active Wellness philosophy for years—transparent labeling practices, organic ingredients, plant-based formulas, immunity-boosting dietary supplements, safe weight-management products and an emphasis on self-care and educating others on the benefits of the Global Wellness Community.

1 https://www.forbes.com/sites/phillempert/2020/10/19/food-trends-2021-staying-healthy-in-a-post-covid-19-world/?sh=64e64744485b

2 https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/13579-how-generations-affect-four-food-trends

3, 4, 5, 6  https://www.forbes.com/sites/phillempert/2020/10/19/food-trends-2021-staying-healthy-in-a-post-covid-19-world/?sh=64e64744485b

7 https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/17282-comfort-and-health-drive-2021-trends-forecast

8 https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/16471-covid-19s-impact-on-how-consumers-perceive-clean

Committing to Transformation and the Global Wellness Community

Now more than ever, Nikken is a company committed to a transformative purpose. This purpose is really a commitment to the growth of the Global Wellness Community by creating mass consciousness about self-reliance through Active Wellness, the need to live in harmony with nature, and how to take care of not only ourselves but also those in our respective societies.

Committing to transformation starts with each individual but with the community in mind. Although we make mental commitments, actual transformation begins in our hearts. In current times, this means having faith in the power of love and resilience, in staying calm during crisis after crisis, and in believing that we are bigger than what’s happening and that by helping each other, we will emerge stronger than before.

Transformation, like happiness, starts from the inside and moves outward as it expands. Before we can “think outside of the box” as we’ve been told so often, we have to start inside the box, sift through and retain the useful while getting rid of the useless, and then jump out and focus on the change we choose. Individual transformation is after all, a choice, not something that can be forced.

Corporate transformation is similar to individual transformation. Nikken has always been a pioneer in creating relevant products: alkaline water (PiMag® water), organic whole foods (Kenzen® nutritionals) and restful sleep (Kenko Sleep). We’ve never been “trendy” because our products are classic and based on real wellness needs. Because of this, sharing Nikken products has been a viable way to augment finances for decades. During these trying times, Nikken has proven to be a way to forge on when other sources of income might have been cut off. More people are ready to embrace the Global Wellness Community and what we offer.

The philosophy behind our product line has not changed, because its relevance remains. How Nikken has transformed is by staying at the forefront of emergent technologies, phasing out products that prove unwanted by consumers, and offering partnerships with those interested in actively expanding our Global Wellness Community. The social aspect of sharing Nikken products, technology and a self-motivated way to earn money may prove especially attractive to those who are comfortable being part of the gig economy.

By the same token, we are not pioneers in making face masks or household cleaners. Yet during such unusual times, we’re offering re-usable face masks, hand sanitizers and a non-toxic Surface Cleaner simply to help our growing Global Wellness Community cope with the environment. (link to https://nikkenactivewellness.com/2020/06/25/create-a-wellness-home/) It’s a way Nikken to show our ongoing commitment to the Global Wellness Community.

As we approach 2021, we hope the lessons of 2020 help us all to positively transform to be stronger and more confident members of the world.

Keep Your Family Safe One Meal at a Time

During this holiday season, many people have chosen not to have large gatherings, as advised by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Some have opted to cook large meals for their respective group members (families and friends that would otherwise come together) and either have the food picked up or delivered.

No matter when you’re preparing food or for whom, it’s prudent to follow the five keys to safer food as delineated by the World Health Organization (WHO): Keep clean, separate raw from cooked, cook thoroughly, keep food at safe temperatures and use safe water and raw materials.1

Keeping clean is straightforward. Anyone preparing food should have washed hands, cleaned with warm water and soap. All fruit and vegetables should be rinsed with the peel and rind on before cutting or paring.

Separating raw food from cooked food helps prevent cross-contamination, which is how bacteria can be spread to food and throughout the kitchen, leading to a food-borne illness.2

  • Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.

Cooking thoroughly is part of food safety—when cooked food reaches a high enough internal temperature, harmful bacteria that may cause illness are killed. You may choose to use a food thermometer with large roasts or turkeys; otherwise, the more cooked the meat, the safer you tend to be.

Keeping food at safe temperatures involves the defrosting, cooking and storing of leftovers. For example, cooking in a microwave oven can leave cold spots where bacteria can survive. Microwaved food needs to be checked to make sure it’s evenly cooked throughout. Reheating food in a microwave also requires vigilance: some plastic containers release toxic chemicals upon heating and should not be used to reheat food. If thawing food in a microwave, a microwave may leave warm spots where microorganisms can grow, so cook the food promptly after defrosting.3

Always use safe water and raw materials when preparing food. When in doubt about the water, boil it.4 Raw materials are what you choose to cook. Select fresh and wholesome foods as well as foods processed for safety, such as pasteurized milk. Do not use food beyond its expiry date, and throw away smashed, swollen or oxidized cans.

There are special precautions to take when preparing food for children, since food is a common choking hazard. Many children do not chew their food well so they try to swallow it whole. Foods that are the most dangerous are round and hard. Cut food into pieces no larger than one half-inch, so if your child swallows the food whole, it won’t get stuck in the throat.5

Enjoy the holiday season, practice Active Wellness and stay safe!

1, 3 https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/consumer/manual_keys.pdf

2, 4 https://www.fightbac.org/food-safety-basics/the-core-four-practices/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAk53-BRD0ARIsAJuNhptcVVp5Cl6O8F7H9AGehTXJFI6OYFqS-FEItRlzKPQ-9CAzg24yA-caAuw0EALw_wcB

5 https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/education-store/choking-hazard-safety

How Are You Celebrating the Holidays?

The year 2020 will go down in history as the beginning of a major change in lifestyles everywhere in the world. Even after Covid-19 is under control, the focus on health and wellness will remain as a higher priority than ever before. Aside from the fear and havoc that the virus has wreaked, it has also highlighted the importance of eating properly, maintaining an efficient immune system and sacrificing a modicum of individual comfort for the greater good.

The three major holidays that are celebrated in December in North America are Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. Each revolves around family and shared beliefs, gift-giving and community spirit. This year, with Thanksgiving acting almost like a rehearsal for December holidays, gatherings are likely to be small and limited. Many people will be completely alone—although this is true every year, there is more focus now on finding joy and gratitude no matter what our situation.

Kim Eisenberg, LCSW and lead therapist at a trauma recovery program, explains that creating a meaningful experience is possible even during disappointment. She says, “It is important to accept reality as it is…Once we’re able to do that, we can simultaneously start to look at the ways we can still find meaning, purpose, joy and connection. We are lifted up and out of our own pain and suffering when we do things that are helpful to others. So, even if you’re physically isolated, that might look like volunteering to teach a class or host a group online. Look for ways to reach out to others and support causes and communities that you care about to provide some offset to the loneliness and isolation.”1

Social distancing, sheltering in place, and the wearing of cloth face coverings are the new norm in a world with COVID-19—therefore, gifts that align with these “new norms” may be extremely thoughtful and useful. If recent economic changes have affected your friends and family, find out what types of things they may need (such as household essentials) and come up with gift ideas based on their most important needs.2

Online shopping, if not already your chosen form of purchasing, will rise to the top this year. No need to brave the crowds when a few clicks can have your gifts drop shipped to the recipients. This has been the Nikken way for many years, and during December, there’s the Holiday Catalog to help with gift ideas.

Nikken products help give comfort throughout the year in so many ways—from filling in nutritional gaps to promoting an active lifestyle tailored to individual needs. We are here to support you through our Global Wellness Community. Whatever you celebrate, please do it safely to keep you and your loved ones healthy. We wish you a December full of Active Wellness and joy.

1 https://www.sharp.com/health-news/the-possibility-of-happy-holidays-during-a-pandemic.cfm

2 https://www.solvhealth.com/blog/covid-takes-on-holiday-traditions