Plogging for Health and the Environment

The Swedes invented it and the rest of the world is catching on. The term “plogging” is coined from the English word “jogging” and “plocka upp,” a Swedish term that means “picking up.” Plogging is the Swedish fitness trend that combines jogging while picking up trash. Besides plogging, there are variations of activity derived from it, such as “taking a palk” (plogging walk) or a “pike” (plogging hike). No matter which activity you choose, the idea is that you do some kind of outdoor exercise while picking up litter or trash along the way.

According to the Swedish-based fitness app Lifesum, which makes it possible for users to track plogging activity, a half-hour of jogging plus picking up trash will burn 288 calories for the average person, compared with 235 burned by jogging alone. A brisk walk will expend about 120 calories.1

It’s taken a few years to catch on outside of Sweden, but plogging is making waves in the fitness world right now. As more people become aware of the need to contribute personally to the well-being of the environment, plogging is taking off because it combines attention to fitness with supporting a great cause.

As Mike Rosen, spokesman for Keep America Beautiful, explains, “I don’t think plogging replaces jogging as a daily activity. If you turn your jog into a plog once a week or once a month, or turn your walk into a palk or your hike into pike, you’ll get personal satisfaction. You’ll have an endorphin high from running, and you’ll know you’re helping your community.”2

Swedish native Erik Ahlström, who created the website http://www.plogga.se,3 says that all you need for plogging is a pair of gloves and a recyclable bag. He summarizes the benefits of plogging in four major areas:

  1. Health and exercise: According to the Karolinska Institutet, the risk of depression, obesity, and cancer among people who are seated a lot and are physically inactive doubles for both adults and children. Plogging helps to get the body moving while adding some extra moves like squatting or bending when picking up trash.
  2. Combat Plastic Pollution: The litter that nobody bothers to pick up will eventually end up in rivers and oceans. Plogging helps decrease the litter from ending up in waterways and killing our marine life.
  3. Save Wildlife: When we litter, wildlife suffers. For example, turtles and other marine mammals get entangled in plastic bags or plastic cutlery. Seabirds also get trapped by our plastic waste.
  4. Reduced Social Costs: In 2015, the costs of cleaning public spaces from litter decreased by SEK 2 billion in Sweden. Collective efforts like plogging that help keep public spaces clean indirectly save the city’s cost.

Approximately 2,000,000 people are plogging each and every day worldwide.4 Jogging while picking up litter has become a multitasking phenomenon that will work out the entire body while edifying the community. It’s an ingenious way to boost not only our cardiovascular health but also the health of our planet.

You still have a few days to purchase the special “Heart of Nikken” packs available through February 28. To promote cardiovascular health, each pack contains Kenzen® Bergisterol®, Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder and Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA — plus one piece of magnetic jewelry, exclusive to Nikken. You have your choice of the pack with a silver Kenko Perfect Link II necklace, a gold tone Kenko Perfect Link II necklace or a Kenko Heart Set.

1,2 https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/02/23/plogging-is-the-swedish-fitness-craze-for-people-who-want-to-save-the-planet-its-making-its-way-to-the-u-s/

3 https://waste4change.com/blog/plogging-the-new-swedish-trend-of-running-while-picking-up-trash/

4 https://apple.news/Av_sOMLGbRbC-Nu5h_7Q3Gg

Vegetarian Sources of Omega Fatty Acids

Research and studies continue to support the importance of incorporating omega fatty acids into the diet to maintain neurological and cardiovascular health. The most common source of omega fatty acids is from various types of fish, so much so that omegas are often referred to as “fish oil.” What if your diet does not allow for fish or you are simply concerned with the high mercury content in some fish?

The good news is that there are various sources of plant-derived omega fatty acids. When we eat fats in our foods, our bodies break them back down into fatty acids. Fatty acids are the building blocks of our cell membranes, and are important for energy, energy storage, and for every system of the body to function. Because of this, the omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids play a part in our skin health, respiratory system, circulatory system, organs, and especially in our brains. In addition, they help our bodies absorb vitamins and nutrients from food. 

Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids are all unsaturated fats. Each of the omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids offers our bodies benefits. Omega 3s and omega 6s are essential fatty acids, known as essential because the body cannot produce them and they therefore need to be incorporated into our daily diets. On the other hand, omega 9s are non-essential fats because our bodies are able to produce them. We can still benefit from dietary sources like olive oil and avocados for omega 9s.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)—makes up about 8% of our brains by weight, and over 90% of the omega 3s in the brain are DHA. Because of this, DHA is important for brain development and healthy brain functioning.1 The inclusion of plentiful DHA in the diet improves learning ability, whereas deficiencies of DHA are associated with deficits in learning. DHA is taken up by the brain in preference to other fatty acids.2

Seaweed and algae are important sources of omega 3 for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as they are one of the few plant groups that contain DHA and the omegas. Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of ALA omega 3 fatty acids. They are also high in fiber and protein.3 Hemp seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, edamame (young or green soybeans) and kidney beans are all sources of vegetarian omega fatty acids.

Regardless of your reasons for choosing plant-based omegas, Nikken makes it easy for you. Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA is 100 percent vegetarian and contains all three omegas, 3, 6 and 9. The proprietary formula of cranberry seed oil, flaxseed oil and red algae comes from renewable sources and the flaxseed oil in particular, is cold pressed to avoid heat. (Heat tends to deteriorate the beneficial effects of omega 3 fatty acids.)

Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA is one of the Active Wellness nutritional supplements found in the special “Heart of Nikken” packs available through February 28. Each pack contains Kenzen® Bergisterol®, Kenzen® Super Ciaga® powder and Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA — plus one piece of magnetic jewelry, exclusive to Nikken. You have your choice of the pack with a silver Kenko Perfect Link II necklace, a gold tone Kenko Perfect Link II necklace or a Kenko Heart Set.

1 https://mindovermunch.com/blog/omega-3-6-9-fatty-acids/

2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10479465/#:~:text=Docosahexaenoic%20acid%20(DHA)%20is%20essential,associated%20with%20deficits%20in%20learning.

3https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323144#:~:text=Seaweed%2C%20nori%2C%20spirulina%2C%20and,that%20contain%20DHA%20and%20EPA.

What’s the Big Deal with Berries?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Take Your Eyes for Granted

Eye health is important and those with good sight often take it for granted. Even if your eyes feel healthy, you could have a problem and not know it. That’s because many eye diseases don’t have any symptoms or warning signs. Getting older increases the risk of some eye diseases and a dilated eye exam is the only way to check for them early on, when they’re easier to treat. You might also have a higher risk of some eye diseases if you are overweight or obese, or have a family history of eye disease.1

People often believe that failing eyesight is an inevitable result of aging or eye strain. In truth, a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), published in 2001, found that certain nutrients — zinc, copper, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene — may reduce the risk of age-related decline in eye health by 25 percent.a2 This study was updated in 2013 to test different versions of the original formula. The variations included omega-3 fatty acids, zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene; the study found that certain combinations may work better than others. Further studies agree that omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA), copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin are vital for eye health.

The AREDS reports support 10 nutrient-rich foods.

  1. Fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Choose Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA for a vegan option.
  2. Nuts and legumes are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, plus high in vitamin E, which can protect the age from damage.
  3. Seeds are high in omega-3s and rich in vitamin E.
  4. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is recommended to fight age-related eye damage. Kenzen Mega Daily 4® is a great source of vitamin C.
  5. Leafy green vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin as well as vitamin C—all beneficial for optimal eye health.
  6. Carrots are rich in vitamin A and beta carotene. Vitamin A plays an essential role in vision and is a component of rhodospin, a protein that helps the retina absorb light.3
  7. Sweet potatoes are similar to carrots in being filled with beta carotene. They’re also a good source of vitamin E. Kenzen Mega Daily 4® provides more than the daily requirements for both!
  8. Beef is rich in zinc, which has been linked to better long-term eye health. Zinc can help delay age-related sight loss and macular degeneration. The eye itself contains high levels of zinc, particularly in the retina and the vascular tissue surrounding it.4 Chicken breast and pork loin also contain zinc but at lower levels than beef. Kenzen Mega Daily 4® for the win again, as a healthy source of zinc!
  9. Eggs are great sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help reduce the risk of age-related sight loss. Eggs are also good sources of vitamins C, E and zinc.
  10. Water is essential to eye health as it helps prevent dehydration, which in turn helps reduce the symptoms of dry eyes. Carry an eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle with you everywhere and drink up!

Eye health is crucial to Active Wellness. Kenzen Mega Daily 4® is formulated with a variety of foods that are organically grown in regions where the soils are not depleted by decades of commercial farming. MegaDaily4This ensures that more of the natural, whole-food nutrients are present and correspond more closely to the requirements of the human body than conventional vitamins. For overall health and to help maintain clear vision, Mega Daily 4® is a force to be reckoned with!

 

 

 

1 https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/healthy-vision/keep-your-eyes-healthy

2, 3, 4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321226.php

Do You Have Itchy Skin and Stiff Joints?

At Nikken, we promote Active Wellness as a way of living. It’s a proactive rather than reactive approach to life. That means taking measures to maintain health and doing the best to prevent bodily and mental breakdown. Ironically, as we make huge advances in technology, we continue to be confronted with challenges that often have no sure-fire solutions. This is the case with psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease that affects more than 125 million people worldwide.1

No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but since August is Psoriasis Awareness Month, it is a good time to learn about it, whether we suffer from outbreaks of scaly skin or not. Researchers believe psoriasis can be triggered by cuts, scrapes or surgery, as well as emotional stress, infections, and even certain medications, such as beta-blockers that control blood pressure and antimalarial drugs.2 This skin disorder causes skin cells to multiply 10 times faster than normal, building into bumpy red patches with white scales.3 It’s not contagious but sometimes occurs with members of the same family.

Although not curable, certain precautions can be taken to help prevent flare-ups:

  • Stay warm in cold, dry weather. Researchers have shown that psoriasis occurs more often in wintry weather, so limiting the skin’s exposure to the cold is a proactive measure.
  • Keep skin moisturized. Dry skin is a trigger and can make scaling more severe. A humidifier may be helpful, especially in winter months. Alternatively, use True Elements® Marine Organic Skin Care to cleanse, tone and hydrate skin year round.
  • Get short, regular bursts of sunlight, because ultraviolet radiation has immunosuppressive effects. UV light therapy is a known treatment option for psoriasis.
  • Wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Skin damage of any kind is a trigger for flareups.
  • Make sure to get enough Vitamin D, since a deficiency is common in people with psoriasis.
  • Take extra care when cutting nails or shaving and avoid scratching insect bites. Wear gloves when gardening and be careful when preparing food with knives.
  • Reduce stress. Reports suggest that stress may trigger flare-ups in 68% of adults with psoriaris.4 Practice yoga and meditation to ease stress.
  • Eat a whole food diet that includes nuts and seeds, since they contain good fats, which may help improve skin health. Avoid food that is known to be inflammatory, especially processed carbohydrates and anything with lots of added sugar.
  • Take Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA. Research suggests that omega fatty acids may improve various signs and symptoms of psoriasis.5 Since Omega Green + DHA is made with flaxseed oil, cranberry seed oil and red algae, it comes from sustainable resources that are kosher, vegan certified and gluten-free. OmegaDHANew_317x310With all three types of omega fatty acids formulated in optimal proportions (3, 6, 9), Kenzen® Omega Green + DHA is designed for heart health, an added benefit, since the risk of heart disease rises for those suffering from psoriasis.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration is found among people with psoriasis, especially females 60 years of age and older.7 Keep a PiMag® Waterfall  in your kitchen for cooking purposes as well as drinking, and take a PiMag® Sport Bottle with you everywhere.
  • Take Kenzen® Joint. Although symptoms of psoriasis depend on the specific type, sufferers commonly experience some combination of itchy skin, burning or sore skin, scaly skin and swollen or stiff joints. Kenzen® Joint nutritionally supports collagen, bone and connective tissue repair with a high concentration of cetyl myristoleate combined with glucosamine, methylsulfonylmethane and compounds from the boswellia plant.
  • Use CM Complex Cream  for its naturally soothing and cooling effects on achy joints. In addition to cetyl myristoleate, this topical formulation includes aloe, menthol and peppermint, which are derived from plants and offer a natural alternative to chemical ointments.

All the precautions mentioned above may help those trying to prevent psoriasis flare-ups. They also are part of the Active Wellness approach to wellbeing for anyone seeking to maintain or improve health—physically and mentally.

 

1, 7 https://www.philips.co.uk/c-e/challenge-psoriasis/psoriasis-stop/life/staying-well-hydrated-with-psoriasis.html

2, 3 https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/psoriasis/understanding-psoriasis-basics#1

4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324185.php

5, 7 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322302.php

 

No Fishy Business: Go Organic

The Center for Food Safety emailed me an alert this week and I thought I would share excerpts of its important message:

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 4.03.02 PM“A recent study (printed in The Journal of American Medical Association and reported in The New York Times) that followed 70,000 adults for five years, most of them women, found that the most frequent consumers of organic food had 25 percent fewer cancers over the course of their lives than those who never ate organic food. This latest study supports what we at Center for Food Safety (CFS) have been advocating all along: choosing organic foods isn’t a lifestyle, but a lifesaver. We will continue to work to protect organics, ban pesticides affecting our health and farmworkers, and to increase access so that everyone can enjoy the benefits that come from eating organic foods. We know that pesticide residues are detected four times more often in conventional food than they are in organic food. And we know that eating organic foods lowers the risk of impairment in the physical and mental development of children.”1

The executive leadership at Nikken is on the same page as the Center for Food Safety. For example, the HiOmega® flaxseed oil powder found in our proprietary blend in Kenzen Omega Green + DHA is cold pressed, all-natural and non-GMO.2 As such, each harvest of organic flaxseeds produces variations in color and smell, dependent upon the season and soil conditions. A recent batch has produced a “vinegary” odor. It is the highly beneficial linoleic acid within the flaxseed oil that “produces a slightly different distribution of odorants.”3 Our manufacturers requested replacing the flaxseed oil with a non-organic seed in order to rid the product of its odor. (Non-organic seeds are highly processed and therefore have much fewer beneficial properties left.) The Nikken response? Keep the all-natural organic flaxseed for optimal Active Wellness.

Nikken is committed to using high-quality ingredients even if they are much more expensive. Admittedly, some of you may find the vinegary smell unpleasant. However, it’s still better than the fishy smell that comes from fish oil. And, flaxseeds contain more polyphenols than vegetables like olives and blueberries, an added bonus. Fish oil does not contain any polyphenols.

Kenzen Omega Green + DHA is 100 percent vegetarian and contains all three important omega fatty acids: 3, 6 and 9. The proprietary formula of cranberry seed oil, flaxseed oil and red algae comes from renewable sources and the flaxseed oil in particular, is cold pressed to avoid heat. (Heat tends to deteriorate the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids.) Omega fatty acids help support healthy heart, brain nerve and eye function. They help maintain cardiovascular health and help support digestive health and hormone balance as well as the cellular membranes in the skin, heart and brain. Omega fattyacids also are believed to help reduce periodic sleeplessness and carbohydrate cravings.*

*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. office@centerforfoodsafety.org.
  2. http://www.polarfoods.com/
  3. https://www.reddit.com/r/AskScienceDiscussion/comments/4nafe8/why_does_flax_seed_oil_smell_fishy_like_seaweed/