Category Archives: Health Tips

Natural Ways to Alleviate Fall Allergies

natural-remedies-for-fall-allergies

Summer is now officially behind us. Temperatures are falling, the leaves are changing, the scent of pumpkin spice is beginning to waft out of retail stores and eateries. But along with this more manageable climate comes one of the season’s most unwanted effects. 

Depending on where you live in the country, many plants are now blooming! These include fruit trees, grasses, or weeds and shrubs. But for each of these plants, their reason for activity is the same. The intense sun of the summer and icy cold of winter makes it difficult for plants to thrive. However, while the temperate weather of Spring is ideal, so too are the post-summer Fall months. That’s why you might start to suffer from allergies even as you see the leaves turning and many of your flowers starting to retreat. 

So how do we fight these symptoms naturally? While it’s impossible to completely prevent allergic reactions to fall pollinators, at least if you are sensitive to them, we can limit their effect on our bodies with some simple preventative measures. 

Clean Your Sinuses

If your allergies manifest as a runny nose, sneezing, and nasal pain, this is one of the most straightforward allergy types to treat. What’s happening is pollen is getting into your sinuses as you breathe and are being trapped in the mucosal membranes of the sinuses. Then, the body begins to attack the pollen as if it is a foreign invader, such as a viruses or bacteria. This leads to inflammation, a runny nose, sneezing, pressure, and other unpleasant effects that make your feel so down. So what can you do? 

Using a neti pot with cool and sterilized water through your nasal passages is one of the best solutions to this problem. A neti pot will help wash away the pollen and clean the sinus cavity of anything that you have inhaled and could be contributing to other problems. Repeat as necessary, especially before bed or after going outside. 

Clean Your House and Air

If you are very sensitive to pollen, it’s important to keep a clean house. We recommend vacuuming frequently with a HEPA-rated filter, and changing your bedsheets and pillowcases weekly. 

Also consider running your air conditioner and central heating system; you can turn off the climate system and only run the fan setting if you have a filter to reduce airborne compounds.

Speaking on the air filter, make sure to change it every month or two, especially in the times when your allergies are at their worst. Dirty air filters have low filtration efficiency, and in the worst cases your HVAC system might just be pushing allergens through the air more than if it wasn’t on at all. 

Use Supplements Formulated for Allergies

You do have the option to take over-the-counter and prescription drugs to help you through the fall allergy season. However, it is important to speak with your doctor about any symptoms, such as drowsiness or other side effects. 

If you are looking for a more natural approach, there are two products that you may want to consider.

  • Quercetin-Bromelain Complex from Douglas Laboratories includes quercetin, which has been shown to have properties that may provide antioxidant support and may provide temporary relief from occasional swelling, irritation, and discomfort and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to soothe allergies.
  • Integrative Therapeutics AllQlear. AllQlear uses quail egg powder, which contains ovomucoid, a type of trypsin inhibitor that may be ideal for sinus comfort during the busy allergy season.

At the end of the day, you may not be able to totally prevent or reverse Fall-time allergies, but you can likely diminish their effect. We hope that this is the case for you this year, so you can enjoy the cool temperature and beautiful weather, without being distracted by the misery of a stuffy nose and sinus pain.

How to Get in the Mindset to Lose Weight

weight loss girl in jeans

Losing weight can seem like an impossible feat. You might see people pull it off on Facebook, but the pounds never seem to disappear when you try it yourself. 

What gives? 

Well, as with all goals, losing weight takes planning and commitment. In fact, there’s more mental effort required than any other kind. So how do we get into the right mindset for weight loss?

Introduction to Weight Loss

Firstly, losing weight is simple. Every day our bodies burn a certain amount of calories. If you were to eat nothing at all for long enough, your body would deplete its available calories. 

Inversely, if you were to eat a lot, your body will work to try and store these additional calories as fat. If you are doing resistance training, some of those calories may become muscle. No matter what you’ve seen people say about slow metabolism and all its associated buzzwords, every person will lose weight if calories are restricted sufficiently. 

When we talk about weight loss, we are typically talking about burning excess fat to break this down a little more. A pound of fat is equal to around 3,500 calories. That means in a given week (7 days,) for you to burn one pound of fat, you should reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories. 

But how much less is that than you eat now, you ask? The best way to figure this out is to estimate your current base metabolic rate (BMR). This will tell you how many calories you should eat each day to keep your body weight the same. This BMR Calculator is a good place to start. Type in your age, gender, height, and weight, and the calculator will estimate your caloric needs based on activity level. Eat more than this, and you will gain weight. Eat less, and you should lose weight.

Disclaimer About Weight Loss Struggles

Before moving on, it is important to recognize where medications, hormonal imbalances, or other issues may be contributing to things like water retention, poor metabolic function, or other medical issues that may interfere with weight loss. To determine if this describes you, consult with a weight loss specialist to learn about the next steps. 

Also, the above calculator is an estimate. Tracking your weight eat a day on a scale, both morning and night, is a good way to track your weight over time and learn if you need to consume fewer or more calories to maintain healthy weight loss. Aim to reduce body weight by no more than 0.5% each week, or work with a specialist to determine how much weight is safe for you to lose.

Trouble Losing Weight?

For “medically normal” individuals, weight loss is all about sticking to it. Remember, weight loss takes time. 

With that in mind, it is important to mention this fundamental reality of weight loss, because it’s frequently denied by people who claim they can’t lose weight. Some people say they are too old to lose weight anymore, or have a body that holds on to calories to an unbelievable degree. 

While there might be associated challenges with losing weight for older people than they once were, or those with certain medical conditions, this lack of weight loss is primarily due to inactivity and how much we eat. 

Many of us are stuck at home during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That means, in most cases, that we are moving around less than we once did. It should be no surprise, therefore, that many of us are gaining weight. If you want to be in the right mindset for weight loss, you have to recognize that you aren’t yet burning enough calories, relative to your calorie intake, and that this is why you aren’t losing weight. 

Taking Action

Once we’ve accepted this fundamental notion of weight loss and weight gain, it’s time to decide what we’re going to do about it. Again, our options are pretty simple.

You can eat less or exercise more, or both! Some people have found success starting with diet alone for the first few months, then adding exercise; others find that balancing exercise and diet works for them. Trying things is key to finding what is right for you! 

Once you choose your methods, you’ll have to stick to them for a long time. This isn’t like a New Year’s Resolution, where you give up on day two. Weight loss and weight management require a change to your lifestyle going forward. 

Staying motivated may be the biggest challenge of all, but having a good plan can help. 

Creating a Plan

Even if you are going the diet route, you should still consider adding a few simple exercises to your schedule. Walking and jogging may be the simplest and most effective, especially if you have been inactive for a long time and aren’t sure how your body will hold up; take your time and don’t force weight loss because you will potentially injury yourself.

If you are looking to be more active, along with diet, then get access to cardio and resistance training equipment at a gym or home. Start by adding about 30 minutes of exercise to your daily routine, without changing your daily caloric intake. 

Ideally, you are getting at least 150 minutes of exercise that elevates your heart rate each week. 

As you cut your calories and exercise more, you will start to eye food differently. Often, we “freestyle” eat, meaning that we snack when we’re hungry, and we don’t take careful stock of the portions we eat at mealtime. Thousands of calories can slip by unnoticed when we eat this way. 

Get any of the many free calorie counting apps and monitor everything you consume. 

Supplements for Cravings

If you have trouble with food cravings, some supplements can help. 

Each of these three products works to help you limit your hunger in strategic ways, whether you are craving carbs or trying to limit your binge eating habits. 

Once you’ve managed to follow a regular exercise routine and establish calorie limits, you’ll start to see results. Don’t try to lose weight too fast. You want to preserve your health and energy, and for weight loss to be sustainable. Many lose-weight-fast diet programs don’t help you rethink your relationship with food and build good lifestyle habits. They merely tell you that certain foods are “bad,” while encouraging you to lose a bunch of weight and then gain the weight back just a month or two later, so you have to come back and do the program all over. 

Stop doing this!

Keep up the good work for weeks and months, adjusting your exercise and calories as needed, and you’ll hit your weight loss goals before you know it.

Stretches for Beginning Yoga Poses

woman doing yoga on a beach

Yoga is a wonderful way to relieve stress, gain flexibility, and strengthen the whole body. You’ve probably heard about all the wonderful things yoga can do for your health, but maybe you are worried that you aren’t flexible enough to try it. Don’t let your lack of flexibility deter you from this wonderful practice. Yoga poses for beginners can help you increase your flexibility and open up a whole new world of possibilities for your body. Read on to find out how you can get started.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient practice that combines physical exercises through yoga poses, mental meditation, and powerful breathing techniques to help relieve stress, and strengthen the entire body. Just about anyone can practice some form of yoga, from toddlers to the elderly. There are several different types of yoga, that can all be modified to suit a person’s activity level. The most common yoga styles that are practiced today include:

  • Vinyasa
  • Kundalini
  • Ashtanga
  • Bikram
  • Restorative
  • Hatha

Yoga Poses for Beginners

Getting started with a yoga practice is easier than you think. The basics of yoga poses all start with light stretching. The point is not to strain your muscles, but to gently open them so you can gain the benefits of increased flexibility. Start with these easy yoga poses and see how you feel.

 

Cat Pose

Start on your hands and knees with your back straight like a “tabletop.” Your head should be centered with your eyes looking down at the floor. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, curve your spine towards the ceiling while keeping your knees and shoulders in the same position.

At the same time, allow your head to gently move towards the floor. As you inhale again, come back to the original “tabletop” position. Do this pose several times and notice how your back begins to relax with each breath.

 

 

Cow Pose

Similar to Cat Pose, start in a “tabletop” position, again your eyes will be looking at the floor to begin. Take a deep inhale and at the same time lift the muscles in your bottom and chest toward the ceiling. Your hands and knees will remain on the floor.

As you do this, your belly will sink towards the floor and your head will lift so you are looking straight forward. Exhale and come back to neutral. Repeat this pose several times. Try it alternating cat/cow/cat/cow, etc. 

 

 

Child’s Pose 

 

This is known as a resting pose, but provides a nice gentle stretch as you breathe. Kneeling on the floor, bring your big toes together and sit on your heels. Spread your knees open to about hip length and lie down in between with your belly as close to the floor as comfort allows.

You can either lie with your hands (palms up) beside your legs, or palms down on the floor in front of your head. Try to hold this pose for three minutes or longer.

 

Downward Dog

 

Start with your hands and knees on the floor, your hips should be directly below your knees and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Turn your toes under and push your knees up off the floor, keeping them slightly bent. Your heels should comfortably be raised from the floor.

Work towards lifting your tailbone towards the ceiling and getting your legs straighter and your heels closer to the floor. Don’t strain, just gently stretch and notice how much easier it gets each time you try it. 

 

Twisting Pose

 

Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, bend your right knee and bring your foot as close to your sitting bone as you can while keeping it firmly on the floor. Your other leg should stay straightened with your foot flexed to engage the muscle.

Take a deep breath and as you exhale rotate your torso to the right and wrap your left arm around your right thigh, holding onto your outer thigh. Pull your thigh up with your hand as you bring your right hip toward the floor. Bring your fingertips to the floor behind you and gently encourage your body to twist. Try to twist a little more with each exhalation. Try to hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. 

Yoga doesn’t have to be intimidating. You can reap all of the healthy rewards of the practice with these basic yoga poses. You will gain flexibility and strength and you will get better the more you try. Make yoga a part of your daily healthy routine with well-rounded meals, high quality multivitamins, anti-inflammatories, and glucosamine supplements, and you should see major improvements in your flexibility quickly. We recommend trying Joint Complex by Professional Botanicals and other great supplements from the Professional Supplement Center. Namaste!