Friday, July 17, 2009

Tips To Keep Your Ticker Ticking

(Information courtesy of AARP Magazine)

The old saying that a wounded heart never heals just doesn’t apply anymore. Diet, exercise and a positive mental outlook can help prevent and even reverse years of poor heart habits. In fact, small lifestyle changes can go a long way towards attaining and maintaining a healthy heart. Start today with these tips:

A recent study by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that the chronically anxious may see a significant increase in the risk of a heart attack. Lower stress by starting a daily meditation practice or simply work on a puzzle or hobby that helps you relax.

Trans fats and hydrogenated oils raise blood levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), increasing your risk of coronary heart disease. But eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite snacks. Many potato, corn, and tortilla chips and even cookies are now made with healthier oils that don’t affect taste.

Regular exercise prevents heart attack and stroke by lowering inflammation, reducing blood pressure, maintaining weight, and reducing stress. Even 90 minutes to 2 hours spread out over a week can lower risk, according to a 2007 Harvard University study.

High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder, which is why it’s a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Get your blood pressure checked often and, if it’s high, talk to your doctor about ways to bring it down.

Adding natural, food-based supplements to a healthy diet may allow you to avoid medications. Learn how to choose a good supplement here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Eczema: A Natural Approach

I read a disturbing article in USA Today last week which said that a study conducted by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine found that giving children with moderate to severe eczema diluted bleach baths reduced the severity of the disease. Source: USA Today

BLEACH ?? “Did you know that a pesticide is added to your washing machine to help keep your white clothes white? This pesticide is also found in many household cleaning products that contain a "disinfectant" to kill germs. And it is found in household products used to clean mold and mildew from your shower or tub. Can you guess what this pesticide is? Chlorine Bleach!

You wouldn't think that ordinary chlorine bleach is a pesticide - but it is. Because it kills bacteria- and viruses it is called a disinfectant or an antimicrobial pesticide. And because it kills fungi and molds it is also known as a fungicide.”

“Breathing in the fumes of cleaners containing a high concentration of chlorine can irritate the lungs. This is particularly dangerous for people suffering from heart conditions or chronic respiratory problems such as asthma or emphysema. And the risks are compounded when the cleaners are used in small, poorly ventilated rooms, such as the bathroom. Chlorine is also a highly corrosive substance, capable of damaging skin, eyes, and other membranes. Chlorine was listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the 1990 Clean Air Act, and exposure to chlorine in the workplace is regulated by federal standards. (Source: care2)

Knowing that bleach isn’t something we really want to mess with, I started researching other safer means for dealing with the intense itching that can accompany eczema and also a natural approach to dealing with eczema in general. I thought about Epsom salts soaks and found the following information:

Relieve Eczema Skin Symptoms With An Epsom Salt Bath
By Evelyn Lym

It is hard not to go crazy with all that intense itching and scratching of your irritated eczema skin. Short of using strong steroids, there is one treatment that you can try to alleviate the itchy symptoms. You may wish to consider taking an Epsom salt bath.

An Epsom salt bath is not just any salt bath. There are actually different kinds of bath salts in the market today and you really need to choose the correct ones to treat your eczema. Solar salt, koshers salts are just like any rock salts that you use in your kitchen and offer no helpful benefits to your skin. Be careful not to use them as normal salts contain sodium chloride that can actually cause a drying out of your skin. A bath using normal salts is therefore not a good idea for an already dry skin prone to eczema outbreaks.

Epsom salts are basically made up of magnesium sulphate, a type of naturally occurring mineral. Magnesium is responsible in regulating the body enzymes. Since it is an electrolyte, magnesium sulphate can improve the function of the muscles and nerves. It also ensures the proper usage of calcium in our body's cells. As an eczema treatment, it helps to reduce skin inflammation and alleviate pain.
An Epsom salt bath is a great way to acquire magnesium in the body because the skin can easily absorb it. More importantly, an Epsom salt bath is becoming popular in treating eczema because it assists in removing unwanted acids out of your skin. Soaking yourself in the bath is therapeutic as it also helps reduce stress and muscular pains.

Here is a simple recipe on getting started with your own soothing Epsom salt bath:
450 grams Epsom salts, 1 tsp. Calendula oil, 5 drops patchouli oil,
7-10 drops lavender oil

You can actually do without the oils if you are unable to find them. Simply add a cup of Epsom salts in to a tub with warm water. Avoid using soaps when taking an Epsom salt bath or else it would obstruct the healing action of the salts. You can soak for about 15 minutes and gently give your skin a good gentle rub. (Take note: Gentle rub not scrub!) Try not to get chilled and over dried. A warning to people who are diagnosed with edema, heart problems or high blood pressure- soaking in a bath salt may prove to be harmful. Frail people, like aged people, are advised not to use salt baths at all.
Shaklee has introduced a wonderful line of Baby Care products that you might be interested in too.