woman drinking water

Hydrogen Water Is The Latest Health Trend

These days it may seem like the water bottle is the new black. That, along with the yoga mat, may be the best ways to accessorize your athleisure. The water companies comply. They have answered the call by giving the consumer a variety of waters, stylishly packaged, claiming additional nutrients  capable of everything from relieving stress to improving brain power. However, skeptical though many of us are, every once in a while products do come along that live up to their claims, and it is important that we not let our judgmental attitudes prevent us from reaping the benefits. Hydrogen water is one of the latest to be making some miraculous health claims. Is there anything behind them? You be the judge.

Antioxidant and Brain Damage Prevention
Can hydrogen water help to fight oxidation that causes brain damage? Science says molecular hydrogen (H2) protects tissues and cells from oxidative damage by reducing the oxygen species ROS.

Studies on rats show hydrogen water can prevent the onset of Parkinson’s disease and has been shown to prevent cognitive impairment associated with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Another Parkinson’s related study on mice, showed the water capable of preventing the development and progression of neural degeneration associated with the condition, and a study on patients with Parkinson’s seems to support those findings. Hydrogen water was found to reduce neurotoxic damage with no adverse effects at high dosages.

Improves Mood Disorders
An additional rodent study, showed hydrogen water was able to restore the natural growth of brain cells in mice. Because antidepressants exhibit similar properties, there is speculations that hydrogen water may be able to improve depression and other mental disorders.

Anti Inflammatoy
A study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis showed that drinking .5L/day of hydrogen water for 4 week resulted in remission for all patients, with 20% becoming free of inflammatory symptoms.

Reduces Motor Deficits, Muscle Disease and Degeneration
An experiment on young athletes showed that drinking hydrogen water reduced the build up of lactic acid during strenuous exercise, resulting in a decrease of muscle fatigue.

In study on mice with the muscle disease Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), showed that hydrogen water prevented the gain of abnormal body mass and increased antioxidant production. This indicates a potential use for hydrogen water as a treatment for muscular dystrophy in patients with DMD.

Prevents Metabolic Syndrome
Hydrogen water may also be able to help those suffering with type 2 diabetes. A study done on diabetic mice found that hydrogen water reduced fatty lever and obesity and decreased insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels by stimulating metabolic energy. Yet another rat study, showed the water was able to prevent hardening of the arteries.

A study on patients with metabolic syndrome who drank 1.5 to 2L of hydrogen water daily for 8 weeks, showed the water led to an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and a decrease in cholesterol overall.

What do you think? Is hydrogen water worth investigating? Let us know if you’ve tried it, and what you think.

woman in pain and clutching her tummy area

Beware Vibrio Vulnificus

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….it’s not. If you still haven’t gotten over the movie “Jaws,” don’t. There’s another predator lurking in our waters, but it you probably won’t see or hear this one coming. Vibrio Vulnicus is a natural bacterium that lives in warm saltwater that can infect humans through skin wounds or consumption of undercooked shellfish, and while it’s not likely to be the subject of the next summer blockbuster, there are a few facts about it’s you may want to be apprised of it. Here are some reasons you should beware vibrio vulnificus.

It’s Not “Flesh Eating”
If you have heard about vibrio vulificus before, you may have heard it described as a “flesh-eating bacteria.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your thirst for drama, it’s not. The “flesh-eating” associations come from the possibility of the development of necrotizing fasciitis, which is a condition in which the bacteria destroy the tissue and skin covering the muscle. However, it is not a medical term and does not fit the definition of flesh eating, which is occasionally used to describe other forms of bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis.

Symptoms
The human-infecting bacteria, transmitted through skin wounds or undercooked shellfish consumption is known to cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea in those with healthy immune systems, however, those who are immunocompromised may run a far greater risk. Patients with weak immune systems may develop potentially fatal bloodstream infections including sepsis, skin lesions, fever, and chills. Exposure to bacteria through open wounds can lead to redness, swelling, and pain near the wounds. Symptoms will typically begin to show one to three days after exposure.

woman throwing up

Statistics
The occurrence of Vibrio vulnificus is relatively rare, although health experts say many incidences tend to go unreported. Most recent data from the CDC reports more than 900 cases between 1998 and 2006 in the Gulf Coast area, including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida.

Risk
Individuals who consume a lot of raw shellfish are at the highest risk of gastrointestinal problems caused by Vibrio vulnificus. The more serious and life-threatening bloodstream infections are likely to target those with compromised immune systems or chronic diseases such as HIV. However, most people who acquire infections will recover without any long-term effects, unless the infection contaminates the bloodstream. In such cases, there is a potential for skin ulcerations, gangrenes, and decomposition of bodily tissue, which may require amputation or skin grafting.

Prevention
The best way to prevent a Vibrio vulnificus infection is by avoiding uncooked shellfish and swimming at the beach with an open sore or cut. Doctors typically treat the infections with common antibiotics.

Have you had a run-in with V.Vulnificus? How did you handle it? Let us know what keeps you in or out of the water in the summer.

Woman showering

Shower Habits That Damage Your Skin

Spoiler alert! If you enjoy taking steamy hot showers, do not read this article. To many of us, a hot steamy shower is the high point of our day. The little cubicle, your own private haven, the steam, unknotting the stress in your muscles and opening the pores of your skin. The acoustics of the tile, providing just the right amount of echo to make the renditions of your favorite pop songs almost listenable. How can this be wrong?

Unfortunately, pleasurable as they may be, long hot showers can be damaging to your skin. While there are ways to mitigate the damage, it may involve making small sacrifices. Read on to find out which shower habits may be harming your skin, if you dare.

Water Temp is Too High
While the water temperature may offer short-term pleasure, the long term effects may be less enjoyable. Hot water can strip skin of its natural oils, drying it out, and causing possible discomfort. Those with eczema should be especially wary of very hot showers, as the skin barrier of eczema sufferers is already weak. If you really can’t live without the steam, try blasting the hot water, allowing steam to build and them decreasing the temperature of the water before it comes into contact with your skin.

Dirty towels

Dirty Towels
Even though it may seem that we emerge from the shower clean and bacteria free, this is not the case. Dead skin cells transfer to towels and can result in growth of bacteria, and even mold. Wash towels regularly and try and leave them in a dry, well-lit environment to cut down on bacterial growth.

Harsh Soap
Although antibacterial soaps are great for stripping pores of dirt and bacteria, it may also strip skin of natural oils and good bacteria that helps skin to maintain a balanced pH level. While antibacterial soaps may work well on your hands, they are not recommended for all over cleansing. Also, you may want to swap the bar soap for a moisturizing, natural body wash. Bar soaps can accumulate bacteria from sitting in a wet, dimly lit shower.

Showering Without Moisturizer
Showers provide the best opportunity for moisturizing, and one that you should definitely take advantage of. Warm water opens the pores, allowing water to hydrate skin and allowing the moisturizer to lock the hydration in. For optimal results, use a soap that contains moisturizing ingredients in addition to your regular lotion.

Woman scrubbing

Overscrubbing
Scrubbing should not be confused with exfoliation. Roughly textured bathing accessories, such as shower brushes and loofahs, can break healthy skin cells, leaving behind raw patches on your skin. These tools also collect bacteria, which, when combined with vulnerable skin, is a recipe for damage. Use mild loofahs and try to keep exfoliation down to once or twice a week.

Hard Water
Unfortunately, the water most of us shower with is “hard.” This means it has chemicals and mineral to purify it. While this makes it safe for showering, it may not be the best thing for our skin, and may clog pores and strip skin of natural oil. However, you can avoid this by purchasing a shower head with a water filter to keep the hard stuff out.

What do you think? Is good skin worth the sacrifice? What price is too much for a great shower? Let us know!

Woman drinking a detox smoothie

Feel Better With A Weekend Detox

  Do you dream in chocolate?  Do you leave a basket of fruit on your table when the neighbors come and quickly swap it for the donut box when they go?  Do you have a secret stash of Snickers bars under your bed?  If this describes you, you may be a good candidate for a weekend detox.  Now let’s get this straight.  A weekend detox is not just for the nutritionally deprived.  It is a more like going on a two-day health bender in which your diet and health habits are regulated with the goal of cleansing your system, restoring blood pressure, and getting your digestion and blood sugar back on track.  Sound like a nutty adventure?  Let’s take a closer look.

Why the Weekend?
One thing you should keep in mind is that there is a reason for it being called a weekend detox.  Firstly,  limiting your food intake in this way is definitely not the best way to stay focused in the office and should only be done for a short time period.  Also, you need time to prepare your foods and might end up having to use the bathroom excessively because of the water, tea, and juices that constitute a good portion of most diets. Thus, a leisurely day with some degree of privacy may be best.

The Nutritional Component
The detox menu varies depending on the plan you follow.  The most severe ones are limited to system flushing liquids and smoothies, but more of them incorporate a restricted list of foods.  Here are the general rules of detox eating.

Antioxidants
Eating brightly colored fruits and veggies, whole grains and beans get rid of harmful substances and make them water soluble, so your system can flush them more easily.  Think spinach, kale, and cranberries.

Eat foods with Glutathione
What’s that?  Glutathione is an antioxidant that is produced by your own body.  It can be found in garlic, onions, eggs and foods rich in sulfuric compounds.  It is useful in removing toxins, including mercury and arsenic, from the body.

Drink water and tea
There is no denying that elimination is one of the primary goals of detox.  Water helps you with Number 1, Number 2, and perspiration.  While detoxing, try to drink 8-12 glasses of water or decaffeinated tea.

You may also want to add some  detox teas as  a bonus. These generally contain dandelion which supports digestion and liver function, licorice which expels mucus, and ginger, which stimulates circulation and gets rid of toxins.  Licorice tea, in particular, contains a compound that is 50 times sweeter than sugar, which may help to control a sweet tooth.

Eat Clean
Remember, your goal is to eliminate food that contain the toxins you are trying to eliminate.  Avoid processed goods including fast food, fried food, caffeine, dairy, alcohol, red meat, sugar and white flour.

Parting Notes
Avoid eating after 7 PM and get eight hours of sleep.  This will kick-start your system and help develop lasting healthy habits, or at least, help you get reacquainted with your fruit basket.

Baked eggplant with tomato and garlic

Clean Eating Tips

One interesting approach to nutrition that’s rising in popularity recently is called simply “clean eating.” And certainly, if it could help keep you healthy both before and after your wedding day, it’s worth a try, right? Well, we’re here to examine and evaluate this trend to give you the information you need to make healthy choices, and to decide if clean eating is worth pursuing.

But What Is it, Exactly?
Of course, before we can go any further, we need to define what clean eating actually is. In essence, the basic tenets of clean eating are eating five to six times a day (three meals and two to three small snacks), choose organic, clean foods whenever possible, and drink at least two liters of water a day. There are other details, like including lean protein, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and a complex carbohydrate in every meal, but the three pillars of eating five-six times a day, choosing organic food, and drinking two liters of water each day are the basis of this idea. This sounds great in theory, but let’s examine it piece by piece to be sure.

Woman drinking water

Two Liters of Water
This is one realm in which clean eating is a little closer to being on-point, although of course, the truth is more complicated. How much water you should drink actually depends on your weight, location, and activity level. The rule of thumb is that you need between half an ounce and a whole ounce of water per pound you weight, every day. For example, a 150-pound person should drink between 75-150 ounces of water per day. The hotter and more arid your climate, the closer to the upper end of the range you’ll be. Likewise, the more exercise you get, the closer to the top you’ll be.

Eating Five to Six Times a Day
The idea here is that eating more often and in smaller portions is both better for weight loss and healthier in general because you’re spreading out calorie intake throughout the day and keeping your metabolism running smoothly. Sadly, the science does not agree here. Studies actually indicate there is no significant impact whatsoever to the frequency of eating, and that, in fact, eating more often makes you want to eat more.

Avocado sandwich

Organic Foods
Similarly, the need for the foods to be organic (and, by extension, GMO-free) in clean eating is not borne out by actual scientific knowledge. GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are largely a positive development, and allow crops to be fortified with necessary nutrients, more reliably protected from diseases, and be produced more cheaply. On the other hand, organic growing is volatile and has a huge chance of failure or of infested crops, because of the restrictions on pesticide use that organic growing entails. In short, while there are some legitimate concerns with the agricultural industry, organic food is not the answer and generally has no benefit to your health.

All that said, this one is pretty close to the mark. The majority of the other tenets of clean eating are highly questionable, though. Just eat a healthy, varied diet, with proteins, simple and complex carbohydrates, fruits, and lots of leafy greens and other vegetables, and you should be fine.

Woman in a park

One a Day for Health

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We have all heard the phrase, and we know it’s about more than just apples! Making healthy choices every day can be hard, but consistently doing things each day to make healthy habits is the best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. There are all kinds of little things you can do each day to help you lead a healthier lifestyle!

Woman drinking water

Drink Water!
Whether you think 8 cups, a gallon, or some other amount is best, drinking one glass of water in the morning is a perfectly simple way to get ahead for the day. Whatever your goal is, starting your day with one glass of water down is going to make it so much easy to reach it!

Start Your Day with Green Tea
Green tea has caffeine, so it is a great choice for a morning pick-me-up. Unlike coffee, green tea can actually help you stay hydrated, as well as give you a boost of energy. Green tea also jump starts your metabolism and is rich in antioxidants- who wouldn’t want to add this stuff in their routine?

Woman exercising

Do Something Active for At Least 30 Minutes
This can be anything! Even going for a short walk can boost your energy and metabolism. Doing yoga, going for a bike ride, exploring your neighborhood, or taking a spin class are also great ways to be more active every day. Mix it up and try new things so you stay motivated and excited to get your 30 minutes (or more) of activity every day!

Replace One Unhealthy Food with a Healthy One
Dieting is hard. It’s certainly not fun to always be thinking about what you eat, more specifically what you can’t eat. A simple way to ease into making better diet choices is to simply replace one unhealthy food with something more nutritious each day, and working up from there if you choose. This could be as simple as choosing a good old-fashioned coffee instead of a sugary coffee drink, or skipping the pop tart and opting for a smoothie in the morning. This method keeps dieting from getting overwhelming and breaks it down to each meal or snack. Creating good habits that are satisfying and manageable is really the only way to turn a diet into a lifestyle change.

Woman drinking wine

Drink a Glass of Wine!
This one is our favorite. It is no secret now, after new studies have shown all of the possible benefits of resveratrol, that drinking wine can actually be healthy. This antioxidant just so happens to be found in the skins of red grapes, so when we drink wine, we are getting a healthy dose of resveratrol, which can improve heart health, protect your cells from damaging free radicals, and prevent muscle fatigue!

Making an effort to add healthy habits to your daily routine can work wonders when it comes to improving your overall health. The best part is, as you can tell by this list, not every healthy habit is going to be difficult or unpleasant! Some are downright fun (thank you resveratrol)! So don’t ditch the apples, but there are tons of other little things you can do each day for your health!