Healthy woman jogging outdoors

Immune System and Metabolism Boosters

“If you don’t have your health, you’ve got nothing!” We’ve all heard this saying, or something similar to it, at some point in our lives. And it’s very true. If we’re not healthy, being happy or even functional can be extremely difficult. That’s why it’s so important to take care of both our metabolisms and our immune systems. But being healthy is not that difficult if you follow these strategies that will ensure a healthier you.

Our immune system does a great job of fighting disease causing microorganisms. But it’s not always successful. So how can you intervene to make your immune system stronger? Although there is a lot that researchers still have not discovered about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response, healthy living strategies are a good way to give your immune system the upper hand. Here are some recommended lines of defense as offered by Harvard Medical School.

Don’t Smoke
Eat a healthy diet high in fruits vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats. Deficiencies of zinc, selium, iron, copper, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C and E can lead to lowered immunity. If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs, you may want to start taking a multivitamin and mineral supplements.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Exercise regularly. Exercise can promote good circulation which allows cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Control Blood Pressure
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Get Regular Medical Checkups and Screenings
Metabolism has been defined as “all of the chemical reactions that take place in a living organism every day to keep it alive”. It is the process of converting calories into usable energy in the body. A strong metabolism is tied to a more svelte body and also benefits the immune system, lowers chances of disease, contributes to having more energy, brain functionality, longevity and much more. There are many signs that you may be in need of a boost to your metabolism including ongoing fatigue, cold body temperature, irregular periods, thinning hair, and more.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT)
This is a form of exercise that features intervals that may vary from all out effort to short period of rest. It is known to boost the metabolism better than steady workouts.

Lift Weights
This builds lean muscle mass which naturally uses more calories than body fat does.

Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Inflammatory foods can slow down the digestive processes. These include sugary drinks, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and low-quality dairy and animal products. Add metabolism power foods which help the body use and expend energy better. These include high protein snacks, green tea, garlic, spicy foods and apple cider vinegar.

Get Adequate Sleep
We don’t even need to stress how important sleep is in your everyday life!

Frankincense oil on stone table

Benefits of Frankincense

Essential oils have been used for thousands of years and are known for their therapeutic and healing properties. Frankincense is a common essential oil that offers a variety of health benefits. It can help fight common stress and anxiety, reduce pain and inflammation, boost the immune system, and even fight cancer. Read on to find out the health benefits of frankincense and how you can take advantage of them.

Stress Relief
Frankincense immediately brings on feelings of peace, relaxation and satisfaction. By adding a few drops to a hot bath, you can take advantage of these calming sensations. You might also want to add frankincense to a diffuser or vaporizer to fill your home with this peaceful feeling at all times.

Household Cleaner
Frankincense is an antiseptic meaning it will help eliminate bacteria and viruses from your home and clean indoor spaces. The plant can be burned to help disinfect an area and work as a natural deodorizer.

Natural Hygiene
Because frankincense has antiseptic properties, its  a great addition to any oral hygiene regimen. It can help prevent tooth decay, fight bad breath, cavities and oral infections. You can even make your own toothpaste out of it by mixing it with baking soda.

Anti-Aging
Frankincense is a powerful astringent so it helps protect skin cells. It can help reduce acne blemishes, shrink large pores, diminish the appearance of wrinkles and help lift and tighten skin. It can be used on jowls, under eyes or even the abdomen area. For best results, mix 6 drops of the oil to one ounce of unscented oil and apply directly to the skin. Be sure to test on a small patch of skin before use to ensure it does not cause allergic reactions.

Indigestion
If you have digestive issues including gas, constipation, irritable bowl syndrome, PMS, or cramps, frankincense can help. It speed up the digestion of food. Add 1-2 drops of the oil to 8 ounces of water or a tablespoon of honey and ingest orally, making sure it is 100% pure oil, not a fragrance or perfume oil.

Scars, Wounds, and Stretch Marks
Frankincense can help with the healing wounds and decrease the appearance of scars as well as reducing the appearance of acne blemishes, stretch marks, eczema and even surgical wounds. Mix 2-3 drops with an unscented base of lotion and apply directly to the skin.

Colds 
Frankincense can help relieve coughs associated with a respiratory infection. It helps eliminate phlegm from the lungs and acts as an anti-inflammatory in nasal passages making breathing easier. Add a few drops to a cloth and inhale for maximum effectiveness.

Pain and Inflammation
Frankincense can also improve circulation and lower joint and muscle pain in conditions like arthritis. You can simply massage the oil into effected areas or diffuse it in your home. You may also want to add a drop of oil to steaming water and soak a towel in it. Place towel over your body and face to decrease muscle aches.

Vials of botanical oils surrounded by flowers

Oils To Have In Every Medicine Cabinet

While many of deal with medicines that may cause harmful side effects, others realize that there are safe, affordable products which are as accessible as our nearest grocery store. These are essential oils, many of which have remarkable benefits that can help us with physical and mental ailments. Read on to find out which essential oils no medicine cabinet should be without.

Cedar Oil
Its rich woody scent can be emotionally grounding and help relieve nervous tension. When applied directly to skin or in a bath, it can reduce the skin peeling and infection associated with eczema. When added to shampoo, conditioner or rubbed into scalp, it can increase circulation in the hair follicles to reduce hair loss and fight dandruff.

Frankincense
When inhaled it reduces heart rate and high blood pressure, as well as anxiety and depression. It has immune enhancing abilities which may help destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses, and even cancers. It helps strengthen skin, improving its tone, elasticity and defends against bacteria and blemishes.

Tea Tree Oil
Mix with raw honey to make a homemade, gentle acne face wash. It’s considered to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide without the associated negative side effects. It is beneficial to the scalp as it soothes dry flaking skin and can eliminate dandruff. Tea tree oil’s ability to kill off bacteria makes it effective in oral health. Mix tea tree oil with coconut oil and baking soda for an amazing homemade toothpaste.

Orange Oil
Limonene, a monocyclic monoterpene that’s present in orange peel oil is a defender against oxidative stress, and even has cancer fighting abilities since monoterpenes have been shown to be effective against tumor growth. When diluted, orange oil makes a great cleaner. Use it to clean countertops and appliances without chemicals. It leaves behind a great citrusy smell. Adding orange oil to a shower wash or perfume, or inhaling it directly can lift your mood and bring on relaxation.

Lemon Grass Oil
Lemon grass oil has a strong citrus scent that is proven effective for headaches, muscle pain, and stress. It can also be used as a skin toner as it helps to close open pores. When applied to sweaty feet, it can reduce excessive perspiration.

Fennel Oil
Fennel oil has estrogen-like compounds which can have a balancing effect on hormones. It’s helpful for women suffering during menopause, and can also help women with low estrogen levels. Fennel oil is also great for treating cramps, nausea, and indigestion. Use fennel oil orally for fighting gum disease and freshening breath.

Basil Oil
Basil oil has antiviral properties and is a great expectorant for congested nasal passages when added to steaming water. Basil oil is also effective at relieving pain as it is an antispasmodic.

Bergamot Oil
Bergamot oil is considered a powerful antidepressant known for its cheering properties. When diluted in alcohol, bergamot oil is great for cold sores, chicken pox and shingles as it inhibits viral activity.

Woman making a smoothie

Four Components of a Healthy Lifestyle

The word “healthy” gets tossed around a lot, and carries connotations of salads, treadmills, and so-called “health foods” or “superfoods” (many of which are called such by rather spurious allegations). But what does it actually mean?

Merriam Webster defines the word “healthy” as “good for your health,” but that’s also pretty vague. What’s generally meant in common parlance when something is called “healthy” is that it will be conducive to your body functioning efficiently and as it was meant to. Things that are healthy are part of a greater picture of being healthy, which means keeping your body running smoothly with few problems or complications, and in the long term, means keeping your body going for a long, happy life.

But how to accomplish this? There’s so much information, misinformation, conflicting information, good information, bad information, spurious information, questionable but maybe good information…you get the idea. There are a lot of ideas out there on what is and isn’t healthy, but rest easy, because it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. In fact, there are four habits in particular that, if cultivated, will have you living and feeling healthy, and they’re not that hard.

Woman smoking

First, Don’t Smoke
Or, if you’re currently a smoker, quit. Seriously, you need to quit. Don’t just move to e-cigarettes, stop consuming anything with nicotine in it entirely (using an e-cigarette to vape nicotine-free flavored water is okay). Cigarettes are of course the worst offender because you get awful things like tar and fiberglass in your lungs in addition to nicotine, but even though e-cigarettes dispose of those additives, nicotine is still really harmful to your health. If you want to live a long, healthy life without serious complications, and to have nice skin, you need to work on quitting. We know it’s hard, but you can do it.

Next, Eat Well
An ideal and healthful diet includes lots of dark, leafy greens, some fruits, a good source of protein, but not too much, never too much meat (a little is okay), and plenty of fiber, among other things. A daily multivitamin is also recommended. Minimize junk foods high in saturated fats, and avoid trans fats like the plague, except as a VERY occasional treat, at most. Limit sugar consumption and don’t overdo it on caffeine (some caffeine is okay, but don’t exceed about 400 mg, which translates to 3-5 cups of coffee a day, depending on the variety).

Woman exercising

Third, Exercise Moderately
You don’t want to overdo it, as that can have its own negative repercussions, but a vigorous cardiovascular activity that raises your heart rate substantially for around a half-hour a day is ideal. Strength training is fine (but be careful!) if you want to, but not necessary for good health.

Finally, Keep Your Body Fat Percentage in Check
This is one to talk to your doctor about to get more specifics and advice. Generally, if you’re following the above three rules, you’re probably fine, but it’s good to check just to be sure. Body fat percentage is a much more reliable measure of overall physical health than BMI, because its measures how much of your body is fat, as opposed to a highly fallible ratio of height to weight. If your BMI is too high or too low, ask your doctor about ways to get it back on track.

Woman meditating outdoors

Meditate to Improve Your Game

For some, meditation seems far-fetched and not a smart way to spend free time throughout one’s day. But research shows that meditation is a great way to spiritually and emotionally complete certain areas in life that one might feel are lacking. Once someone tries meditation, they instantly become aware of all the benefits that it offers, including the following.

Starts Day Off On the Right Foot
Spending just five minutes meditating each morning before beginning the day can have a lasting and positive effect that lasts the entire day. By mentally preparing for what activities and commitments are planned and increasing awareness for what may happen unexpectedly, it becomes easier to focus on the good and avoid the bad.

Promotes Positivity
Meditation allows someone uninterrupted time to focus on the good and positive in their life. By expressing gratitude and avoiding self-pity, life instantly takes on a more positive light. The Universe tends to give back what it receives. If negative energy is constantly emitted from someone, they can only expect negative energy to return. But with meditation, it becomes nearly impossible to not emit positive energy, therefore encouraging the return of positive energy from the universe.

Increase Self Confidence
When someone is able to begin to view the entire world in a most positive light, they are able to do the same with themselves. Increased self-confidence begins a positive domino effect that can completely change someone’s life path. For example, increased self-confidence can help to spark a new relationship, encourage the start of a new career or enable someone the power to embrace new and exciting opportunities.

Reduce Anxiety
Anxiety is a serious condition that can suddenly affect anyone. Increased levels of anxiety lead to increased levels of stress, which not only take away from someone’s overall quality of life but can also lead to some serious health conditions. Meditation can help to stop anxiety before it creeps up on the brain and body, preventing the unwanted side effects that go along with an already undesired condition. Imagine finally taking control of anxiety with just a few minutes of meditation at the start and end of each day.

Woman meditating

Encourages a Healthier Lifestyle
When someone begins to incorporate meditation into their daily routines, it becomes easier to make healthier decisions. For example, meditating before breakfast will most likely lead someone to choose fruit and oatmeal instead of a doughnut. It encourages healthy eating, exercise and the avoidance of toxic substances.

Slows Aging
Studies have shown that meditation can literally slow down the aging process by changing the way the brain controls aging. As already mentioned, meditation helps to remove stress and negativity from daily life, which can also have a positive effect on appearance.
There are many different types of meditation. Finding one that fits into someone’s lifestyle and meets their needs is crucial but not difficult. With plenty of informational resources available, one can begin to experience the impressive benefits of meditation in only a few days. As with many types of health treatments, consistency is key, along with the true belief that meditation can change life paths for the better.

There are many different types of meditation. Finding one that fits into someone’s lifestyle and meets their needs is crucial but not difficult. With plenty of informational resources available, one can begin to experience the impressive benefits of meditation in only a few days. As with many types of health treatments, consistency is key, along with the true belief that meditation can change life paths for the better.

A running lady being trailed by a man

Cardiovascular Benefits of Exercise and Wine

What do wine and exercise have in common? Well, on the surface, not much. Wine is associated with relaxation, while exercise is associated with activity. But studies have emerged that both can be beneficial to cardiovascular health, especially when combined. Find out how this combination can be beneficial to your heart health.

The benefits of wine and exercise were discovered in a study ran by The European Society of Cardiology. Lead researcher Milos Taborsky, head of cardiology at the Palacky University Hospital in the Czech Republic says, “We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results.”

The study looked at people who consumed alcohol moderately at least 5 days a week. The researchers then separated the people into those that only drank and those that drank and exercised. The ones that only drank showed no considerable effect on their blood glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, or levels of inflammatory markers. However, those who worked out infrequently, such as twice a week, showed a dramatic impact on lowering cholesterol levels, which can result in a lower chance of cardiovascular disease.

resveralife-cardiovascular-benefits-of-exercise-wine-Drinking-Wine

Other studies that champion the combination of wine and exercise come from research done at the University of Florida and the University of Nebraska. These studies showed that ellagic acid, which is found in grapes, drastically slows the growth of existing fat cells and the formation of new ones, boosting metabolism of fatty acids in the liver. But drinking wine alone isn’t enough since the ellagic acid will slow fat growth, but not burn the fat. That’s where the exercise comes in. It allows you to shed some pounds in the first place and a moderate amount of red wine can help you keep it off. Reduced fat will also result in improved cardiovascular health.

Wine and beer can also encourage us to exercise in a beneficial cycle. Researchers have shown that wine and beer release endorphins in our brain that we use as a reward and motivation for working out. When the endorphins from exercising and the ones from drinking are combined, i.e. when we drink a glass of beer or wine shortly after a workout, they create a reaction in our body that our body wants to replicate over and over again. The result is that we subconsciously encourage ourselves to hit the gym the next day in order to replicate that feeling. This is a rare positive addiction that can result in stimulating the heart and blood flow.

Another more inconclusive study shows that a compound found in wine, resveratrol, can improve heart function, physical performance and muscle strength, mimicking exercise in the body and boosting workout performance. The setback in research here shows that it would take so much resveratrol to see the benefit, that humans could never consume that amount of wine and exercise safety. While you can supplement with resveratrol, the real thing is always more effective.

Do you exercise and drink wine? Do you find the combination beneficial? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Couple exercising in a park.

Resveralife Live Well: Best Outdoor Exercises

The sun is shining bright, the grass is turning green once again and the birds are chirping happy songs. It’s spring. Most people look forward to heading outdoors as soon as the weather is nice enough. Make your outdoor time do double duty by planning not just to get some fresh air and vitamin D, but a total body workout as well. This Resveralife Live Well Guide highlights the best moves that will work your entire body while you enjoy the refreshing and invigorating spring weather.

Woman jogging in a park.

Walk/Jog/Run
A simple walk around your neighborhood or along a local hiking trail help you to get in shape. You most likely know that walking/jogging/running is great to help shed pounds and burn calories, but you may not be aware that there are significant benefits to your mind as well. During cardiovascular exercise, your heart pumps blood to other organs in your body. One of these organs is the brain. The oxygen and other nutrients can improve your clarity, mood and memory. As little as 30 minutes is all it takes to get enhanced brain power.

Woman performing push-ups on a park bench.

Park Bench Push-Ups
Work the arms, chest and core with a twist on the classic push-up. Begin by placing your hands on the edge of the park bench and walk your feet out. Stop when your legs are fully extended. Bend your arms and lower your chest. Repeat 10 times. Beginners may want to stick with three reps, while those with a bit more strength may complete as many as 10 reps.

Woman using a park bench for tricep dips.

Park Bench Tricep Dips
Tricep dips work the arms, specifically as the name suggests, the triceps. Begin by sitting on the bench and placing your arms firmly behind you shoulder-width apart. When your arms are in place, slide off of the park bench and slide forward. Some prefer to fully extend their legs while completing this exercise while others find it more beneficial to keep the knees bent. Straighten your arms then bend your elbows and entire lower body until the elbows reach a 90 degree angle. Push yourself back up and that counts as one rep. Aim for two to three sets of 15 reps each.

Woman doing mountain climbing exercise on a park bench.

Park Bench Mountain Climbers
Take a twist on regular mountain climbers and use the park bench to support your weight. Begin in the same position you would for a park bench push-up with your palms on the park bench and your legs fully extended. From this position bring your knees to your chest switching legs each rep. You can repeat sets by the number you choose (15 complete climbers is a great place to start) or simply do this as a timed exercise and spending about 30 seconds per set.

Getting outside and into nature helps so much more than your body. Strengthen your body, and mind, by getting out of the gym and into the fresh air. As an added bonus, your daily dose of vitamin D helps you strengthen bones naturally as you strengthen your muscles. If it’s been a while since you last exercised, it is a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure that you get in shape in a safe and healthy way.

Couple drinking water outside

Live Well: How to Get in Shape in 2015

Getting that pre-holiday body back is something that is on most people’s agendas in the first month of the new year. This is the month that most people tend to make resolutions and promises to themselves and their loved ones that they will once again get in shape, get healthy, eat right and develop healthier habits. Getting in shape is sometimes easy for some, and more difficult for others. Here are a few fool proof ways to kick start yourself into gear in 2015 and lose that unwanted weight and those unwanted inches, guaranteed.

drinking waterDrink More Water

Drinking more water rather than opting for soda or sugary sports drinks can really make a huge difference in your overall health, and will certainly make an impact on weight loss. Reaching for water over other beverages gives your body the chance to rehydrate, eliminate waste and toxins which could be causing bloating and excess weight retention, and also kickstart your metabolism into gear.

Incorporate Cardio Workouts Three Times Per Week

Not many people who are just beginning to work out will look forward to a full blown cardio workout, but it’s exceptionally important to get yourself into ultimate shape. It helps to speed oxygen through the blood, which improves circulation, skin cell rejuvenation, mental health, and even metabolism. Cardio also allows you to lose more weight than any other form of exercise. Doing 30-40 minutes of high impact cardio three times per week will allow you to lose weight quickly – the healthy way. Don’t be surprised if you see inches lost from your waist, as well!

Shopping basket with assortment of unhealthy food on white backgroundDo Away with Refined Sugars and Salts

Refined carbohydrates will undoubtedly turn into sugar, which will also add weight gain and cause you to become tired and lazy. Doing away with all refined sugars, carbs, and excess salt will allow your body the opportunity to get out of a bloated zone, and back into a somewhat normal place, where it can begin actually burning the calories you eat rather than storing them. Do your best to stay away from pasta, bread, pies, cakes, cookies, and all things laden with sugar. On the same note, do your best to stay away from salty chips, snacks, and adding additional salt to your food. We consume plenty of salt with the foods we eat on a daily basis. Adding additional salt will only cause weight gain, bloat and potential health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Stop Eating Fast Food

Fast food has been known to pack more weight on an individual than any other food in existence. These types of foods are the furthest thing from healthy, and it would be better to go hungry than to indulge yourself in a fatty, salt laden, greasy cheeseburger from your local McDonalds. These foods contain high salt content, high fat content, and are the lowest grade meat products available. Note, we said meat products and not meats due to all of the additives they put in their foods. We won’t go into what else has been found in fast food items, but we will say this: do yourself a favor, and steer clear of the monster that is fast food.

A large variety of whole foods focused on produceEat More Raw & Whole Foods

Eating more healthful foods such as raw vegetables, fruits, and more lean meats will provide your body with the healthy nutrition it needs to function properly and naturally, as was intended for us from the beginning. No man or woman was ever created to tolerate processed foods. By incorporating more of these healthy options into your daily diet, you are increasing your fiber intake, meeting your dietary guidelines for each individual day, and are warding off heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol to the best of your natural ability through diet. That’s powerful! Aside from that, you are also giving yourself a natural energy boost throughout the day with natural, healthy foods.

Get Rid of Junk Food

We have a challenge for you. Go through your pantry, and freezer, and refrigerator, and throw every single thing away that contains processed meat, cheese, excess salt, and sugar. See what you have left. It just might be time to go shopping! By eliminating these foods from your house, you avoid temptation. And when the temptation arises, and you want something sweet, opt for something healthy – like a fruit smoothie, which has all the sweetness you could want, or if you want something salty, have a slice of low fat cheese or vegetables with some low fat or fat free ranch, which has a salty kick to it. There are always ways to meet your palate’s needs – the healthy way.