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Foods That Are Killing your Complexion

Woman drinking juice

You look in the mirror, and there it is: a new zit. You do a quick mental inventory of the foods you’ve eaten in the last few days to determine the culprit, but it doesn’t take you long to determine; it’s that candy bar you ate the other day. How you tried to forget about that dietary blunder. You didn’t even list it in your food journal. But now, here it is, getting its revenge in the form of a large pimple that will probably taunt you for the next two weeks.

You know that you are what you eat and your skin is one of the biggest reminders. Although some foods are hard to resist, pimples are a high price to pay. But, forewarned is forearmed. So, in the spirit of forewarning, here are some foods that may be causing those complexion killers.

Canned Soup
Although it may make a cheap, quick lunch, canned soup contains bisphenol and sodium which can make skin retain water, causing it to become dry, swollen, and inflamed. Bone broth is a gut soothing option which can help to heal the stomach lining without making your skin break out in the process.

donuts

Processed Carbohydrates
Processed carbohydrates include all those foods we love like white bread, cereals, and baked goods. Unfortunately, these dietary staples break down and transform into sugar, which is bad news for your health and your skin. Seed and almond flour crackers are low in sugar and high in fiber and may save you from acne woes.

Juice
Another high-sugar bandit, juice is no friend to the acne-prone. Try a high protein smoothie with healthy fats instead.

Canned Tuna
While it may be accessible and cost effective, canned tuna may not be your healthiest seafood option. Dr. Lipman says, “It lacks the nutrients found in wild fish and is often farmed, causing mercury toxicity. ” Canned wild salmon is a safer source of omega-3s and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Woman eating pizza

Cheese made from Cow’s Milk
Pizza eaters be warned. According to Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, “Dairy is a brilliant trigger for skin issues like acne, as all dairy products come from lactating organic cows. Organic cows are filled with cow’s hormones, which can trigger hormonal acne in humans.” If you can, try replacing the dreaded zit inducer with lactose free cashew cheese or nutritional yeast, although they may not work as well as mozzarella on pizza.

Soda
Soda is a veritable cocktail of skin no no’s, from its high sugar level to its chemical content. Soda increases insulin levels and can interfere with the production of healthy bacteria. The result? A plethora of skin issuers ranging from eczema and rosacea to acne. Kombucha is a probiotic rich alternative, which would be a less “inflammatory” option.

Coffee
Caffeine in coffee can dehydrate skin. If you can sacrifice the jolt, consuming hot water with a hint of lemon can hydrate skin and reduce inflammation.

Are there any foods worth suffering zits for? Let us know what you think! And good luck keeping your complexion clear and lovely!

Use These Herbal Aids For Dry Skin

If there is anything to be learned from history, it is safe to say that people have always had a high respect for herbs. Elizabethan herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper credited plants with possessing powers of good (light) and evil (dark). That may explain why Chinese Emperor, and part time herbal enthusiast, Chi’en Nung, while able to identify 365 healing herbs, died after consuming one that turned out to be poisonous.

Despite the occasional mishap, it is safe to say that the herbal remedy has maintained a pretty respectable track record to this day, quite a feat considering how long its history is. Herbals have been credited with easing aches, pains, digestion problems and are also one of the most effective and trusted ingredients in beauty and skin products. If you are looking to give your skin a hydrating boost, here are some of the best (pretested) herbal remedies for dry skin relief.

avocado oil

Avocado Oil
It should be no surprise that a super food makes a super skin treatment. Avocado oil stimulates production of collagen and hydrates skin, and can even be used as a substitute for your nightly serum.

Rosemary Oil
Rosemary oil helps to stimulate cell renewal and gets rid of cells that dull the complexion to reveal new, fresh skin underneath. It can also be used to treat dry, itchy scalp and dandruff. Mix five to seven drops with luke warm water and use it to rinse hair after shampooing to address a flaky scalp.

Lavender Oil
Not only does it smell great, lavender can also relieve itchy tight skin and protect it from UV rays and free radicals which cause premature aging. Apply directly to your face, or put a few drops in your day or night cream.

Pomegranate seed oil

Pomegranate Seed Oil
The antioxidant properties in the pomegranate makes them a great anti-ager, whether you choose to munch or apply topically. The magical seeds can reduce breakdown and increase production of collagen to keep your skin looking firm and useful. Put a drop on your skin after applying moisturizer.

Grapeseed Oil
You’ve probably seen this ingredient being given credit on the labels of anti aging serums and creams. Grapeseed oil has been a proven component in the restoration of collagen and softens find lines to help skin stay firm. “Plus, according to David Colbert, MD, “grape seed oil is high in polyphenols which are antioxidants that can help calm inflammation.” Add two drops to your morning moisturizer to reap its anti aging benefits.

Sunflower Seed Oil
Got dry scaly elbows and knees? Slather some of this vitamin E rich oil on them for some quick hydration.

carrot seed oil

Carrot Seed Oil
Fight age spots with this bunny pleasing option, extracted from the dried seeds of the orange plant. Carrot seed oil can also speed up healing of skin irritations like psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema.

Olive Oil
Besides being a delicious addition to food, olive oil can also be just the thing to relieve a dry, itchy scalp, due to its anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Ellen Marmur, MD, advises, “To calm either issue, once a week, massage a 1/4 cup of olive oils into your scalp so its evenly saturated. Wait at least 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition. Use the remainder to treat your complexion. Olive oil is rich in vitamins that can help prevent spots anilines caused by sun damage. Put two drops in your favorite moisturizer to boost results.

What herbal treatments work best on your dry skin? Let us know your favorites!

Your Weekend Spring Cleaning Guide

Ah! Spring is in the air! Time for spring break, spring fever, and spring cleaning? Ah, yes, along with turning the clocks forward and hay fever, spring cleaning is just another rite of spring that reminds us that nothing comes without a price. But before you totally decide that to throw your feather duster in the air, keep in mind that spring cleaning has its benefits. It increases productivity, it helps you to remove allergens from your home, it reduces stress, and it helps you focus. And, just think, it can also give you an excuse to ask that cute guy next door if he can help you change your light bulbs. Here’re some room-by-room tips to help guide you through your spring cleaning weekend.

Happy couple

Kitchen

  • Dust Refrigerator Coils
    Turn off your fuse box. Coils will be at the bottom of the fridge, under the grill. You can clean them by using the crevice attachment on the vacuum, or invest in a specialty refrigerator coil brush from your local hardware store.
  • Defrost the Freezer
    Turn off your fuse box. Empty your freezer and wipe it down with a solution of 2 tablespoons baking soda for each quart of hot water.

Living Room
Replace heavy throws, curtains and rugs with lighter weight ones

Take down heavy winter decor and store by rolling the material around an acid free tube. Then, wrap in a sheet of muslin or cotton and secure with a piece twill tape. Make sure to label each bundle so you will be able to identify everything when you take them out next year.

Woman cleaning window

Bedroom

  • Change Blankets and Flip Mattresses Over
    Flip your mattress over to make sure the wear gets distributed evenly. Swap heavy winter bedding for warm weather, lighter materials.
  • Clean Pillows
    Most pillows can be machine-washed to rid them of bacteria, mold, and odors.

Bathroom

  • Throw Out Expired Cosmetic Products
    Weed out your expired makeup products and discard in a plastic trash bag, kept out of reach of animals and children.
  • Update First Aid Kit
    A complete first aid kit should consist not only of ointments and bandages, but should also include emergency phone numbers, such as the one for the local poison control center.

Home Office

  • Organize files
    Time to go through those old insurance policies and contracts and put them in the right place.
  • Clean Computers
    Clean computer casings with a solution of one drop of dishwashing detergent for every one quart of water. Use cotton swabs to clean crevices in keyboards and wipe screens free of dust and dirt with a soft cloth or dry screen cleaning sponge.

Man cleaning

Closets
Trade out winter clothes for your new spring fashions. Wash garments before storing and put them in a zippered sweater or blanket bag.

  • Donate Clothes
    Some charities provide pickup service and you may also get some tax relieving receipts!

Outdoor Spaces

  • Clean Porch Ceilings and Walls
    Sweep up debris with a broom, wash walls with an all purpose cleaner and polyester sponge
  • Scrub Patios, Decks, Driveways, and Walkways
    Mildew spots can be treated using a deck brush dipped in a solution of one part oxygen bleach to 3 parts water.
  • Wash Outdoor Furniture
    Plastic wood and aluminum can be cleaned with a solutions of dishwashing liquid and water using a soft bristle brush.
  • Check Light Fixtures
    Wash covers and check for frayed wires and poor connections.

Feel better? We thought so! And how’s your new friend? Let us know how your exploits in spring cleaning turned out! We love to know!

Classic Perfumes That Still Have Nose Appeal

Woman applying perfume in a car

When Revlon released their “Charlie” perfume in the 1970’s, it was advertised as “kinda young, kinda now.” But now, now is then, and one can only imagine how Charlie would stack up next to today’s hipper scents. The young literally turn up their millennial noses at the cloying scents of their mothers and grandmothers, and invest hard-earned cash in the most recent product to be featured on the test strip from the latest issue of Vogue. But take heed: before consigning those ancient bottles to the trash, you may want to spritz a bit on your wrist. There are a few classic scents that have held up under the test of time.

Chanel No. 5
It takes a classic to make a classic. Chanel No. 5 was made iconic in the commercial ad featuring Marilyn Monroe who offered the perfume’s name as the answer to the question of what she “wore to bed.” According to Refinery 29, the scent still holds its own. Chanel number 5 is a combination of floral smells, including rose, jasmine, and citrus. It remains a ladylike staple of the perfume industry with hints of sandalwood and vanilla undertones.

Chantilly
The Huffington Post declared this Eau de Toilette spray by Houbigant another timeless fragrance. Known for its reputed luxury and high price, it was released in 1941 as a scent of romance and intrigue. Hints of rose damask and jasmine give this perfume its allure.

Youth Dew
This Estee Lauder creation also landed on the list of classics. Created in the 1950’s Estee Lauder described the perfume as sensual and it is reputed to be symbolic of women’s independence from the need for male companionship. The theme is represented through the scents of moss, lavender, and Muguet.

Jean Nate
Another perfume staple, Jean Nate by Revlon has endured for decades. Introduced in 1935, the scent of Jean Nate summons feelings of playfulness. Popsugar describes its scent as light and sweet, noting its balance of the floral with the spicy.

Perfume

White Diamonds
Another legendary perfume endorsed by a legend is the elegant White Diamonds, by Elizabeth Taylor. Created in 1991, the perfume is characterized by its citrus blend of neroli, orange, and bergamot, with a hint of lily.

L’Air du Temps
This fragrance, known for its “Something’s In The Air” slogan, was launched in 1948 by Nina Ricci. The release of the perfume was an attempt to capture the return to peace and optimism after World War and was designed to appeal to the femininity of its users. The beautiful bottle with the intertwining doves has been, and will remain, a feature on the vanity tables of elegant women throughout history.

Shalimar
Shalimar is an ancient oriental perfume whose name translates to “temple of love” in Sanskrit. The moniker for the Guerlain fragrance is derived from the Indian Gardens of Shalimar where the Shah Jahan met his muse for the building of the Taj Mahal. Touted by starlets from Rita Hayworth to Kate Moss, this classic fragrance is one for the ages.

Have you been raiding grandma’s perfume collection? Let us know what you’ve been liking! We love to hear from you!

Understanding The Difference Between Natural and Organic Products

We’ve all heard the expressions about talking the talk and not walking the walk, but sometimes you can’t do one without the other. Take health food, for example. You may be totally sincere and earnest about your desire to eat well, but with all the confusing health food lingo, you may not be sure about what that means. Should you be looking for a prebiotic, a probiotic, a macrobiotic, or an antibiotic? Sometimes, it may seem easier to just eat junk food.

Well, before you abandon your good intentions, you may be surprised to know how easy it can be to master the basics. Here is a simple lesson on the difference between natural and organic products to help you navigate your way through health food lingo 101.

Woman purchasing produce

The Basics
When a food is labeled organic, it means that it has been produced, manufactured and handled in accordance with the USDA Organics Products Act. Natural food refers to food that is derived from animals and plants and has not been chemically altered or synthesized in any form. Hence, natural foods are not necessarily organic and organic foods are not necessarily classified as natural.

The preference for one over the other the other comes down to personal standards. Fans of natural foods believe that synthesis of food leads to a loss in nutritional property. Those who prefer organics want food free of pesticides, fertilizers, and preservatives.

The demand for organic food is greater than that for natural food because organic food is guaranteed by the government. While an act similar to the Organic Food Product Act has been proposed for natural foods, it has yet to be realized.

Certification Agencies
Most countries have certification bodies for organic foods, the most prominent of which is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Although The International Association of Natural Products (IANPP) champions certifications for naturals foods, it is not a certification body.

Woman reading label

Food Labels
Manufacturers of organic foods must follow specified legal rules and regulations before labeling a food “organic.”
Natural food labels can be used freely by manufacturers.

Health Benefits
There is no evidence to back the belief that organic food is healthier than non-organic food. Preference for organic food is usually based on the idea that it is safer than conventional foods because it has not been exposed to chemicals. However, research suggests that organic food choices can lead to increased antioxidant intake and lower levels of exposure to toxic heavy metals.

People who choose natural foods, on the other hand, do so because they believe that the processing of food decreases its health benefits.

Price
Organic food has a higher price than non-organic food; natural food has a higher price than processed food.

Shelf Life
Organic food has a longer shelf life than natural food. Because natural food is subject to minimal processing, it tends to have a high water content which shortens shelf life.

organic food

Availability
Organic foods are sold in most major supermarkets and can be purchased at specialty stores and through online sources.

Natural foods are available at most stores that sell organic foods. Some stores specialize in natural foods. Many health food stores sell natural food items.

Has this cleared things up at all? Let us know where you stand. Are you Team Natural or Team Organic, or do you not have a pony in this race?

Signs That You’re Getting Too Much Protein

Protein. What could be wrong with protein? The word itself comes from the Greek “proteos” meaning the “first one” or “most important one.” Our life takes place in proteins! We store information in proteins! When we learn something, it involves changes in our proteins! We pass along our genes to the next generation by way of proteins. In fact, it seems that whenever we ask the question, “What makes this miraculous life changing event possible?” the answer invariably comes back, “Proteins” So we should get as much protein as we can. Right? Wrong.

Protein Facts
According to the Institutes of Medicine, the average adult should be getting about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily. This translates to about 46 grams per day for women and 56 for men. However, the latest report from the Department of Agriculture reveals that we are getting much more than that. Most recent statistics show that American women ages 20 and above get 68 grams of protein per day, while males of the same age get a whopping 98.9 grams.

Cooking eggs

What’s Wrong With Too Much Protein?
Of course protein is an essential part of our diet. It helps us to repair and build cells. We’ve always been taught the value of a high protein breakfast to keep us from unhealthy snacking throughout the day, and a new analysis reveals that high protein diets can lead to lower risk of stroke. However, it seems there can be too much of a good thing.

Marion Nestle, Ph.D, MPH and professor of Nutrition at NYU says, “Because Americans consume so much protein, and there is plenty in foods from both plant and animal sources, and there is no evidence of protein deficiency in the U.S. population, protein is a non-issue. Why make it into one? The only reason for doing so is marketing. Protein used as a marketing tool is about marketing, not health. The advantage for marketing purposes of protein over fat and carbohydrates is that it’s a positive message, not negative. Marketers don’t have to do anything other than mention protein to make people think it’s a health food.” However, although as Nestle points out, much of the research is “uncertain,” there are a few proven ill effects of two much protein.

Kidney Problems
Because kidneys are responsible fro filtering out waste products of digested protein, it is not surprising that high protein diets may put a strain on these organs. According to a 2003 study, this damage was noticeable only among people in the early kidney disease stages. The lack of significant symptom make it particularly dangerous, as noted by WebMD.

Weight gain

Weight Gain
If you’re upping the protein without cutting back on other things in your diet, you may notice the pounds packing on. A 2012 study showed that the weight gained by individuals assigned a high protein diet was no different than those assigned to a low protein one when the groups overate. However, as Time reported the gain in the high protein consumers was mostly due to lean body mass rather than fat.

Dehydration
Blood urea nitrogen is one of the waste products manufactured by the kidneys during the filtering process. Levels of blood urea nitrogen are used by physicians to evaluate function of the kidneys and are also a measure of a person’s hydration levels. A 2002 study reported an indirect relationship between hydration and protein intake. Monica Reinagel, MS, LDN, CNS says this is because the body needs more water in order to rid itself of the extra nitrogen. However, she allows that dehydration is not a reason to avoid increased protein intake, as long as it is accompanied by an increase in water intake.

Are you getting too much protein? Noticing the symptoms? Let us know what you think.

Avoid These Barriers To Healthy Living

Woman running

Does anyone out there really believe that supermodels eat fast food burgers? Although we are probably living in one of the most health-conscious time periods to date, we are still receiving mixed messages about what it means to be healthy. While it might be tempting to believe that the typical beer drinker has bright eyes and glowing skin, or that ice cream is a common nightly indulgence for the physically fit, quite often these examples would be more aptly place in the “too good to be true” files.

False advertising can encourage bad habits, and bad habits can become barriers to healthy living. If you are struggling to live healthily, here are some tips for avoiding some of the most common barriers.

Take Stock
One of the first steps to healthy living is to assess your current state of health. Make an appointment with the doctor and dentist to gauge your health. Have your BMI checked and make sure your waistline is not putting your health at risk.

Think about your physical activity. The CDC recommends at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity and two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises per week. How do you stack up?

Consider your social network and keep an eating journal. “The idea, says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, and nutritionist, “is to write it down without judgment. You can’t change what you’re not aware of.”

Eating healthy

Eating Healthy
Healthy eating requires the ability to take power over what you eat. The key, according to Williams, is saying, “I choose,” rather than, “I should.” So it’s, “I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables,” instead of, “I should be eating more fruits and vegetables.” Williams says. “it shows that you’re in control and making the right choice.

Another thing Williams recommends: leave guilt out of the equation. The doctor points out, “Usually, whenever someone feels guilty about something, it feeds right back to the behavior that they’re trying to get rid of. So if someone is an emotional eater and they say, ‘I know I shouldn’t be doing this,’ it implies more guilt and judgment on themselves; they feel worse, and they end up eating more.

Exercise More
Pick something you like to do. if you’re dreading cardio in the gym, go for a hike or take a dance class. Set weekly goals for physical activities and keep track of how much you do. Williams says, “Make the first goal so easy that you say, ‘I know I can do that.’ She recommends weekly checkpoints because they give more flexibility. If you miss one day, you can redeem yourself on the next. Williams often encourages you to reward yourself after being good all week with a visual reminder that you can look at often to celebrate your accomplishments.

Sleep better

Sleep Better
Common barriers to a good night’s sleep are computers and TVs before bedtime. Not only does the light from electronic devices trick your body into thinking its time to be up and about, computer activity and t.v viewing can be very stimulating, and not conducive to a peaceful rest.

Heavy exercise close to bedtime is another contributor to poor-quality sleep. Sleep medicine specialist Lisa Shives, MD says vigorous activity can heat the core temperature of the body and make sleep difficult. As a guideline, she says, “If you’re working up a sweat, you’re working too hard before bed.”

Improve Relationships
Although diet and exercise are big contributors for healthy living, social connections also play a major role. C. Nathan De Wall. assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky suggests looking for a person like you. “What really is important in terms of promoting relationship webbing is that you share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people. Feel people out in terms of, ‘Does this person seem like me in terms of wanting to be close to other people?”

DeWall also emphasizes the importance of having in-person relationships in these days of virtual online connections. He does not discourage social media relationships, but advises, “I think long term, having all your relationships online or virtual would probably be something that wouldn’t be as beneficial as having a mix.

Woman meditating

Cut Down on Stress
Stress is another big barrier to healthy living. Positive coping skills, like yoga and visualization can be very helpful in keeping stress levels to a minimum. Williams recommends handling stressful situations by burning off anger through exercise or allowing anger to dissipate in a quiet place.

Have you broken through barriers that were keeping you from living a healthy life? Tell us all about how you did it! We love to hear good stories!

Kale

10 Ways To Include Kale and Swiss Chard In Your Diet

You may be wondering why, if veggies like Swiss chard and kale have been around forever, why haven’t you heard much about them until recently? Well, the sad truth is that there was a time in history when these greens were considered the “ugly ducklings” of the vegetable family. While their better tasting relatives, like spinach and broccoli, were enjoying the limelight, kale and chard were consigned to a lesser position, largely ignored, until one day, their superfood powers were revealed.

Suddenly, they became all the rage. No one could consume these darlings quickly or often enough, and more and more new and innovative ways were found to incorporate them into meals and snacks. If you are among those who are see in kale and Swiss chard in a new light, here are ten ways you can give these veggies their proper due.

Veggie Soups
Healthy comfort food? Why not? Chop or puree some kale and Swiss chard into your next soup recipe.

kale chips

Kale Chips
Just remove the stem and center ribs and tear leaves into chip size pieces. Toss them with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt or cumin. Bake at 300 until crisp.

Smoothies
Smoothies and green protein juices can be great sources for packing in nutrients. Add one or two handfuls of kale, Swiss chard, or spinach to your morning or afternoon concoction. However, you may want to keep in mind that juices do not provide the same fiber benefits as eating greens and drinking smoothies do, as juices tend to have high sugar content due to other added vegetables.

Green Veggies With Eggs
Not to be confused with green eggs and ham, green veggies can make a great addition to an egg scramble or frittata.

Green powder

Green Powders
Green powders contain a large variety of concentrated green veggies, and usually include plant algae like chlorella and spirulina. Look for organic green powders at health food stores and make sure to take into account what type of sweetener and how much sugar the powder contains. Try to keep sugar levels under five grams per serving.

Baked Goods
Fool your family, fool yourself. Puree some Swiss chard or kale into your muffins or brownies. According to Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, “You won’t even feel like you’re eating vegetables.”

Pasta
Cheryl Forbero, RD suggests foregoing the basil or pesto on your pasta for some heartier greens. You can even work them into your lasagna or pesto recipe, says Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD.

kale pizza

Pizza
Kale pizza anyone? Why not? After you finish heaping on the mozzarella, how about heaping on the greens? Drizzle with oil and vinegar and mangia!

Beans
Add texture and color to your bean dish with a few cups of chopped Swiss chard or kale. Just add it along with the garlic, onions and seasoning.

Stir-Fry
If your sautéing some beef, chicken or tofu, stir in some carrot, red pepper and Swiss chard stems. Then, remove from heat and stir in the leaves for a healthy and delicious stir fry.

How are you adding kale and Swiss chard to your diet? Let us know how your keeping healthy!

Food sources

As the Temps Rise, So Does Your Need for Vitamin D

Poor Vitamin D! It was a perfectly respectable vitamin until the Urban Dictionary perverted it into a sexual euphemism. Now one can barely mention the vitamin without the occasional titter from those familiar with what it means to “put the D in someone.” In fact, even Marks and Spencer has come under fire for their claims of “Putting the D In Bread,” sparking a social media frenzy by those who can’t keep their minds out of the proverbial gutter.

The more mature among us will know vitamin D as a valuable nutrient for managing calcium in the blood, and assisting with intercellular communication. You may also know that this vitamin is primarily derived from the sun. However, if the sun is not an option, due to inclement weather, or simply lack of exposure, there are some foods that may be more consistent options.

Tuna Fish
Canned tuna is probably the cheapest and most accessible source of seafood, and a 3 oz. contains 236 IU of vitamin D: more than half the daily requirement. Sandwich or salad, tuna’s got the D.

Eggnog

Eggnog
There is no wrong time for eggnog. One glass contains 25% of the RDA of vitamin D, thanks to its large egg content. However, you may want to keep the consumption down to a minimum to avoid a sugar overload.

Fortified Dairy
Although most dairy does not contain significant amounts of vitamin D, the federal government began to fortify milk in the 1930’s due to a widespread deficiency in the nutrient. A single cup of fortified milk will get you 34% of the recommended daily value, while a 6-ounce container of fortified yogurt will give you one fifth of the RDA.

Mackerel
If you’re looking to pick up some Vitamin D, mackerel is quite the catch. Not only does one four ounce portion contain an entire day’s worth of vitamin-D requirement, it also has lower levels of mercury and is at less of a risk of overfishing than other fish with a similar nutritional profile. Mackerel is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and protein. Catch it if you can!

Portobello mushroom

Portobello Mushrooms
Portobello mushroom crops are exposed to additional lighting that boosts the amount of vitamin D by a whopping 3,000 percent. The increase of vitamin D intake due to lighting has also been shown to be a cost-effective way of lowering depression.

Smoked Whitefish
Kosher deli connoisseurs will know this fish as a great accompaniment to bagels, but they may not know that half a cup of this brunch staple contains enough vitamin D to get you through your day, It is also naturally low in calories and fat, and rich in vitamin D, protein, and B vitamins.

Soy Milk
You may be drinking soy milk to address issues of lactose intolerance, but if its fortified, you are also getting a daily dose of D. Most brands contain about one-quarter of the daily requirement.

Orange juice

Fortified Orange Juice
You may know orange juice to be a valuable source of vitamin C, but with fortification it can also be a significant source of vitamin D, with one cup exceeding a quarter of the daily recommended intake.

How are you getting your D? Let us know! We love to hear it, especially the dirty stuff!

Spring And Pollen Are In The Air

Spring has sprung, and so has your post nasal drip. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and while most look for love, your primary goal is to find a good decongestant. While your friends talk of vacation plans, you long for antihistamines. At this rate, you’ll be the first in your crowd to attend spring break in a face mask.

Although spring is a beautiful time of year, its also the time that plants release pollen, and millions start to sneeze and sniffle. If those millions include you, here are some things you might want to know about controlling spring allergies.

Woman and child sneezing

Pollen
When it comes to springtime allergy triggers, pollens takes first place. Trees, weeds, and grasses release tiny grain of the stuff into the air, and when they get into the nose of someone who suffers from allergies, the body’s immune system gets out of control.

The body’s natural defense system sees pollen as hazardous and releases antibodies to attack it. This triggers the release of histamines into the blood. Histamines are the chemicals are the causes of the itchy eyes, runny noses, and other common allergy symptoms.

Pollen count is highest on breezy days, when the wind carries the allergens through the air, whilst rain tends to wash them away, lowering the count.

Symptoms
Watering and itching eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and dark circles around the eyes are all common indicators of allergies.

Allergy Treatments
Although there is no cure for allergies, there are medicines that can ease the symptoms.

Antihistamines work to decrease sneezing, itching, and sniffling by reducing the amount of histamine in the body.

Woman scratching skin

Decongestants shrink blood vessels in the nasal cavities to relieve swelling and congestion.

Nasal spray decongestants work on clogged nasal passageways to relieve congestion faster than oral decongestants, without many of the side effects.

Steroid Nasal sprays are a preferred treatment, but only three, Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort, are available over the counter.

Eye drops can be helpful in the relief of itchy, watery eyes.

Even though many allergy remedies are available over the counter, you may want to consider consulting a doctor to make sure you choose the right one. He may be able to recommend allergy shots, prescription medication, immunotherapy tablets, or steroid nasal sprays. Be aware that some antihistamines can make you feel drowsy.

Natural Allergy Relief
If you prefer your allergy relief organic, here are some options:

Butterbar is an herb which has shown allergy relief potential. Some studies show an extract called Ze 3339 to work as well as antihistamines when it comes to allergy relief.

Woman holding head

Quercitin has been shown in research to prevent the release of histamines. It is found in apples, onions, and black tea.

Nasal Irrigation Involves a a quarter teaspoon each of salt and baking soda combined with sterile or boiled water to clear sinus passages. A squeeze bottle or neti pot can be used for nasal irrigation.

Tips For Keeping Pollen Contact Low

  • Stay indoors when pollen count is high, usually in the morning.
  • Keep windows and doors closed in the spring. An air purifier may come in handy.
  • Keep air filters in your home clean and make sure bookshelves and vents are free of pollen.
  • Wash your hair after venturing outdoors.
  • Vacuum twice weekly, wearing a mask to avoid the kick up of pollen, dust, and mold trapped in your carpet.

Let us know how you deal with the high spring pollen count! Good luck and a great symptom free spring!