Health • Fashion • Travel
- 5 yoga breathing techniques to cultivate chill vibes on and off the matMarch 20, 2020 at 02:00AM by CWC When practicing yoga, it’s easy to get caught up trying to nail each posture, but postures and movement are just one component of yoga. Yoga breathing techniques, or pranayama (prana means “life force” and yama means “control”), is also an essential element of yoga that enhances and deepens … Continue reading Read more
- Why pros say using peppermint oil for hair is the key to healthy strandsMarch 20, 2020 at 01:30AM by CWC Peppermint is the flavor you know and love from mint chocolate ice cream, candy canes, and peppermint tea. And the extract can be added to your beauty routine for all sorts of benefits, from your skin to your manicure; however, one of its lesser-known perks is using peppermint … Continue reading Read more
- If your anxiety surrounding COVID-19 is higher than ever, science says there’s a reasonMarch 20, 2020 at 01:00AM by CWC Over the course of the last week—since COVID-19 became a legitimate concern in New York City, where I live—my anxiety has been debilitating. For days, I’ve been on the verge of tears—or in tears. My heart is pounding and there’s a knot in my stomach that my usual … Continue reading Read more
- Why intermittent fasting has been a staple of long-living Blue Zones cultures for decadesMarch 20, 2020 at 12:00AM by CWC Blue Zones founder and The Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook author Dan Buettner has spent his career studying the longest-living people on the planet. Teaching people longevity-boosting habits is his bread and butter, so to speak. His travels and research have shown him a lot about how often people … Continue reading Read more
- This garlicky 5-ingredient herb sauce is a neurologist’s favorite part of every mealMarch 19, 2020 at 11:29PM by CWC There’s a general consensus among chefs and home cooks that garlic makes everything taste better. Seriously, name a single savory dish it doesn’t completely change for the better. You can’t. And yet there’s one more reason to add it to all your meals: It’s a favorite of two … Continue reading Read more
- 7 best noise-cancelling headphones to make WFH calls more manageableMarch 19, 2020 at 10:00PM by CWC Who here has ever tried to take a work call in a busy coffee shop or a cramped apartment with roommates? The slightest bit of noise is wildly distracting, and you feel like a jerk when you say, “I’m sorry, I missed what you just said,” for the … Continue reading Read more
- Your head weighs ‘as much as a bowling ball’—these 4 stretches help you use that weight to ease neck painMarch 19, 2020 at 09:00PM by CWC You might have heard that your head weighs about as much as a bowling ball. In reality, there’s some pretty complicated math involved in determining exactly how much weight your neck is carting around on a daily basis. What we all share in common, however, is that we … Continue reading Read more
- These 5 healthy foods are totally safe to keep in the pantry instead of the fridgeMarch 19, 2020 at 08:00PM by CWC Just like that we’ve all got plenty of time to cook more at home. (Be careful what you wish for, right?) Because we’re living in such uncertain times, it’s a good idea to stock up on food, but being prepared presents another problem: figuring out where to put … Continue reading Read more
- Does dairy really cause inflammation? It’s complicatedMarch 19, 2020 at 07:00PM by CWC When it comes to inflammation, there are certain foods that have a clear connection to helping or hurting it. Sugar is a definite driver of inflammation, while antioxidant-rich berries are for sure in the beneficial camp. But when it comes to dairy, there’s a lot of confusion, even … Continue reading Read more
- Hey, it’s okay if you’re not checking everything off of your to-do list right nowMarch 19, 2020 at 06:00PM by CWC There was a minute—a sparking, optimistic minute—when I thought I’d emerge from this national emergency with the screenplay for my pandemic-themed rom-com. That sounds terrible, but you know you thought the same thing, too. In fact, with ample time in self-isolation among the spread of COVID-19, there’s this … Continue reading Read more
- What it’s really like to spend 24 hours at an Ayurvedic wellness retreat
- The ‘Year of the Rat’ launches a new 60-year cycle—here’s what to expect
- A CrossFit coach says ‘MCI’ is the acronym to remember for nonstop progress at the gym
- How to start dating again after a breakup, divorce, or dry spell
- A cardiologist says that you should start paying attention to *this* metric on your Apple Watch
- Auriculotherapy gives you the benefits of acupuncture, but while you’re on the go
- Checks+Balanced: How a freelance publicist living in Puerto Rico budgets for wellness
- Macy’s basically just launched a wellness department (with our help!)—here are our 9 favorite items
- What the first new moon of the decade means for your big-picture goals
- 7 secrets to living a long, fulfilling life, according to people in their 80s, 90s, and 100s
- Taking a device break can inspire *major* emotional growth—at any age
- The definitive ranking of boutique fitness locker rooms with the best beauty supplies
- How Instagram’s love of food pics has shaped how chefs approach their cooking
- Divorce under 30 isn’t unique, but it is often uniquely isolating and lonely
- Williamsburg is basically ‘Wellnessburg,’ and we have the healthy travel guide to prove it
- 5 ways to participate in effective activism, according to two experts
- 6 luxe African safaris that are making wellness a serious focus
- Reframe your life with a positive spin by cultivating an abundance mentality
- The universe has big (uncomfortable) changes in store this week, and you’d be wise not to resist them
- 9 healthy desk snacks nutritionists always keep at work
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- The one product a dermatologist won’t get on an airplane without
- I’m a massage therapist, and this pre-bed bodywork melts tension for better sleep
- How to push yourself from your comfort zone, according to your Myers-Briggs personality
- I wore a chic vibrator ring in public so I could experience pleasure…anywhere
- The wellness trends we want to say goodbye to in 2019 for a happier, healthier 365 days ahead
- Infuse your 2020 travel itinerary with these 7 transformative experiences
- Zodiac intel that basically turned us into human Co-Star apps this year
- This low-sugar, gluten-free banana bread will be your new favorite breakfast
- The 6 healthiest cereals to always stock in your pantry, according to a dietitian
- I’m a dietitian and these are my top 5 sources of gut-healthy carbs
- The rise in plant-based eating may help us finally end diet culture for good
- Real talk: How bad of an idea is the carnivore diet, anyways?
- Resistant starch is yet another gut-healthy reason to eat carbs
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- You Gotta Try These Keto Hazelnut Muffins (With A Cup Of Coffee, Of Course)
- Scientists say these 5 healthy habits extend your healthspan by 10 years
- If You’re Looking For A Reset, Consider J.Lo’s No-Carb, No-Sugar Diet
- The 6 healthiest canned soups to always keep in your pantry, according to a dietitian
- Make healthy eating a reality with this delicious 28-day plan
- How To Make Restaurant-Level Keto Cauliflower Breadsticks
- 6 Natural Ways To Maintain Healthy NAD+ Levels As You Age
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- Here Are Our 20 Best Recipes From 2019 (People Are Really Into Keto)
- I’m a functional medicine doctor, and this is the most common mistake with intermittent fasting
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- Yes, Vegan Keto Recipes Do Exist: Here Are 12 Of Our Favorites
- Given everything we learned about food this year, here’s how we’ll be eating in 2020
- Trying To Stay Keto Over The Holidays? You’ll Need These 5 Tips
- You Must Try This Keto-Friendly Pumpkin Pie Recipe (+ Keto Whipped Cream!)
- Why some healthy eating experts say intuitive eating is the future of nutrition
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- Here’s what it truly means to follow a sustainable diet that’s good for you *and* the planet
- What it’s really like to spend 24 hours at an Ayurvedic wellness retreat
- How to do wheel pose the right way, straight from a yoga pro
- I’m a PT, and I stretch for 5 minutes every day—here’s why that’s the magic number
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- Checks+Balanced: How a freelance publicist living in Puerto Rico budgets for wellness
- I’m a movement specialist, and this is the best stretch based on your height
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- Williamsburg is basically ‘Wellnessburg,’ and we have the healthy travel guide to prove it
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ABOUT YOU • ABOUT US
Reuters’s research experts conducted a survey in 19 super-major cities in the world, concerning protecting women from sexual and cultural abuse, women & health care, women & economy, and women & education.
According to the survey, women living in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, have the worst situation, followed by Karachi, the capital of Pakistan, Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and New Delhi, the capital of India. The best cities for women’s living environment are London, then Tokyo and Paris.
Every aspect of City Women®’s daily post tells them how to care for and care for themselves.
Many people will compare City Women’s fashion with the general fashion trends, but this should not be the case. The range of fashion trends is very limited, and city women’s fashion pursues an “art of life.” Its realm should be to extract the essence from the fashion trend, to refine the true meaning of city women’s fashion, to enrich women’s aesthetics and taste, and to create their own beautiful temperament. City Women’s fashion pursuit is not a passive follow-up, but a rational and skilled control. City Women’s fashion is an all-encompassing concept. Its tentacles penetrate into every aspect of city women’s life. Generally speaking, city women’s fashion should bring them a pleasant mood and elegance, pureness, taste and extraordinary feelings, giving women different temperament and charm, reflect the extraordinary taste of women, exquisite, and reveal personality. Every woman has her own fashion, and city women fashion is a cyclical change.
At a time when work and life are getting faster and faster, what health problems are plaguing our busy city women? What are the similarities and concerns of people living in different cities at different ages?
The over-expenditure of physical strength and mental strength is threatening the health of city women. the survey suggests 73.2% of the respondents were in poor health or worried, and the proportion of women with poor health was 10% higher than that of men. This situation is related to (some) women’s own weak body condition and most women are often involved in housework in addition to work. The survey also showed that sub-health has been growing a clear trend of youthfulness, and the health status of young people was far worse than that of middle-aged people. Young City Women need more planned fitness routine and health tips.
- 5 yoga breathing techniques to cultivate chill vibes on and off the mat
March 20, 2020 at 02:00AM by CWC
When practicing yoga, it’s easy to get caught up trying to nail each posture, but postures and movement are just one component of yoga. Yoga breathing techniques, or pranayama (prana means “life force” and yama means “control”), is also an essential element of yoga that enhances and deepens your practice.
“Yoga without breath isn’t really yoga,” says Reiki master and certified yoga and meditation teacher Nina Endrst. “The breath is the foundation of the entire practice. Marrying movement and breath is what makes yoga such a special and powerful experience. Using the breath as our guide draws us back to the body and the current moment.”
“Using the breath as our guide draws us back to the body and the current moment.” —Nina Endrst, yoga and meditation teacher
Still, yoga breathing techniques and exercises are often met with resistance, which Endrst believes is because it makes many feel vulnerable since it is often an unfamiliar practice. “We have trouble sitting that close to ourselves sometimes, but that is when deep healing and connection take place,” she says.
Whether you’re on the mat or out in the real world, living life, yoga breathing techniques are great tools to have at your disposal for whenever you need to clear and calm your mind and body. So are you ready to experience the magic of breathing for yourself? Here are five yoga breathing techniques to try, the benefits of each, plus tips on how to incorporate them into your own asana practice.
5 yoga breathing techniques
1. Breath awareness
This yoga breathing technique is about becoming aware of your breath. How does it sound and feel? Is it moving? Where do you feel the breath in your body? “Sometimes, simply noticing what is happening with your breath is enough to create a major shift,” Endrst says. “Bringing attention to our breathing patterns, whether on or off the mat, is incredibly soothing for the nervous system.”
2. Lion’s breath
Lion’s breath is a powerful yoga breathing technique that quickly helps you get out of your own mind and drop into your body, as well as relax the muscles in your face and jaw where we tend to hold a lot of tension. Plus, it’s fun to practice.
Here’s how to do it: “Close your eyes and take a full, deep inhale through the nose,” Endrst says. “On the exhale, open the mouth wide and stick out the tongue. Empty completely, making a ‘ha’ sound.” Repeat for a few rounds.
3. Breath extension
Feeling anxious? Try the breath extension technique to move stagnant energy in the body. Start by inhaling for four to five counts through the nose. Hold for four counts. Then exhale deeply through the mouth while making a sound. “Let the sound come through, no matter how weird or uncomfortable it is,” Endrst says. “Sound is a healthy and healing vibrational tool.”
4. Sitali breath
“Sitali breath is an excellent breathwork technique for cooling down the body and calming yourself down if you’re feeling anxious, angry, or emotionally charged,” says Susy Markoe Schieffelin, a sound healer, Reiki master, and yoga and meditation teacher.
To practice it, form an O shape with your lips and stick your tongue out, curling the sides up. If you can’t do this, no worries. Instead, lightly clench your teeth together. Then inhale slowly and deeply through the mouth, as if you’re sipping from a straw. Next, bring in your tongue, close your mouth, and exhale through your nose. Schieffelin recommends repeating for three to five minutes, until you feel calm.
5. Breath of fire
If you’ve practiced kundalini yoga before, you’ll likely be familiar with this foundational breathing technique, which Schieffelin describes as more energizing than a cup of coffee. Begin breath of fire by sitting in a cross-legged position, with palms facing up. Touch the tips of your thumb and pointer finger together. Take a few deep, belly breaths here. Then breathe in and out, powerfully through your nose, ensuring your belly pumps in and out as you do this. “The inhale should be effortless. Focus on pushing the exhale out from your lower belly,” Schieffelin says.
Continue to breathe this way for one to three minutes at a rhythmic pace, but don’t go too quickly. If you start to feel light-headed, slow down the breath. Once finished, go back to long belly breaths as you sit quietly and let the energy of the practice integrate.
How to use yoga breathing techniques in your asana practice
As previously mentioned, breath awareness is essential during asana (posture) practice. “Often, in asana practice, you will be guided to link breath directly to the asana,” Schieffelin says. “Each movement will be tied to an inhale or an exhale. It is natural for your mind to wander during asana, so linking the breath to your practice will help you to stay present and connected to the moment.”
Typically, Endrst says, you’ll inhale while expanding, lengthening, reaching, or opening the body. And then exhaling when twisting, releasing, or grounding. Breathing in this way during asana, she adds, “unites the mind, body, and soul.”
In addition to all the benefits to glean from yoga breathing techniques, practicing yoga, in general, facilitates a holistic sense of well-being. Physically, Schieffelin says, yoga keeps the body fit and healthy, improves flexibility, increases strength, boosts metabolism, reduces inflammation, improves heart health, and more. Mentally speaking, yoga can quiet the mind, reduce stress and anxiety, and alleviate certain symptoms associated with depression. And spiritually, the modality can connect you to something greater and help you cultivate a sense of purpose. All in all, Schieffelin says, “yoga connects the mind, body, and spirit and brings us into union with our true self.”
Author Jessica Estrada | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Why pros say using peppermint oil for hair is the key to healthy strands
March 20, 2020 at 01:30AM by CWC
Peppermint is the flavor you know and love from mint chocolate ice cream, candy canes, and peppermint tea. And the extract can be added to your beauty routine for all sorts of benefits, from your skin to your manicure; however, one of its lesser-known perks is using peppermint oil for hair health.
“Peppermint is an aromatic herb in the mint family that’s found in North America and Europe,” says Hadley King, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist. Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant, which contains over 40 different chemical compounds, according to Caren Cambell, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in San Francisco. “The two main compounds are menthol and menthone,” says Dr. King.
For your hair, peppermint has been known to stimulate the hair follicles, promote growth, and rebalance the scalp, says Paula Simpson, biochemist, author, and formulation expert. Plus, since it’s an essential oil that has microbial, insecticidal, and anti-inflammatory properties, “it can help with itching of the scalp,” says Dr. King. Keep scrolling for more intel on how peppermint oil helps your hair health, plus how to incorporate it into your hair-care regimen.
Benefits of peppermint oil for hair health
Various studies have looked into the effects of using peppermint oil on your hair, and the overall findings have pointed to hair growth promoting properties, along with clarifying benefits. Though it was a study on mice, one researcher found that a three percent solution of peppermint oil led to hair growth after four weeks, says Dr. King. “More research is needed to show its ability to stimulate hair growth on humans,” she says. “The thinking is that menthol in peppermint oil is a vasodilator, so this could improve blood flow to hair follicles.” However, because it’s so potent, it should always be mixed into a carrier oil and never applied directly to the scalp.
Peppermint oil can also be a solid remedy to an itchy scalp. “Its ability to neutralize certain pathogenic micro-organisms on the skin’s surface makes it an interesting and effective ingredient for combatting a dry, itchy scalp,” says Simpson, which is something that Dr. King echoes. “Small studies have shown that the topical application of peppermint oil significantly decreased itching when used in a 0.5 to 0.1 percent solution,” she says.
When it comes to clarifying, the active ingredient is particularly beneficial for oily hair types. “Peppermint oil works best if you have oily hair, and is more difficult to use if you have dry or brittle hair,” says Dr. King. Using it regularly will regulate oil production and buildup on the scalp, which will result in more shine, too, adds hairstylist Taylor Fennema from Oscar Blandi Salon.
DIY peppermint oil hair treatments
1. Revitalizing hair and scalp oil treatment: Mix five teaspoons of avocado oil or grapeseed oil with five drops of peppermint essential oil into a bottle. Shake, then apply just one to two drops into your palm to smooth evenly through the ends of your hair. “Or you can massage the drops into your scalp and leave on for a few minutes before washing your hair,” says Simpson, who notes that this can be stored away from sunlight for about a month.
2. Scalp massage: Dr. King recommends adding a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil to about a tablespoon of a carrier oil, like jojoba oil or shea butter oil. “Massage into your scalp, leave on for 15 to 20 minutes, then wash your hair,” she says.
3. Aloe vera and peppermint oil treatment: Mix the following into a bowl: three tablespoons of aloe vera gel and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil. “Mix them together, then apply them to your scalp and then to your hair strands,” says Fennema, who recommends massaging them for about three to five minutes. “You can shampoo after 15 to 20 minutes, or leave on overnight for a deeper treatment.” Aloe vera can be clarifying for your hair, since it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Castor oil and peppermint oil treatment: Fennema says you can make a similar treatment with castor oil, which will be more nourishing—just blend together one tablespoon of castor oil, two tablespoons of olive oil, plus 10 drops of peppermint essential oil, then apply to your scalp and strands. Massage in for up to five minutes, then shampoo after 15 to 20 minutes, or leave on overnight.
Peppermint oil-infused hair-care products
Both Dr. King and Fennema recommend this peppermint oil-spiked shampoo. The tea tree oil helps to clarify and remove gunk buildup in the scalp, and then vitamins B5 and E plus glycerin help to hydrate dry hair.
Dr. King likes this shampoo because the charcoal “absorbs oil and removes product buildup, along with peppermint oil and tea tree oil.” It’s really invigorating, and leaves your strands feeling really soft thanks to biotin and aloe leaf juice.
“This organic hair oil contains sweet almond oil, soybean oil, and peppermint oil,” says Dr. King, who’s a fan. The mixture is really lightweight, but works to remove excess oils from the scalp and strands as it hydrates.
Refresh damaged hair with this drugstore shampoo, which contains tea tree oil, peppermint, and witch hazel, all of which cleanse the scalp for healthier hair.
For a stronger treatment, this balancing oil works wonders to rebalance the moisture levels in your hair and scalp. It’s got a potent mix of peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, cedarwood, and sunflower seed oil to give your strands a reset.
With a light lather, this minty-fresh shampoo cleanses your hair and scalp with matcha tea extract (to soften the hair), chia and hemp oils to strengthen, and sunflower seed extract to add shine, along with peppermint to clarify any buildup.
While you’re tending to your strands, check out these 7 overnight hair masks that replenish as you snooze. And this is how hemp oil is another superstar ingredient for hair health.
Author Rachel Lapidos | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- If your anxiety surrounding COVID-19 is higher than ever, science says there’s a reason
March 20, 2020 at 01:00AM by CWC
Over the course of the last week—since COVID-19 became a legitimate concern in New York City, where I live—my anxiety has been debilitating. For days, I’ve been on the verge of tears—or in tears. My heart is pounding and there’s a knot in my stomach that my usual “calm down” toolkit of exercise, meditation, and a daily dose of prescribed SSRIs (aka antidepressants), hasn’t been able to fix.
These feelings have made doing even the smallest things, like feeding myself or getting dressed in the morning, seem impossible. And I know I’m not alone in this. Talking to friends and scrolling through Instagram, it’s clear that we are all stressed and scared in a way that’s hard to conceptualize, and it’s only gotten worse as the streets—in NYC, at least—have begun to clear out and take on an eerie sense of apocalyptic “WTF is going on”-ness.
There’s a scientific reason as to why our brains respond to uncertain situations—like a pandemic with no known cure—with anxious thoughts and feelings. “The ability to use past experiences and information to predict the future allows us to increase the odds of desired outcomes, while avoiding or bracing ourselves for future adversity,” reads a 2013 study out of Nature Reviews Neuroscience. “Uncertainty diminishes how efficiently and effectively we can prepare for the future, and thus contributes to anxiety.”
Right now, as we’re still learning more about COVID-19 seemingly every hour, there is a lot of uncertainty. “This is a new virus that seemed to appear out of the blue, it’s spreading rapidly, people can be asymptomatic and still pass it on, and there’s still no cure or vaccine,” says Caroline Vaile Wright, PhD. “With all of those unknowns, even if you’re somebody who’s not necessarily worried about your own health, you may be worried about others in your life who are more vulnerable.”
In other words: There are a lot of reasons why you might be feeling upset or distressed, and getting sick is only one of them.
All of these unknowns have begun to manifest themselves in ways that impact our day-to-day lives, disrupting the routines we rely on for a sense of normalcy. Many of us are telecommuting for an indeterminate amount of time (hello, it’s me from my couch), isolating ourselves for the sake of our own and other people’s safety, and not totally sure about what’s going to happen next.
“Part of what’s really challenging with uncertainty is that it interferes with our ability to plan, and it reminds us of all the things that are out of our control,” says Dr. Wright. “And any time that things start to feel out of our control, we tend to reach for things that feel in our control.” In addition to driving people to panic-buy dozens of rolls of toilet paper, this can also trigger things like eating and substance abuse disorders, because these things can “make you feel like you’re gaining control on a particular area of your life when everything else feels out of control,” says Dr. Wright.
“Part of what’s really challenging with uncertainty is that it interferes with our ability to plan, and it reminds us of all the things that are out of our control.” —Caroline Vaile Wright, PhD
Depending on where you are in the world right now (some major cities, like New York and Los Angeles, have shut down bars and restaurants while San Francisco residents are required to stay home), you may be feeling this more intensely. “There is a felt sense of anxiety in the air—the environments we walk through every day have changed and we’re affected by that,” says psychotherapist Sarah Crosby. “And anxiety is a social contagion, which means we can ‘catch’ anxiety [from] others. Our own levels of anxiety can become triggered by speaking with someone else who is anxious—something we’ve been doing a lot more of recently.”
It doesn’t help that one of our main defenses against COVID-19 is social distancing. “We are by nature people who need each other and need connection,” says Dr. Wright, adding that this type of isolation “absolutely” makes these anxious feelings worse. “Socially connecting to others, even virtually—particularly those in vulnerable populations who have had to quarantine or self-isolate—is really important.”
Since it’s impossible to avoid all of the uncertainty that’s happening right now, Dr. Wright instead suggests that we try to develop a resistance to it. “It doesn’t mean you have to like it or approve of what’s going on, but if you can accept that this is how it is right now, you can stop trying to fight it and develop some patience to and understanding that it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better,” she says.
The best way to do this, pros say, is to rationally prepare for what might happen: If you have to quarantine for two weeks, do you have the supplies to be able to do that? If your kids’ school gets cancelled, or you have to work from home, what can you do to make that sustainable? “It’s taking this seriously, but also recognizing that panicking is an ineffective way to handle the situation right now,” says Dr. Wright.
It’s also important to practice self-care through sleeping, eating healthfully, taking care of your mental health, connecting with others, and maintaining as much of your normal routine as is safe and possible. And while it may tempting to refresh the news every few minutes to stay up to date with what’s going on, give yourself permission to take a break.
As I sit in my makeshift home office, with candles lit and enough canned chickpeas and toilet paper to last for the next two weeks, I’ve muted the news notifications on my phone, put on pants, and am doing the best I can to get through this. Which for now, is all any of us can do.
Author Zoe Weiner | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Why intermittent fasting has been a staple of long-living Blue Zones cultures for decades
March 20, 2020 at 12:00AM by CWC
Blue Zones founder and The Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook author Dan Buettner has spent his career studying the longest-living people on the planet. Teaching people longevity-boosting habits is his bread and butter, so to speak. His travels and research have shown him a lot about how often people who live long, healthy lives eat and live.
While there are definitely dietary patterns that are solidly connected with longevity (ahem, the Mediterranean diet), Buettner has also found something else that many centenarians have in common: a natural tendency towards intermittent fasting, aka limiting eating to certain time periods within a given day or week.
“Some centenarians in Blue Zones regions [eat] large breakfasts and smaller dinners,” he said in a recent Ask Me Anything in Well+Good’s Cook With Us Facebook group. “Breakfast was traditionally a time when people would eat after fasting for a long period of time, breaking their fast, and there is research that going back to that tradition has positive benefits, even if you eat your dinner at 6 p.m. and eat your breakfast at 7 a.m,” he wrote. This might not sound like IF, but it’s very similar—the 16:8 plan, for example, has people eat for an eight-hour window during the day and fast for the remaining 16 hours.
Beyond being an OG practice in Blue Zones areas, there is research connecting intermittent fasting with living longer. “There is an association between intermittent fasting and longevity, but it’s important to note that this is a correlation, not necessarily a cause-and-effect,” says integrative medicine doctor Jill Baron, MD.
One factor: Intermittent fasting may help reduce the risk of certain chronic and age-related diseases, thereby potentially helping with longevity. A 2017 study found that people who fasted for five days a month for three months (eating 800-1100 calories per day) had lower blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and cholesterol levels—all biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease—than people who ate normally for three months. A very small 2018 study on people with Type 2 diabetes found that medically-overseen intermittent fasting (where they fasted for 24 hours, three days a week) reduced participants’ insulin resistance, which ultimately allowed them to control their blood sugars without medication.
Curious about intermittent fasting? Here’s the 411 from a top dietitian:
Additionally, there is some evidence that the act of fasting itself (in specific settings) seems to promote longer life. A 2019 review found that eating for six hours and fasting for 18 hours daily “can trigger a metabolic switch from glucose-based to ketone based energy” that allows for increased longevity along with a reduced risk of diseases like cancer. (This is similar to the mechanism behind the ketogenic diet, which forces your body into burning ketones (fats) for energy instead of carbohydrates.) A mouse study from 2019 also found that mice who fasted (whether it was through eating fewer calories or eating a large amount of calories once per day) just lived longer than mice who ate normally.
However, it’s important to note that research in this area is still super preliminary—many of the above-mentioned studies are either on mice or on super small populations of people, meaning that we don’t definitively know if intermittent fasting helps people live longer. There are also concerns from other experts in the health space about intermittent fasting’s safety for people who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or who have a history of disordered eating.
Buettner also acknowledges that implementing intermittent fasting might be harder for the average American than for octogenarians living in Sicily or Okinawa. For example, you may not get home from work until 7 p.m., so therefore you wouldn’t eat dinner until 8 p.m.—and thus not be able to eat breakfast the next day until noon. But he says that in cases like these, 10 hours of fasting is still doable; just eat your breakfast at 9 a.m. the next day instead of earlier. “Personally, I find good results for energy and my overall health in shortening my eating time, meaning I’ll go for some periods where I eat all my meals within an eight or 10 hour window,” he says.
Of course what you eat matters, too; if you fast for 10 or 16 hours a day but eat a diet high in sugar and ultra-processed food, you likely aren’t getting a ton of longevity benefits. “Something also to know about intermittent fasting is that it may cause someone to overeat later,” Dr. Baron adds. “That will end up increasing the risk for obesity, diabetes, and other factors that are not associated with longevity.” (The best way to eat for longevity, according to Blue Zones research, is to eat a variety of plants at each meal and minimizing sugar and high-glycemic foods.)
While there does seem to be a connection between intermittent fasting and longevity, both experts emphasize that what you eat is really what matters most. And if you’re hungry, it’s certainly okay—healthy, in fact–to eat. Besides, part of the joy of living a long, healthy life is enjoying meals with loved ones. And that’s true regardless of what time you’re eating.
Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- This garlicky 5-ingredient herb sauce is a neurologist’s favorite part of every meal
March 19, 2020 at 11:29PM by CWC
There’s a general consensus among chefs and home cooks that garlic makes everything taste better. Seriously, name a single savory dish it doesn’t completely change for the better. You can’t. And yet there’s one more reason to add it to all your meals: It’s a favorite of two brain doctors.
Dean Sherzai, MD, PhD, and Ayesha Sherzai, MD, a husband and wife team of neurologists, have made it their mission to spread the word about how eating a healthy diet is an essential part of protecting your brain health. One food in particular they love for all of its many benefits is garlic, and it’s no surprise that it’s one of the stars in their use-on-everything garlic tahini sauce recipe.
The doctors shared their garlic tahini herb sauce with Blue Zones, and the simple mix only contains a handful of ingredients: garlic (of course!), tahini, lemon, almond milk, and chopped dill. It only takes seconds to put together, and it’s something you can use all week long. You can use it to dress your salads, drizzle it over a Mediterranean-style grain bowl, or use it as a dip for crudité.
No matter what you’re planning on making this week—be it roasted veggies, tacos, or even baked potatoes—drizzle on some of this garlic tahini sauce recipe. You can’t go wrong with a mix that tastes amazing and gives your brain a boost.
Garlic tahini herb sauce
Yields 4 servings (makes about 1 cup)
1/2 cup tahini
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons chopped dill
sea salt to taste
1. Whisk all ingredients together.
2. Dress your salads, drizzle over grain bowls, or use it as a veggie dip. Keeps in the refrigerator for a week.
Why garlic is such a healthy choice:
Want more sauces? You can find a new healthy option based on your favorite flavor profile. Then try this simple three-ingredient stir-fry sauce on your favorite veggies.
Author Tehrene Firman | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- 7 best noise-cancelling headphones to make WFH calls more manageable
March 19, 2020 at 10:00PM by CWC
Who here has ever tried to take a work call in a busy coffee shop or a cramped apartment with roommates? The slightest bit of noise is wildly distracting, and you feel like a jerk when you say, “I’m sorry, I missed what you just said,” for the 37th time. What you need, my friend, is a quality pair of noise cancelling headphones.
Noise cancelling headphones don’t have to be big and bulky—there are so many sleek, foldable versions that won’t ruin your look. And if headphones aren’t your jam, there are some pretty amazing noise-cancelling earbuds on the market.
Best noise-cancelling headphones
1. SONY WH-1000XM3 HEADPHONES, $275
These silver Sony headphones with gold accents make noise cancelling headphones extra special. This pair is bluetooth compatible, and has a built-in rechargeable battery with a 30-hour lifespan. The foldable design with swivel earcups make this pair super easy to store and tote around.
2. BOSE HEADPHONES 700, $399
Bose makes super sleek headphones with 11 levels of noise cancellation, meaning you can eliminate as much or as little noise as you’d like. It’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can get up to 20 hours of wireless battery life.
3. MARSHALL MID A.N.C. HEADPHONES, $198
Covered in a textured black vinyl, and emblazoned with a brass-colored Marshall logo, these headphones are reminiscent of a retro speaker stack. They actively filter out ambient noise, and if your device supports Bluetooth aptX, you can also enjoy improved audio quality. When you have just the noise cancelling or the bluetooth turned on, you get 30 hours of battery life. With both on, you’ll get about 20.
4. JABRA ELITE HEADPHONES, $250
Complete with eight built-in microphones and active noise cancellation, these headphones are perfect for making crisp and clear calls. These headphones can analyze your sound environment and automatically shift the level of noise cancelling you receive. A single charge will give you up to 36 hours of battery. You can also use them to talk to the built-in Amazon Alexa.
Best noise-cancelling earbuds
1. APPLE AIRPODS PRO, $249
Unlike the original Apple AirPods, the pro version are noise cancelling. But, if you need to hear the world around you, you can turn on Transparent Mode to let the sound in. The wireless charging case delivers more than 24 hours of battery life.
2. JABRA ELITE EAR BUDS, $200
Jabra’s earbuds are perfect if you want a bit more security than wireless earbods and provide while still having the ability to move around. Three microphones and background noise reduction capabilities make for super clear voice on calls. You can get up to 8 hours of battery using when the noise cancelling is on, and up to 13 hours when it’s off. You’ll also have one touch access to Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
3. SONY WF-1000XM3 WIRELESS EARBUDS, $228
Sony’s wireless earbuds have smart listening capabilities to automatically switch to ambient sound mode based on your activity. With the carrying case, these earbuds have a battery life of up to 24 hours, and a quick 10 minute charge will get you 90 minutes of play time. They’re also Amazon Alexa compatible.
Author Kara Jillian Brown | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Your head weighs ‘as much as a bowling ball’—these 4 stretches help you use that weight to ease neck pain
March 19, 2020 at 09:00PM by CWC
You might have heard that your head weighs about as much as a bowling ball. In reality, there’s some pretty complicated math involved in determining exactly how much weight your neck is carting around on a daily basis. What we all share in common, however, is that we need stretches for neck tension in our lives. Like, yesterday.
Keren Day, DC, a chiropractor and professional stretcher at Racked stretching studio in New York City, says that we’re all pretty well equipped to deal with the massive ordeal of, um… having a head. The problem arises when we continually turn to unnatural types of movements. “Our bodies were designed to hold our head’s structure. The issues start with all of the unnatural postures that put repetitive stress on our bodies. Activities like looking down on our phones and computers all day increase the stress and pressure on your neck,” says Dr. Day.
Over time, text neck and other bad posture habits put us at risk for chronic neck pain, tension headaches, and even discomfort in the shoulder area. So in this brave new world in which so many of us spend typing away (and jutting our heads so far forward), Dr. Day says you should bookmark a few stretches to move through when your noggin’ feels like weight that is just too much of a burden to bear.
4 stretches for neck tension that use the weight of your head as a counterbalance
1. The chair forward fold
Fairly straight forward, this stretch asks you to sit on the edge of your chair and drape your torso over your lower body while releasing the head neck and shoulder. “Traction can feel amazing on your neck,” says Dr. Day. “Any kind of hang where your head can just wobble around feels great.” Flop over and set your timer for just two minutes and I guarantee your neck will feel amazing.
2. Foam Roller ‘T’
“This is one of our favorite moves of all time, and it uses gravity to help correct and realign your spine,” says Dr. Day. “It also feels amazing after a long day at your desk, using your phone, or just many hours sitting.” To do it:
- Lie vertically on your foam roller. Make sure your head and neck are supported by a pillow or a blanket.
- Let your spine relax against the foam roller as your arms lie beside you at shoulder height straight out just shy of shoulder height. “Gravity will allow your body to correct its posture, open up your chest and shoulders, and release tension in the neck,” says Dr. Day.
- Lie there for one to two minutes to start, then you can go for as long as you like (between five and eight minutes)
3. Side neck stretch
- Sit at the edge of your chair so that your spine aligns itself. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart. Let your shoulders and arms relax by your side or in your lap.
- Keeping your head in line with your shoulders, slowly and gently bring your right ear towards your right shoulder without allowing that shoulder to creep up.
- Hold in that position for about one to two seconds and then gently tilt your head over towards the other shoulder. Hold for one to two seconds and then repeat the movement six times.
4. Head tilts
- Sit at the edge of your chair so your spinal aligns itself. Place your feet about shoulder-width apart once more. Let your shoulders and arms relax by your side or in your lap.
- Keeping your head in line with your shoulders slowly and gently start by tucking your chin. Next, gently look up extending your head and neck hold for one to two seconds and then look down towards your feet hold for one to two seconds. Repeat six times.
Author Kells McPhillips | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- These 5 healthy foods are totally safe to keep in the pantry instead of the fridge
March 19, 2020 at 08:00PM by CWC
Just like that we’ve all got plenty of time to cook more at home. (Be careful what you wish for, right?) Because we’re living in such uncertain times, it’s a good idea to stock up on food, but being prepared presents another problem: figuring out where to put everything. With a lack of space, it’s a good idea to know the foods that don’t need to be refrigerated—as well as the foods that probably do.
It’s a very American mindset to stick the majority of a grocery haul in the refrigerator (you won’t find Europeans putting eggs or bread in there), and while some foods definitely require a consistently chilly atmosphere, chances are that you can utilize your space outside the fridge more than you may think.
5 healthy foods that don’t need to be refrigerated
1. nut butters
Whether your go-to is peanut, almond, or something more unexpected, Salzman and Cotter both say all nut butters can be safely stored in the pantry or on the counter. “I actually find that my nut butters don’t dry out as quickly when I store them outside the fridge,” says certified nutritionist and Nourishing Superfood Bowls author Lindsay Cotter, CN. (That said, once opened, nut butters will stay fresh twice as long in the fridge, says Allison Scheinfeld, RD, a Brooklyn-based registered dietitian. But they’ll still be good for months in the pantry.)
2. non-dairy milk
If you’re stocking up on items meant to last a while, Cotter suggests buying shelf-stable non-dairy milk, which doesn’t require refrigeration the way cow’s milk does. “It lasts up to three months,” she says.
2. hearty produce
“Hearty fruits like citrus, apples, pears, and tomatoes can all be stored on the counter and are foods that don’t need to be refrigerated,” says healthy cooking expert Pamela Salzman. Ditto goes for vegetables like onions, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and basil. In fact, potatoes (of all types) are best stored in a dark place in the pantry.
All types of bread, including English muffins, Salzman says, will be okay on the counter. They won’t last as long as in the fridge, so only keep them out if you plan to eat them soon. You’ll know when your bread is going bad when blue mold starts to sprout up. Then, it’s time to throw it out.
There are many health benefits connected to cooking with ghee, including boosting gut health, and it can be stored right next to your olive oil—outside of the fridge, says Salzman. Storing it at room temperature makes it easier to scoop out of the jar, too.
5. non-dairy salad dressings and condiments
As long as your condiments don’t have dairy in them, Salzman says that they are fine to keep on the counter. This includes ketchup, mustard, vinaigrettes, soy sauce, and peanut sauce. Mayonnaise, on the other hand, requires refrigeration.
Besides utilizing counter space more, both Cotter and Salzman say that organizing your foods (in the fridge and out) is important, too. That way, you can better see what you have and cut down on food waste. “Organize your pantry with shelf risers for cans, turntables for spices and oils, baskets for snacks, and jars for cereal, grains, and flours,” says Cotter. After all, now is as good of a time as any to get organized.
When it comes to the fridge, Salzman recommends bringing food that needs to get used up to the front and planning your meals around those items first. “If you bought too much produce and you won’t use it before it goes bad, freeze it,” she says.
Putting these tips in place will help both with meal planning (you’ll easily see what foods you want to base your meals around) and making sure your bounty won’t go to waste. And if you did buy too much, consider donating it to others in need. Now more than ever, let’s look out for each other.
Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Does dairy really cause inflammation? It’s complicated
March 19, 2020 at 07:00PM by CWC
When it comes to inflammation, there are certain foods that have a clear connection to helping or hurting it. Sugar is a definite driver of inflammation, while antioxidant-rich berries are for sure in the beneficial camp. But when it comes to dairy, there’s a lot of confusion, even among healthy food experts themselves.
For some people, eating dairy can wreck havoc on their bodies. The morning after pizza night, they may wake up to newly sprouted pimples. Or it may mean dealing with bloat or other digestive woes. Other people seem to have no problem with dairy, able to down a glass of milk (yes, from a cow) with absolutely no symptoms whatsoever.
Because dairy seems to cause inflammatory responses in some people but not everyone, it’s tricky to know if it can be classified as an inflammatory food or not. It also shouldn’t be overlooked at dairy is full of nutritional benefits, containing calcium, vitamin D, and in the case of yogurt, probiotics. Could something so nutrient-rich really cause an inflammatory response? Here, a doctor, a nutrition expert, and a scientific researcher all give their input, based on their professional experience and research.
What makes dairy so complicated
According to nutrition expert Katie Boyd, there are several reasons why dairy is difficult to classify as inflammatory or not. The first reason is that unlike singular foods like sugar or berries, there are a lot of different types of dairy. It’s not unusual for someone to not have any negative physical reactions to hard cheeses, for example, but unable to process soft cheeses. Doctor and University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine clinical professor Terry Wahls, MD, says that in her research and clinical work, she’s found that many people are able to digest fermented dairy (such as yogurt) easier than milk or cheese.
Boyd also says that the different ways dairy is made play a factor, too. “Some of the clients I work with have a sensitivity to corn or soy, but would only have a negative physical reaction to some types of dairy. It took some detective work to find out that the dairy causing the reaction was not grass-fed, which meant the cows the milk was sourced from likely had a diet full of corn and soy,” she says. “Many people often don’t think of animal feed playing a part in the end result of their food, but it actually can.”
Dr. Wahls says genetics play a role in how well someone can process dairy, too. “People whose ancestors [ate or produced a lot of dairy] have a different set of genes and a different microbiome makeup than those whose ancestors didn’t eat much dairy,” she says, which can make certain populations more sensitive to dairy products. But regardless of ancestry, she’s very clear that dairy has long been proved to be beneficial for infants and children, playing an important role in growth and development.
Does dairy cause inflammation for everyone?
There is still a lot of debate on this topic—because it’s not yet totally clear through research whether dairy is inflammatory for everyone (like sugar) or just inflammatory for people who are allergic or sensitive to dairy.
One expert, Suzanne Judd, PhD, a nutritional epidemiologist, used blood samples to analyze the levels of inflammation markers in the blood of thousands of people to create an inflammation score for various food groups. Her research team found that dairy was linked to slightly reducing inflammation—the caveat being the opposite was true for those who had a lactose allergy or sensitivity.
“Dairy gets a bad rap for the same reason gluten gets a bad rap, which is because a portion of the population doesn’t tolerate it very well and the immune system gets ramped up in response to that. But there are plenty of people who can eat dairy and not have an immune response,” Dr. Judd says.
However, Dr. Wahls is an adamant believer that dairy causes inflammations in the vast majority of adults, even if research hasn’t fully caught up yet. As a doctor who specializes in chronic illness, she says she’s numerously seen patients’ symptoms subside after cutting out dairy. (She also advocates not eating gluten or sugar.) “Some studies correlate high dairy consumption with cognitive impairment, which is a form of inflammation,” she says. “Of course it’s important to clarify that this is a correlation, not a clear cause-and-effect, but the connection is still there.” (It’s also important to point out other studies have found the opposite to be true or have found that connection be inconclusive.)
Again, there are definitely some people who struggle with dairy and thus can have an inflammatory response to it. As you can imagine, people who are allergic to cow’s milk have been found to have increased inflammation after eating dairy products, since the dairy triggers an inflammation response from the body’s immune system. Additionally, people with gut issues (like Chron’s disease or celiac disease) might develop something called secondary lactose intolerance, which is where inflammation from these disease impacts the gut’s ability to produce lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. But the dairy itself doesn’t cause inflammation; rather, inflammation caused the sensitivity to dairy.
Okay, so should you give up dairy or keep eating it?
While the jury may still be out scientifically on dairy and inflammation, there are some clear ways to know whether or not you should still shop in the dairy aisle. Boyd’s biggest piece of advice: Try cutting out dairy for a month and slowly add back in different types to see how your body reacts. “I suggest people keep a food journal writing down the type of dairy they eat—including if it’s grass-fed or not—and if they noticed any changes in how they feel.” Then, you can use your journal as a guide to help figure out what diet choices make you feel your very best.
To make up for the nutrients that you’d be missing from dairy, Dr. Wahls says there are other ways to get them. “Spinach, for example, is a great source of calcium, and the majority of nut milk-based yogurts have probiotics added to them,” she says.
Dr. Wahls generally advises her clients with a family history of cancer, cognitive decline, or other chronic conditions to minimize dairy consumption since they might be more sensitive to it, although she also acknowledges that it can be difficult to do so. “You have to be willing to give up momentary pleasures for potential long-term benefits, so it really is a personal choice,” she says.
It’s human nature to crave clear cut answers, but the reality is that the truth about dairy is still…well, cloudy. The best you can do is make an informed judgement call about what choice is best for you. But even still, unless you’re gravely allergic, one slice of pizza topped with cheese certainly isn’t the end of the world.
Watch the video below to see a list of five foods that fight inflammation:
Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Hey, it’s okay if you’re not checking everything off of your to-do list right now
March 19, 2020 at 06:00PM by CWC
There was a minute—a sparking, optimistic minute—when I thought I’d emerge from this national emergency with the screenplay for my pandemic-themed rom-com. That sounds terrible, but you know you thought the same thing, too. In fact, with ample time in self-isolation among the spread of COVID-19, there’s this big push that you should be tackling all those huge goals. You finally have time to write the great American novel, learn how to make stromboli, release your bedroom lo-fi pop album—whatever. And while I’m a huge fan of creativity and self-improvement, let’s be crystal clear about something here: you just have to do the bare minimum. Everything else is a bonus.
“A scarcity mindset is what encourages this must have/get done mentality,” says psychotherapist Jennifer Teplin, LCSW. “Thinking that if you don’t achieve or get something immediately you’ll miss out creates anxiety and oftentimes disappointment.”
I know you may not be getting that message, and that’s because of a certain strain of thinking, a virus that derives from the American obsession with being busy. We have all this “free time” encouraging us to be productive, so we’re not only supposed to use it wisely but optimize it. And that can add a lot of unnecessary worry and anxiety for people who, I don’t know, already have worry and anxiety about their entire world collapsing.
You don’t need those extra negative feelings because you failed to work on that huge project, or don’t have the emotional energy for your French lesson. So rather than focusing on all those enormous goals you should be working towards, flip the mindset and notice all that you’ve already taken care of.
In my household—the two-bedroom I share with my roommate, Amber—we call this “doing the bare minimum.” Pre-pandemic, we had our respective struggles with mental health that have been impacted by seriously rough times, so we celebrate going to therapy, having a gym day, and eating a proper dinner. Doing the bare minimum looked different every day, but it’s wrapped around the humanizing elements that allow you to be a well human being.
Post-pandemic, I’ve been physically ill and living with my two biggest triggers for depressive episodes: being alone and feeling trapped. Doing the bare minimum has become hilariously extra, a lifeline that simply means maintaining basic order and structure within certain day-to-day practices. The National Alliance on Mental Health actually supports the idea that routine and ritual is needed to stay centered, and creating a bare minimum of healthy routinized habits accomplishes just that.
“It’s extremely important to keep some sort of routine—even if it needs modification,” says Teplin. “For example, if you are someone who routinely goes to the gym, take your daily break and spend that amount of time walking around or doing an at-home workout. In times of uncertainty regaining some autonomy and control will feel good, so feel free to schedule out daily activities even if they’re only influencing your life.”
My chosen practices include getting dressed in a real outfit before work, washing my hands rigorously, showering at least every other day, eating three true meals, hula hooping, watching an episode of Mad Men, and FaceTiming a loved one as often as possible. I’ve been really good about regularly hitting those practices because I know mental and physical health is at stake. But on the day when I fail (not if, when), I hope I have self-compassion.
At the top of every bare minimum list is simply “survive.” Do what you need to do in order to function in a time with endless restrictions but no rules. Keep your to-do list if it adds something to your life, but don’t give yourself additional grief if things don’t get everything crossed off.
Final disclaimer: we know art is healing, necessary, and important in times of duress. If this crisis does fuel your creativity positively, please let it! But it’s really okay if you lean toward baser life comforts right now because you simply can’t put in the emotional energy. You don’t need to use this time to become F. Scott Fitzgerald (i.e., writing thinly-veiled books about your life and constantly drunk). You just need to keep doing the bare minimum.
Author Mary Grace Garis | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Meet the new generation of clay masks that don’t dry out your skin
March 19, 2020 at 05:00PM by CWC
If you’re a face mask fan, chances are you’ve been through this scenario: You slather on a clay mask to draw gunk out of your pores, only to have it shrivel up on your skin 10 minutes later—leaving your complexion really dry. Clay has useful benefits to your skin, though, so it’s a good thing that we’re in a new era of non-drying clay masks that give you a still-hydrated glow.
“The purpose of the clay in a face mask is to draw out impurities from your skin,” says Arash Akhavan, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with The Dermatology and Laser Group in New York City. “The main problem is that people with sensitive skin have classically stayed away from clay masks because of how drying they are. But we’ve definitely seen a toning down of that, and now, a lot of them are more hydrating.”
With the new generation of clay masks, you get the pore-clearing benefits of the ingredient, plus moisturizing perks of your fave hydrating skin-care MVPs. “Clay is something to look for if you have combination, oily, or acne skin, or if you feel like you have a lot of congestion in your pores,” says Dr. Akhavan. “To also be hydrating, [the clay mask] have moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, or squalane, or it can have anti-inflammatories like chamomile extract or rosehip and other botanical oils. That way, the clay will either be less drying or less irritating, or both.” Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC, adds that hyaluronic acid is another good ingredient to look for.
A clay mask is something to use about once a week, according to Dr. Akhavan. And, pro tip: “Don’t let your clay mask get to the dry phase, which draws out moisture from the skin,” says Dr. Mudgil. (Though these new clay masks likely won’t get to that truly brittle point.) Keep scrolling to shop clay masks for your own pore-clearing regimen, below.
This clay mask, which has a base of clay from the Canadian glaciers, is really gentle since it’s packed with both hydrating and anti-inflammatory ingredients. “This one has squalane, which is really good for hydration, and it’s also anti-inflammatory, so it’s appropriate for acne-prone skin,” says Dr. Akhavan, who also points to glycerin as a key moisturizer within the mask. Other botanicals like camellia seed oil and oat extract add to how gentle it is for your skin.
Dr. Akhavan recommends this pink clay mask, which he says “is not as drying as a typical clay mask.” It has rosehip in it, which he says is beneficial for acne-prone complexions, and also camomile powder to soothe.
This mask brings you the delightful, moisture-packed texture of a gel-to-water cream, but in clay mask form. Its formula includes various mineral clays, plus pine needle (to regulate oil) and purifying mint water.
If you’re dealing with redness, this mask is a game-changer. Vitamin C-based antioxidants plus gentle aloe soothe irritation, and they’re blended with calming seaweed extract and clay to rejuvenate your skin and leave it inflammation-free. Dr. Akhavan is a fan of this one as a hydrating, pore-clearing option.
Grab this drugstore gem to clear your skin with. The fun part is that it’s a packet full of skin-purifying mud that you can get dirty with as you slather it all over your face. Besides clay, the concoction includes shea butter and glycerin to keep in moisture, and tea tree oil to help combat breakouts.
Another drugstore find? This Cosmic Clay mask, which contains detoxifying clays, glycerin, hemp oil, and blueberry extract, which works as an antioxidant to fend off free radicals.
Get a concentrated dose of vitamin C via this Tatcha mask, which is really creamy, packed with Japanese superfoods… including Japanese “beautyberry,” an antioxidant rich in polyphenols. It also has fruit-derived alpha hydroxy acids for gentle exfoliation, all packed into a gorgeous lavender hue mask that reveals brighter, softer skin.
For a basic, no-frills clay mask, this one by The Inkey List contains two different clays, plus aloe vera, glycerin, and sunflower seed oil so that it doesn’t leave your skin thirsty for moisture. And it costs less than 10 bucks.
For dermatologist-backed intel on how to fight acne, watch the video below:
Author Rachel Lapidos | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- A G.I. doc shares the best healthy foods for restoring the good bacteria in the gut
March 19, 2020 at 04:00PM by CWC
At this point, you’ll be hard up to come across a health expert who doesn’t preach the importance of gut health. Remember when we all thought it just had to do with digestive health? Gross as it may be to think about, there are millions of bacteria living in your gut, also called gut flora. The community of gut flora is referred to as the microbiome, and their health and functioning is connected to everything from brain health to mood and even skin irritation. (Although it’s important to note that there can be other causes of these issues as well.)
The key to having a healthy microbiome is making sure the good gut bacteria (also known as probiotics) outnumbers the bad bacteria that can live alongside them in your gut. When the bad guys outnumber the good for a prolonged period of time, it can have long-term implications on overall health. Scientific research continues to find correlations between gut health and cognitive function, as well as other chronic disease. And in the short term, a gut flora imbalance can lead to persistent constipation or diarrhea, bloating, and other unpleasant gut issues. So to sum it up, keeping the gut balanced is important for both short-term and long-term health.
Here, Fiber Fueled author and gastroenterologist Will Bulsiewicz, MD explains the biggest reasons why bad bacteria in the gut can start outnumbering the good. Plus, he gives his tips for restoring gut flora, bringing balance back to the microbiome.
What causes bad bacteria in the gut to outnumber the good bacteria?
1. eating unhealthy foods in excess
According to Dr. Bulsiewicz, there are a few different culprits scientifically known to diminish the good bacteria in the gut. One of the biggest (if not the biggest) reasons is eating unhealthy foods. “Refined sugar, refined flour, and saturated fats all inflict harm on the gut microbiome,” he says, as these foods are fuel for the harmful bacteria in the gut—which can ultimately throw your gut bacteria out of balance.
As if being stressed wasn’t already bad enough on its own, it’s also terrible for your gut. Have you ever gotten a stomach ache after an argument with your partner or because you’re worried about something at work? It’s a prime example. One mouse study found that chronic stress changed gut microbiota in the same ways that a high-fat diet would—but just in female mice, because life is unfair like that. While it remains to be seen that these findings translate to humans, it does suggest that stress has a huge impact on the functioning of your gut bacteria.
3. taking antibiotics
There are times when antibiotics are absolutely necessary and the most effective way to treat an infection. But Dr. Bulsiewicz says that in the process of killing the harmful bacteria that can make someone sick, antibiotics can wipe out the good bacteria, too. “When you take an antibiotic, you’re knocking down the whole damn thing,” he says. So after you’re finished your course of treatment, it’s important to start building the gut back up again.
While most people think the most effective way to restore gut flora is doubling down on probiotic supplements, capsules containing bacteria strains linked to promoting good gut health, Dr. Bulsiewicz actually warns against it. “Scientific studies have actually showed this is a less effective way to help with restoring gut flora because when you take a probiotic, you’re introducing outside foreign species of bacteria that’s not truly meant to be part of a balanced community inside of you. They’re good, but they don’t colonize,” he says, adding that the bacteria in probiotic supplements don’t stick around, the same way bacteria from foods does. “You have to rebuild your gut using food,” he says.
5 foods that help with restoring gut flora
1. plants, lots of plants
The best thing you can do to help rebuild your gut according to Dr. Bulsiewicz: fill your diet with a wide range of plant-based foods. “The single greatest predictor of a healthy gut microbiome is the diversity of plants in your diet,” he says. If you aren’t used to eating a lot of plants—including veggies, lentils, beans, fruit, and herbs—Dr. Bulsiewicz’s big tip is to go slow, building up how much you eat over time and not just going from zero to 100 overnight. It’s good advice to follow for the other foods on this list, too.
2. whole grains
There’s a reason why Dr. Bulsiewicz wrote a whole book about fiber: It’s the biggest ally of good bacteria in the gut. It’s why plants rank number one on his list of foods for restoring gut flora (all plants have fiber) and also why whole grains (which are naturally high in fiber, too) ranks high as well. Dr. Bulsiewicz says it’s crucial to get fiber from food as much as possible, not a supplement. “All the research on the benefits of fiber on the gut focus on fiber-rich foods, not fiber supplements,” he says.
3. berries, nuts, and soy
Why single out these types of plants in particular? They are three foods that are particularly high in polyphenols, aka organic plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammitory properties, which Dr. Bulsiewicz says have a powerful effect on the gut. “Polyphenols behave as a prebiotic. They’re consumed by the healthy microbes that live inside of us,” he explains. But he emphasizes that in order to reap the benefits of polyphenols, you need a healthy gut to activate their benefits, so it’s important to not ignore the other foods on this list, too.
4. prebiotic supplement
When it comes to probiotics, Dr. Bulsiewicz strongly advocates using food, not supplements, for restoring gut flora, but he is into the idea of taking a prebiotic, aka food for the bacteria living in the gut. “A prebiotic supplement can be helpful because it’s not outside bacteria; it’s just fuel for existing bacteria,” he says. “So what you’re doing when you take a prebiotic is you’re bringing the good guys back as quickly as you can.”
5. fermented foods
Because fermented foods (such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi) have naturally-occurring probiotics, they land a spot on Dr. Bulsiewicz’s list, but he says there’s no need to get too obsessive about eating them. “There aren’t great studies saying that fermented foods are good at restoring gut flora,” he says. “There is evidence that they are good for the gut when you eat them on a regular basis, but there aren’t studies saying loading up on them to heal the gut works.”
Watch the video below for more gut-healthy food ideas:
Author Emily Laurence | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- I’m a psychologist, and these are my top 8 tips for distracting yourself from overwhelming worry
March 19, 2020 at 03:00PM by CWC
Now is not the time to tell someone to stop worrying; COVID-19-related news updates are troubling to many for a variety reasons—confusion about the future of jobs, childcare, the health of loved ones, personal health, and the list goes on. Still, it’s key to learn how to stop worrying about things you can’t control because that skill set will undoubtedly make getting through this crisis with your sanity intact much simpler.
I, for one, should know—I worried early and had a breakdown of sorts a week ago about the repercussions this pandemic may have on my personal finances and future plans. Since then, I’ve adopted some new habits to interrupt my worry spirals: reading the news less, opening up the Duolingo app for a quick language lesson when I feel my thoughts getting hysterical, and taking walks through my neighborhood (since I live in a city where this is currently permissible and the streets are deserted).
Turns out, I’m on the right track with these techniques. “Distraction is great as a first-line defense against worry,” says Elana Cairo, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist at NYC-based Alma. Below, she and clinical psychologist Aimee Daramus, PsyD, offer eight techniques you can test out ASAP for halting worry loops in their tracks. Check out those tips below.
8 ways to stop yourself from worrying about things you can’t control
1. create a library of “nourishing activities” you can lean on
“[For distracting yourself from worry], any type of activity is great, but I would try to think about activities that are nourishing rather than depleting,” says Dr. Cairo. “The two main categories would be activities that bring you joy or happiness to some degree and then activities where you can get a sense of achievement.” She recommends making a list of these and keeping it posted somewhere easy to reference, so that when you feel a worry cycle coming on, interrupting it requires only minimal effort.
While Dr. Cairo notes these activities will be specific to the person, Dr. Daramus has a few suggestions to offer: working out; engaging in something that stimulates your sense of touch, like crafting; activating other sensory pleasures by looking at beautiful art (online or in books), listening to music, etc.; volunteering on or offline; finding things you can donate, “so you know someone is safer and more comfortable because of you,” she says.
“You might not notice because this happens automatically, but as soon as you start to engage in an activity, your thoughts are changing to some degree.” —Elana Cairo, PhD
If you’re especially prone to worry, Dr. Cairo advises actually scheduling some of these activities into your day as a sort of mental-health maintenance strategy. “You might not notice because this happens automatically, but as soon as you start to engage in an activity, your thoughts are changing to some degree,” she says.
2. Practice mindfulness
On that note, Dr. Cairo adds that you can and should also turn to mindfulness exercises, like meditation, as strategies for learning how to stop worrying about things you can’t control. “Even if you’re someone who’s like, ‘This is not for me,’ I would say just try it,” she says. “Because they actually guide you in noticing your thoughts and hopefully accepting them and letting them go—which is very hard to do on your own.”
3. Try grounding rituals
Breathing exercises can help, too, as can grounding rituals. “For example, using your five senses to describe your environment, running cool or warm water over your hand, or even picking something as your grounding object so that when you hold onto that object—it reminds you to stay connected to the present moment,” Dr. Cairo says. “You can also look around the room and label what you see, hear, or smell, because when you do that, it kind of says, ‘Right in this moment, I’m looking/hearing/smelling this, and I’m okay’.”
4. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a loved one
“Think to yourself, ‘If my mom or my brother or my friend said they were worried things are never going to be okay, how would I respond to them?’” Dr. Cairo says.
Most likely, you’d focus on positive evidence that things will be okay in order to reassure them rather than harping on the worst-case scenarios. Take that same approach with yourself.
5. Schedule time to worry
Set aside some time to write out your worries or even speak them out loud, as Dr. Cairo says doing so can be helpful for lessening their influence on the rest of the day. She suggests choosing a neutral space (so, not the bedroom) for this practice.
6. Experiment with cognitive-behavioral therapy
This process aligns with mindfulness in that it involves noticing your thoughts, labeling them as worried thoughts, and practicing acceptance around them. If this doesn’t work, Dr. Cairo says you can instead try balancing them out with helpful thoughts such as, ‘In this moment, I am fine.’
This is a strategy I’ve been employing in the last week—telling myself I have food, water, and shelter, so I am not as threatened as I feel—and I’ve found it to be highly effective.
7. Notice old patterns arising in this novel circumstance
Though pandemic-related worries are new, Dr. Cairo notes that if you examine them closely, familiar patterns emerge. “Even though it feels different, it’s very likely triggering similar patterns for us,” she says. Examining what those patterns may be—for me, it’s a familiar fear of running out of money—can help you employ strategies you’ve used in the past to combat them.
8. Take action
Dr. Daramus suggests some might find it helpful to set aside some time to write down a solid contingency plan. “Visualize your worry being emptied out on to the paper or into the computer screen,” she says.
While all of the above strategies can be helpful, Dr. Cairo notes it’s worth acknowledging that this is an unusual time and to practice self-compassion in light of it. “It is very much okay to have worries,” she says. “Remember that you’re not alone, and you can talk to people, therapists, whomever you need. No one should have to through this by themselves.”
Need more inspiration for learning how to stop yourself from worrying about things you can’t control? Find out which of the above techniques helped one writer become 50 percent more Zen. Plus, here’s a little primer on self care for end times.
Author Erin Bunch | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Use this bodyweight 60/60 workout to keep from getting antsy while WFH
March 19, 2020 at 02:00PM by CWC
At the end of a long day of working from home, there’s a high chance that your brain and body are filled with pent-up energy. If hours of sitting criss-cross-applesauce on your couch have you yearning to run laps around the block come quitting time, we’ve got an easy way to get some of those ants out of your (sweat) pants: Commit to moving all day long by way of the 60/60 workout plan, which basically equates to a 1-minute desk workout.
It requires zero equipment, and is easy to do no matter where you are. All you have to do is get your body moving for 60 seconds, every 60 minutes. It may sound simple, but doing a one-minute desk workout at multiple intervals throughout the day can help keep your mind and muscles from getting bored. “By moving on the hour, you’re stimulating both your mind and body, which reduces anxiety and improves performance,” says Rhys Athayde, chief experience officer and founding trainer at DOGPOUND.
He notes that it’s recommended to get up and take a walk every hour to stimulate blood flow (and to get those steps in!), but getting creative with how you’re moving can help kick things up a notch. “Finding alternative movements that are more challenging can help you focus on areas of your workouts you may need to improve on,” he says. So for example, if you want to be able to do 30 pushups in a row, doing one minute’s worth of them every day will help you build up the strength you need to get there.
While working from home, Rhys suggests setting an alarm every hour on the hour, and spending one minute doing as many of each of the below moves as you can (you’ll do a different move at every interval)—the more frequently you do it, the more reps you’ll be able to get in in under a minute. By the end of the day, you’ll have gotten a full 10-minute workout in without even realizing it (which FWIW we called as one of our 2020 Trends).
9 a.m.: Squats
10 a.m.: Side lunges
11 a.m.: Burpees
12 p.m.: Push-ups
1 p.m.: Plank
2 p.m.: Mountain climbers
3 p.m.: Curtsy squat
4 p.m.: Tuck jumps
5 p.m.: Jumping jacks
6 p.m.: Plank-to-push-up
If you’re looking for something more substantial, try this 20-minute core and glutes workout for when you just need to get your body moving. Plus, a few more tips to help you stay productive while working from home.
Author Zoe Weiner | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- Why now is the best time to start incorporating long-game skin-care ingredients
March 19, 2020 at 01:00PM by CWC
Typically, people want their skin-care products to show results immediately. While that’s fair and understandable, there are a good number of ingredients that grant your complexion amazing benefits if you just have the patience to wait as they work. What better time to start incorporating long-term skin-care ingredients in your regimen than now, when everyone’s stuck inside waiting out the effects of COVID-19?
“This is a good time to use those kinds of ingredients that have an initial downtime associated with them, where you don’t necessarily want to be going out,” says Loretta Ciraldo, MD, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skin care. “Some of these ingredients can [also] make you sensitive to the sun, and most of us will be spending a lot less time being exposed to it.”
Besides ingredients that have some downtime, there are others that just simply take a few weeks to really show their skin-boosting benefits (like vitamin C). So, in the name of upgrading your beauty regimen as you’re social distancing, keep scrolling for the four skin-care ingredients Dr. Ciraldo recommends to start using so that we all come out of our quarantines with the best skin ever.
Shop now: The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane, $6
1. Retinoids: First up is any retinoid, especially retinol in high concentrations, or tretinoin, the prescription strength option. A retinoid is a vitamin A derivative that has a slew of perks, from gentle exfoliation through increased cell turnover to stimulated collagen production to fighting acne. “At first, retinoids can give you what we call retinoid dermatitis, which means your skin gets a little red and starts peeling,” says Dr. Ciraldo. If you’re using a high percentage, like 0.5 percent or higher, she says you can see visible results after a few days, but then some of that irritation can kick in after about a week. “At that point, you can cut back to using it every other day,” says Dr. Ciraldo. “About three weeks in, you’ll really start to see an improvement in your skin.”
Shop now: Dr. Loretta Micro Peel Peptide Pads with 10% Glycolic Acid, $60
2. Glycolic acid: “A lot of times, acne-prone skin types are afraid to use ingredients like glycolic acid,” says Dr. Ciraldo. “This is because it’s common to experience purging. [Purging is when you get breakouts from trying a new active ingredient.] But that’s really just reflecting the fact that you’re getting an ungluing of the dead skin cells that are clogging your pores, which is really effective for fighting acne.” She points to strong glycolic acid products—those with over 10 percent concentrations—as mimicking the effects of a retinoid, because both are acids (retinoids are a vitamin A acid). “About a week in, you can experience purging or a little irritation, but after about three weeks, you’ll have pretty good results,” she says.
Shop now: Dr. Jart+ Peptidin Radiance Serum with Energy Peptides, $48
3. Peptides: Peptides are naturally occurring amino acid chains that make up proteins, and using them in your skin-care routine gives you a long list of benefits. “Any type of peptide won’t show results very quickly, but they really have so many benefits, like increasing hydration, supporting collagen production, and helping skin elasticity,” says Dr. Ciraldo. She notes that these take two to three weeks to really show an improvement in your skin (and they don’t cause any sort of irritation). Look for words that end in “peptide” on your ingredients list.
Shop now: Pixi Vitamin C Serum, $24
4. Antioxidants: Another one that doesn’t typically give you irritation but takes a while to show benefits? Antioxidants, which help combat free radical damage from pollution and also to brighten the skin. “Antioxidants tend to be more protective and preventative for our skin rather than necessarily giving us an immediate result,” says Dr. Ciraldo, who recommends any antioxidant-based skin-care product (not just vitamin C). Just note that if you go the vitamin C route and use one with L-ascorbic acid, it’s more potent and “can give you a little irritation, but not purging.” There are many different antioxidants to choose from, from other vitamin C derivatives to fruit-based extracts. “Typically, you won’t see big improvements for about two weeks, a lot of times up to four. Use these daily to protect your skin from the environment,” says Dr. Ciraldo.
Author Rachel Lapidos | Well and Good
Selected by CWC
- How to Run Safely Amid Coronavirus ConcernsAnswers to your most frequently asked questions as the virus continues to spread. By JORDAN SMITH MAR 23, 2020 This is a rapidly developing situation. For the most up-to-date information, check resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regularly. This story will be updated as new information becomes available. While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, causing running races—and many other large events—to be postponed and canceled, you might be wondering what you should do for your own personal health and how this could affect your training.
Is it safe to run outside? Yes—as long as you’re alone. When people congregate together and someone sneezes or coughs, droplets get onto objects that people touch, and then people touch their face, Nieman explains. The best plan for running right now is to go out for a solo run and enjoy the outdoors, in noncrowded areas. And, try timing your run for when you know the trails will be less crowded.Additionally, people might be afraid to run in the colder weather for fear of illness, but that’s not true; there is no data that you will get sick from really any respiratory pathogen when running in cold weather, Nieman says. Getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can help your immune system keep viruses at bay. Be sure you know what’s going on in your area and if there are any restrictions or mandatory self-quarantines. And, if you’re sick or at-risk of spreading the virus, you shouldn’t go out—the bigger concern is spreading it to those who are at high risk, such as the elderly or immunocompromised. During a self quarantine, Nieman suggests doing some exercise while staying where you are quarantined to keep healthy—doing bodyweight exercises or running on an at-home treadmill are great ways to do this. Unless you’re sick. “If you do have flu or coronavirus, or have fever, sick people think wrongly they can ‘exercise the virus out of the system’ or ‘sweat it out,’ that’s a myth. It’s actually the opposite,” Neiman says. Can you run outside during a shelter-in-place mandate? Effective March 19, residents of the state of California were ordered to shelter in place until further notice, meaning everyone is to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible. However, as outlined in the directive first put in place in San Francisco, for example, most shelter-in-place mandates allow for people to go outside and engage in solo outdoor activity, such as running, walking, and hiking, as long as people practice safe social distancing (stay six feet apart), do not gather in groups, and do not go out if they are feeling sick. Other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have statewide mandates, and other cities and counties, including San Miguel County in Colorado, Blaine County in Idaho, and Athens-Clarke County in Georgia have implemented similar measures. Overall, be sure to check your local public health recommendations and the current health mandates in your area, found on your state and local government website before heading outside for a solo workout. (You can find a directory of state health departments here.) Should you avoid running in groups? Yes. While your exposure to sick people running outside should be minimal, as someone who has a fever and a cough should not be going for a run, Labus says. As of March 15, the CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, in-person events that consist of 50 people or more are canceled or postponed. And, the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America suggest that people avoid social gatherings of over 10 people for the next 15 days to help slow the spread. If you find yourself on a crowded route, you should protect yourself by spreading out and maintaining distance 6 feet apart from other runners (the recommendation for safe social distancing) and avoiding unnecessary hand-touching. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands when you get back. Should I avoid touching traffic buttons? The latest data with the novel coronavirus is that the sunlight creates an inhospitable environment for the coronavirus, so it’s less likely to thrive in an outdoor environment. In general, objects outside should have little virus on them, Nieman explained. However, there could be a problem if someone coughs into his or her hand immediately before touching a traffic button, and then you touch the traffic button after them. If you must touch the traffic button, do not touch your face after. Even better? Use a glove (then avoid touching your face), sleeve, or elbow. Can coronavirus be spread through sweat? According to the CDC, transmission of the coronavirus happens between people who are in close contact with one another (about six feet) and through respiratory droplets, produced through a cough or sneeze—not sweat. Am I contagious if I have no symptoms? You are probably contagious right before you begin to show symptoms, but we don’t know for what time period and we don’t know how contagious. This is one thing we don’t fully understand yet about coronavirus. It makes sense that you would be more contagious once you are coughing, but we don’t fully understand transmission yet, Labus says. Social distancing is the answer right now, Nieman says. Experts are still trying to figure out how long the virus lives on objects, and the problem is that it appears to be highly contagious, spread easily by coughing and sneezing, and can be spread by people who don’t think they’re sick. That’s why hand-washing and not touching your face are so important. Is my immune system weaker postmarathon or after a hard workout? As you deplete your stores of glycogen, your immune system does not function as well as it normally does. That means in the hours following a half marathon or marathon, if you have been exposed to someone who has been sick with the flu or coronavirus, your bodies defenses are down, Neiman says. Additionally, mental or physical stress—caused by running a marathon or a very hard workout—could slightly increase your chances of becoming ill, Labus explains. “I would caution runners to avoid long, intense runs right now until we get through all this and just to kind of keep things under control,” Nieman says. “Don’t overdo it. Be worried more about health than fitness.” However, that doesn’t mean you need to quit running or exercising altogether. There is a very strong connection between regular exercise and a strong immune system in the first place, so the long-term immune system benefits of running far outweigh any short-term concerns, Labus says.
- NAD IV Therapy: What Is This Trendy New Treatment & Is It Safe?
March 22, 2020 at 08:02PMSupplements that boost nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) have started piquing the public’s interest. But now there’s another trendy new way to increase the level of this coenzyme in your bloodstream: intravenous (IV) NAD+ therapy. This treatment has been popping up in major metropolitan areas and “wellness hubs,” thanks to the popularity of IV therapy bars—also known as IV drip bars—that offer infusions of vitamins and other nutrients. So what’s the verdict on this integrative treatment, and does it warrant the fanfare? We investigated.
What is IV NAD+ therapy?During IV NAD+ therapy, NAD+ is administered through a vein (intravenously) in a standard saline solution. NAD+ is a coenzyme found in all cells of the body and is involved in a number of functions, including the production of energy in the mitochondria, DNA repair, cell survival, and metabolism. Research suggests that supporting NAD+ may be beneficial for those whose NAD+ levels are declining, a natural part of the aging process. NAD+ levels can also decline through things like oxidative stress and high-fat, high-sugar diets.It is not the only way to support NAD+ levels in the body, of course. It is also possible to increase NAD+ levels through oral supplementation of one of its precursors, such as niacin (vitamin B3), nicotinamide, and nicotinamide riboside (NR),* the last option being a direct precursor, and has been shown to be the most effective at supporting your natural levels of NAD+.* You can also support natural levels of NAD+ by lifestyle choices, such as regular HIIT workouts and caloric restriction and fasting diets.
Is IV NAD+ therapy safe?First up: Any IV treatment also carries a small risk of bleeding and infection at the site where the needle is placed in the skin or getting too much fluid infused. IV infusions may be a common medical procedure, but they are still a medical procedure. The second safety concern is where you are getting it, notes functional and integrative medicine practitioner Roxanna Namavar, M.D., board-certified psychiatrist and fellow in the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, who uses it at her own practice. “No matter what IV therapy you are getting, you want to make sure your practitioner knows where the ingredient is sourced, and how it is compounded. They should also tailor your infusion treatments to you: It shouldn’t feel like you’re picking things off a menu. Your practitioner should look at your lab work, symptoms, and goals and create a protocol that is specific to your needs.” This concern comes to light most notably with the large amounts of IV bars that have popped up lately, most without much regulation. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently took action against an IV drip bar for making unsupported health claims about their ability to treat serious illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, or congestive heart failure. If done under the supervision of a responsible health care practitioner, however, Namavar says there are no significant safety concerns. She notes that some patients may be sensitive to IV NAD+ therapy, specifically, and experience discomfort such as warming of the chest and nausea. Wally Taylor, M.D., a functional medicine physician with Texas Integrative Medicine in Austin, Texas, notes similarly, “One of the things about NAD+ is that you can’t infuse it too quickly without it being pretty uncomfortable.” He says some of his patients, “say they feel like they’re having symptoms of a heart attack, but when we look at their heart monitor, we don’t see any evidence of that.” He has found that breathing high-concentration oxygen during the infusion can reduce some of these side effects. “Any time you’re giving treatments intravenously, there could be problems of one sort or another,” says Taylor. “So it’s useful to have the direct oversight of a health care provider who has experience with NAD+.” He says complications are more likely to arise in people with a chronic illness, but it’s not impossible for healthy people to have a bad reaction. Cost is another issue. A single IV NAD+ therapy ranges from several hundred dollars to $1,000 or more. You also have to factor in travel time to the clinic and the wait time—infusions generally take two or more hours, and some people may need infusions several days in a row.
Who is IV NAD+ therapy good for?At the moment, the treatment is most popular among functional medicine practitioners. Namavar, who specializes in healthy aging measures, says, “For so long, we used to treat aging with a Band-Aid, and now we’re able to target aging at the cellular level. It’s all about cellular regeneration. The healthier our cells are, the healthier the rest of the body can be. NAD+ supports mitochondrial function, the powerhouse of our cells, so it can help you have more energy, mental clarity, and overall better quality of life.” She notes that there are multiple “ideal patients” for IV NAD+ therapy, from patients feeling run-down to those struggling with drug addiction (IV NAD+ therapy has been used in addiction treatment centers to help people who are going through withdrawal and help regain energy while rehabbing). Taylor also recommends IV NAD+ therapy for some of his patients because it “rapidly restores the body’s levels of NAD+ and helps the NAD get to the cells and tissues where you want it to have an effect.” Taylor says many of his patients benefit from IV NAD+ therapy. “A lot of them are deficient in NAD+ and have problems with their mitochondrial function, as far as producing energy for their bodies,” he says. But Taylor also has patients—including those over 50 years old—who seek out NAD+ therapy in order to restore their peak performance in marathons, triathlons, and other athletic events. “Clinically, [IV therapy] seems to be the strongest way to boost NAD+ levels and have an impact,” says Sommer White, M.D., an integrative and functional medicine physician in Nashville, Tennessee. “Taken on consecutive days, it seems to be even more beneficial.”
Is there any research for IV NAD+ therapy?Research on IV administration of NAD+ is very limited, although it has been used previously for treating drug addiction in people and has been tested in rats. There was one recent small pilot study in people that looked at how NAD+ is metabolized in the body when administered intravenously. In the study, eight healthy men received 750 milligrams of NAD+ in a standard IV saline solution over six hours; the researchers say this dose is commonly used at clinics that provide IV NAD+ infusions. None of the men experienced any side effects. After six hours, NAD+ levels in the blood had increased about fourfold. Unexpectedly, blood levels of NAD+ didn’t start to rise until two hours after the start of the infusion. The researchers say this may be because the NAD+ was being completely taken into the tissues or broken down into other compounds. While the study shows that this dose of IV NAD+ is well tolerated by healthy people, more research is needed to know what benefits IV NAD+ therapy has for supporting mitochondrial function or maintaining healthy aging.
The bottom line.As this trend continues to grow—often outpacing the science behind it—it’s good to hold a critical eye to IV NAD+ therapy. It’s a trend that we’ll continue to watch as the research grows. However, we do know a few things at the moment. First up: Only get the treatment at the advice of a trained medical practitioner, never at an IV bar. They will know your specific medical needs and will be able to monitor you during the procedure and overall health progress. We also know that there are other effective, easy ways to boost your NAD+, including supplements, that have been shown to be safe and effective.* Finally, we know you can also use lifestyle changes like diet and exercise to increase your NAD+ levels while gaining many other health benefits at the same time.
- What Are Vitamin C Supplements Good For? 6 Benefits For Skin & More
March 22, 2020 at 07:04PMWhen most people talk about vitamin C, they often think about easing colds. But as an essential micronutrient, vitamin C can do so much more for your overall health. Moreover, humans are some of the few mammals who can’t make our own vitamin C, so it’s critical to get enough through diet and supplements. Here, learn about the science-backed benefits of this powerhouse nutrient:
1. Vitamin C helps manage the effects of oxidative stress.*Oxidative stress happens when your body produces too many free radicals. It’s also the bane of every skin care fanatic’s existence, thanks to its damaging effect on skin cells and barrier function. Oxidative stress also reduces moisture and collagen fibers in the skin, contributing to fine lines and premature skin aging. Luckily, as a potent antioxidant, vitamin C can lend a hand.* (Antioxidants are molecules that combat oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.) According to Keira Barr, M.D., dual board-certified dermatologist, vitamin C protects your skin from free radical exposure (like UV rays and air pollution).* This pumps the brakes on many types of skin woes, including sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and wrinkles.* For optimal skin benefits, Barr suggests supplementing with vitamin C and applying it topically. This ensures that there is enough vitamin C biologically available and active in and on the skin.* “Including vitamin C in your morning routine will help fend off damage from environmental exposures during the day,” she notes. “[Applying] it at night will help support skin rejuvenation in the evening.”*
2. It promotes your natural collagen production.*Collagen is essential for strong and supple skin. It also gives structure to other connective tissues, including blood vessels and tendons. But as we get older, our body’s usual formation of collagen decreases, leading to thin skin and slow wound healing. To reduce this age-related process, be sure to get enough vitamin C.* “Vitamin C is a key cofactor in the synthesis of collagen and elastin, [which helps] give your skin that plump and youthful appearance,” says Barr.* The nutrient also protects the collagen you already have by working against collagen-degrading enzymes.*
3. It supports your immune system.*“Vitamin C plays a large role in supporting immune function,” notes Joanna Foley, R.D., CLT, founder of a private holistic health coaching practice.* On a cellular level, vitamin C neutralizes pathogens and helps immune cells do their job properly, she says.* For example, it promotes multiplication of lymphocytes—a type of white blood cell—in order to fight an infection.* Vitamin C also helps neutrophils, another type of white blood cell, “eat” and destroy disease-causing microbes.* The antioxidative properties of vitamin C protect the immune system, too.* Prolonged oxidative stress, after all, is associated with a variety of chronic conditions. It also stimulates inflammation, which simply fuels oxidative stress and induces a vicious cycle. Getting enough vitamin C, along with other antioxidants, is key to maintaining a strong immune system.*
4. It promotes healthy cognitive function.*When it comes to brain health, nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K frequently steal the show. But did you know vitamin C can help, too? Once again, this is due to its antioxidative superpowers. “Free radicals can cause damage to all parts of the body, including the brain and mind,” explains Foley. However, as an antioxidant, vitamin C can help combat them and help support your body against cognitive decline.* Vitamin C is important for healthy nerve cells as well.* “It supports the myelin sheath that protects [neurons], allowing for quicker impulse transmissions and quicker signals,” says Amy Shapiro, M.S., R.D., CDN. Interestingly, proper formation of the myelin sheath is linked to vitamin-C-dependent collagen production, proving how synergistic our bodies truly are.*
5. It could help manage high blood pressure.*Taking vitamin C supplements may help naturally manage high blood pressure.* It promotes the body’s production of a molecule called nitric oxide. This molecule is a powerful vasodilator, which means it dilates—or opens—blood vessels. (In fact, this is how some traditional blood pressure drugs work. They release nitric oxide to relax the blood vessels or help tissues produce it.) But wait—there’s more. Vitamin C acts as a diuretic, “causing the kidneys to remove more sodium and water from the body,” says Foley. This “helps relax blood vessel walls and lower blood pressure.” It can also maintain or restore flexibility in artery cell walls, which decreases plaque formation and improves blood flow, she adds.* Use caution if you have low blood pressure, though. Due to the hypotensive effects of vitamin C, it’s best to check with your doctor first.
6. It might support iron absorption.*Iron absorption is a fickle, complex process. It depends on many factors, including the form of iron and your existing iron stores. It’s also influenced by your intake of vitamin C, which plays a role in iron absorption.* According to Shapiro, it turns non-heme iron—which is found in plants—into a more absorbable form. (The nutrient does this by supporting the solubility of iron in the small intestine).* This is important because non-heme iron isn’t as bioavailable as heme iron in animals. The nutrient “can also help reverse the inhibiting effect of other substances that delay iron absorption, such as phytates in certain foods,” adds Foley.* So, for best results, Shapiro recommends consuming iron and vitamin C at the same meal.
What else should you know:Overall, taking vitamin C supplements or a supplement with vitamin C is generally considered safe. Patients with a history of kidney stones should take caution, as taking too much vitamin C can increase oxalates and worsen or increase kidney stones. And be mindful of how you store the supplements. “Vitamin C is photolabile, which means it needs to be stored in a darker-colored bottle and out of direct sunlight,” says Barr. This will ensure that you “reap the benefits and maintain the potency of your product.”
The bottom line:There’s a reason vitamin C gets so much praise for its plethora of health benefits: It really is a do-it-all vitamin, supporting in skin, immune, and cognitive function.* Ideally you’re getting vitamin C from food, yet it can be hard to get enough in the diet to reap all of [its] benefits,” notes Foley. So, if you think vitamin C supplements have a place in your wellness routine, talk to your doctor to determine the right dose and frequency.
- 8 Ways To Manage Red, Inflamed Skin — Skin Care To Supplements
March 22, 2020 at 03:18PMSensitive, inflammation-prone skin is characterized by a delicate moisture barrier, leaving it susceptible to dryness, flaking, and irritation. When conventional dermatology proves too aggressive for these skin types, holistic skin care, which emphasizes barrier resiliency and anti-inflammatory treatment from the inside out, often holds the key to managing symptoms.
1. Build up the skin barrier.The skin barrier is responsible for both protection and moisture-retention; skin with poor barrier function is extra vulnerable to irritation and inflammatory reactions. “Similar to the concept of ‘leaky gut,’ we can also develop ‘leaky skin,'” says holistic dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., of Sanova Dermatology, who explains that chronic dryness via transepidermal moisture loss can then lead to inflammation—exacerbating unhappy skin. A damaged skin barrier also allows microbes, allergens, irritants, and pollutants to penetrate the dermis more easily, causing inflammation and redness. Thus, protecting and enhancing the moisture barrier of your skin is vital. Use barrier-strengthening ingredients. Here, a list of the best skin-barrier-strengthening actives to look for:
- Ceramides: Ceramides are lipids that regulate our skin cell function. Without the proper ratio of ceramides, the skin’s barrier can become compromised, leading to dryness, itching, and irritation.
- Manuka honey: This natural ingredient is famous for its natural healing powers. Research shows it’s effective at promoting tissue repair, balancing your skin microflora, and managing moisture content.
- Niacinamide: Vitamin B3 has been shown to improve epidermal barrier function when applied topically.
- Squalane: Squalane is a naturally occurring part of our sebum (the oil on your skin), so by replenishing it, you can help repair skin previously irritated by oil-stripping products.
2. Seek out anti-inflammatory active ingredients.Along with building up your skin barrier strength, you should also look at anti-inflammatory actives (they often go hand-in-hand). Start with antioxidants—see our favorites here—as they neutralize oxidative stress, the main cause of inflammation. A few other holistic skin care favorites are turmeric (i.e., curcumin), plant oils (i.e., olive, argan, safflower, sunflower oils), centella asiatica (i.e., gotu kola), comfrey, and hemp or CBD. Judit Konrad, Ph.D., pharmacist and cosmetic chemist, notes that the skin’s immune cells have CB2 receptors that bind to hemp or CBD, cueing the skin’s return to homeostasis via our body’s own endocannabinoid system.
3. Avoid ingredients that strip and irritate your barrier.Turegano’s top ingredients to avoid are the common contact allergens like fragrances, artificial dyes, and preservatives like methylparaben. You will also want to steer clear of other additives, like plasticizing phthalates and overly harsh sulfate cleansers that can harm the skin barrier. A leaky barrier’s high permeability also means that harsh actives—including the ever-popular retinol and exfoliating acids—can cause or exacerbate irritation. Some dermatologists recommend avoiding all chemical exfoliants (i.e., glycolic, lactic, salicylic, citric) if the skin is irritated or highly sensitive. Glycolic acid, with its small molecular size, can be especially aggravating for the skin. Remember: Your skin’s sebum is your best protection. Harsh ingredients that strip the skin of its natural oils are not the answer for your skin type.
4. Take supplements.Supplements that can help manage overall body inflammation should have a positive effect on your skin.* (Turegano says you’ll be best served with a tailored supplement regimen, so consult with your health care practitioner.) A few good places to start:
If you’re a tea person, herbalist Lori Barron, master of Chinese medicine, also recommends drinking teas that contain marshmallow root, slippery elm, and cordyceps mushrooms—at room temperature (to avoid too-hot temperatures, which she says can exacerbate redness).
- Vitamin D: It works by managing the release and proliferation of cytokines―chemical messengers that initiate inflammation.*
- Hemp: Its phytocannabinoids have been found to activate the endocannabinoid system in the skin, calming flare-ups and managing normal production of oily sebum.*
- Probiotics: This could help manage problems like eczema, acne, allergic inflammation, and hypersensitivity by supporting your gut and skin microflora.*
- Chlorella: This nutrient-dense ingredient has been shown to reduce overall inflammation and promote wound healing.*
- Turmeric: Turmeric inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory genes, blocking the inflammatory response pathway.*
- Omega-3s: This fatty acid manages inflammation and provides your skin with essential building blocks for healthy skin cells.*
- Collagen: Collagen and elastin are the main structural components of your skin—without them, your skin cannot function properly. Hydrolyzed collagen supplements have been shown to promote your body’s natural production of these proteins.*
5. Eliminate inflammation-causing foods.“Skin is a manifestation of the internal state, so spend time on diet and supplements rather than simply topicals,” says Turegano. “In certain patients I will also order a food sensitivity test.” Even without testing, there are general food guidelines to follow. She shares that acne sufferers will want to avoid dairy, whey, and processed sugar (including foods with a high glycemic index). For both eczema patients, Turegano suggests eliminating dairy and sometimes gluten. As for rosacea-sufferers, a top offender is alcohol.
6. Eat a balanced diet.We know that making dietary eliminations is extremely difficult—so much so that it helps when you can shift your focus to what you are incorporating into your diet rather than on what it now lacks. “I overall encourage a whole foods, plant-heavy diet,” Turegano instructs. She supports eating multiple servings of vegetables and fruits with every meal. Turegano adds that there is strong evidence to suggest that the Mediterranean diet can help with that, as the diet prioritizes plant-based eating, with daily consumption of veggies, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. “I also encourage a diet rich in prebiotic and probiotic foods, and healthy fats,” she says. Prebiotics are essentially the food for probiotics, the “healthy” bacteria that makes up a balanced skin and gut microbiome. Think garlic, onions, chickpeas, fermented foods like kimchi, as well as various veggies, fruits, and legumes. As for healthy fats, you can turn to salmon, coconut oil, avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, and more.
7. Try red light therapy.Light therapy has become extremely popular in the wellness space, with benefits ranging from hair growth to immune support. In skin care, red light is used to stimulate collagen, promote wound healing, and to temper inflammation. The various phototherapies—including UVB light—have been found to be especially therapeutic for psoriasis-sufferers, while the low-level laser therapies have been found to be beneficial in skin healing and the management of inflammatory diseases.
8. Tend to your emotional health, too.“Inflammation is often triggered by your mental health, which is most commonly derived from stress and anxiety [both] physical and emotional,” begins Konrad. She explains that intense, stressful emotions cause the body to secrete cortisol and other hormones that trigger inflammation. “The skin’s response [is] our body’s way of letting us know that it needs our attention.” Chronic stress, in particular, keeps the body’s production of cortisol in overdrive, which will appear on the skin. For example, there is a strong connection between cortisol and developing hormonal acne, which is well researched and vetted by skin care experts. As with so many other health woes, inflammatory skin conditions can be ameliorated with some good, old-fashioned stress-reduction and self-care.
The bottom line.By treating inflamed, reactive skin internally and externally, you can ease redness, dryness, and irritation. Whether your sensitive skin is a result of overly harshly skin care products, a chronic condition, or it’s just your skin type, there are ways to manage your symptoms—and target the root cause.
- 6 Ways To Connect With Nature During COVID-19 (Without Going Outside)
March 22, 2020 at 01:28PMSpending time in nature really helps you focus on the here and now, freeing your mind from the chatter and clutter of everyday life and helping you feel like part of something larger than yourself. Whether you’re walking in the woods, gazing at the stars and moon, or looking closely at the flowers that are starting to bloom around us, these experiences elicit a sense of awe, a feeling of reverential respect and wonder that we feel in the presence of something that’s majestic or that transcends our understanding of the world. Now that we’re living in a time of social distancing and sheltering in place, it may seem more difficult, if not impossible—particularly if you live in an urban area—to tune into the awe-inspiring effects of the natural world. But that’s not true. Here are some ways, both large and small, that you can reclaim the gifts of nature and get them on your side, wherever you live:
1. Bring the outdoors in.Incorporating elements of biophilic (nature-related) design into your home has been found to reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, and improve well-being. Integrate the presence of plants and water (perhaps with a small fountain) into your indoor space. Incorporate objects or images that showcase fractals, patterns of repeated shapes at different scales, and other elements that are evocative of nature into your surroundings: The next time you go for a walk in nature, collect long sticks with interesting curves or fragrant pine cones and place them in a vase or bowl on a table.
2. Trick your mind into feeling as if it were in a verdant, outdoor space, not surrounded by walls.Display dramatic photographs of nature—such as sun-dappled forests, majestic cliffs, or sand dunes—in your home ofﬁce or workspace, or consider painting a wall green. (Now that we’re in cocooning mode, this is a great time for DIY household projects.) The scientiﬁc literature is full of studies illustrating how viewing scenes from nature relieves stress and physical pain, enhances attention and cognition, and provides other mind-body beneﬁts.
3. Surround yourself with sounds of nature.The ﬁeld of psychoacoustics has provided remarkable insights into how our minds respond to sounds, including the reality that the auditory pulse of moving water is immensely calming, reducing activity in the brain’s ﬁght-or-ﬂight center, the amygdala. So go ahead and open a window or listen to sounds from nature on an app (think twittering birds, a babbling brook, the sound of wind or waves) while you’re cooking or working. A study from Sweden found that after completing a series of stressful tasks, listening to sounds of nature enhanced people’s physiological and psychological recovery from the stress. If you have trouble drifting off to sleep at night, consider using a sound machine or an app on your phone (at a low volume) that features the sound of waves or a rain forest.
4. Gaze at the night sky.Research shows that night-sky watching can have calming, tension-relieving, and mood-enhancing effects. When you look at the glowing moon, twinkling stars, and bright planets at night, you can become entranced by them and enter a profound state of psychological absorption. Night-sky watching also elicits a sense of awe and wonder, as it reminds us that we are all part of a larger world and universe. To tap into these emotionally therapeutic benefits, all you need to do is stand on a deck, patio, or front stoop at night and look up.
5. Grow plants indoors.Besides adding color and texture to your surroundings, people who work in a “green” ofﬁce space that includes plants tend to feel and be more productive than those who work in a minimalist space. (Small, green, lightly scented plants have been shown to have the best effects on health and well-being at work.) At home, you might consider planting an herb garden in a window box.
6. Cultivate a sensory oasis.Keep a book of soothing or inspiring nature-based photographs within easy reach so that you can reset your mood and mind when you need a boost. Create a visual respite by placing a mini Zen rock garden on your desk—or keep a lavender or rosemary essential oil sachet on your desk for a soothing aroma. Bookmark a link to a favorite scenic slideshow on your computer and turn to it for a dose of emotional rescue when you need it. No matter how anxious, frustrated, or exasperated you may be feeling about the state of the world, you can help reset your emotional equilibrium by reclaiming the gifts of nature. Even when you’re largely stuck indoors, this can be done—if you use some creativity and ingenuity. That’s what we all need right now for the sake of our emotional equilibrium and well-being—and elements of the natural world can bring us these gifts. As the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright advised his students: “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” That’s a good lesson for us all.
- Moon Curious? Here’s Everything You Need To Know About New Moons & Their Energy
March 22, 2020 at 11:19AMMoon-curious? Here’s everything you need to know about new moons and how to harness their powerful energy from down here on solid ground.
Why do new moons happen again?A new moon happens once a month when the moon and the sun conjoin in the sky, setting off a new cycle of light. When the moon is new, it’s invisible to us on Earth, then it slowly appears as a very thin crescent of light. While the energy of a new moon lasts for about three days before and after the lunation, the moon is technically only new for a moment—when the sun and the moon are directly aligned in the sky (and on the zodiac wheel!).
What’s the spiritual meaning and significance of the new moon?The new moon is a time to set intentions and launch new projects. Since new moons happen once a month and signify the beginning of a cycle, you can think of them as a cosmic reset. The new moon is an ideal time to set intentions and goals that you’ll develop as the moon waxes toward fullness. Connecting to these lunar energies can provide grounding and a sense of direction. After the new moon, the light starts to build, as the moon gradually becomes more visible to us on earth. This phase between the new and full moon is called the waxing moon. Our mission during this time is to collect energy and information as everything becomes illuminated. We can use the waxing moon momentum for building, working toward a goal, or bringing the first phases of a project to fruition. Then comes the full moon, a time for culmination and harvest. This is the peak moment that we’ve been working toward, when our new moon intentions reach their apex. Should we stay or should we go? Do we reap the rewards of our work or change course? As the moon becomes completely visible to us on earth, we can see everything clearly. Next, the waning moon phase begins. As the moon recedes and the light starts to dwindle, we can begin to release what’s no longer working for us. Reflect on what you’ve built during the waxing phase and shed what doesn’t feel right. As the moon disappears from view, we can tie up any loose ends and say goodbye to what’s not serving our highest purpose. Astrologically speaking, new moons occur when the sun and the moon are at the exact same degree in the same zodiac sign. Full moons happen when they are in opposite zodiac signs but at the same degree. Every new moon will culminate in a corresponding full moon six months later. For example, a Pisces new moon will fall during Pisces season in February or March, then the Pisces full moon will arise during Virgo season in August or September. You can set short-term goals between new and full moons every two weeks. Then, use lunar astrology for a longer game, creating intentions at a new moon that you’ll develop over a six-month window.
What to do during the new moon:
1. Write down your intentions.When we write things down, we are more likely to remember and act on them. At a page-turning new moon, write down whatever you’re looking to manifest during this two-week cycle of light. Spend time with what you wrote and read it aloud. Keep your list of intentions with you as the moon waxes, and revisit it and revise it as needed. Stay in tune with the moon as it builds, and manifest your desires.
2. Choose an affirmation.What kind of energy do you want to bring with you into this new cycle? Affirmations are a great way to get clear on what you want. Make a list of affirmations, read them aloud, and revisit them as the moon’s light builds. Whereas intentions set the tone for what you want to do, affirmations are all about what you want to be and embody. Examples of affirmations for the new moon include: “I am confident”; “I bring peace and love into this new cycle of light”; “I share my light.”
3. Take a new moon refresher bath.Water-based rituals are always a great way to work with lunar energy, as the moon is so closely linked with the water element. Relax and reset in the tub with your favorite music playing. Light candles, fill your diffuser with essential oils, and set a healing ambience for your bath. Submerge and set the space for a new beginning as you cleanse, release, and refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
4. Create sacred space.Creating sacred, intentional space is an excellent way to invite new moon energy into your life. Oftentimes, when we create a physical environment, the energy we want more readily pours into our lives. Clear off a surface (dresser, table, etc.) and set any objects, intentions, lists, or images that remind you of what you’re calling in with the new moon. Revisit this sacred space as the moon waxes. You can use it as a meditation station and light candles, use aromatherapy and oils, add crystals, and ground into the energy around the space every morning.
What NOT to do during the new moon:
1. Spend time with naysayers.Use the new moon to energetically set the tone for the coming weeks. It’s a time to refresh, reset, and look to the future. If there are any relationships or friendships in your life that consistently bring you down or drain your energy, you’ll want to avoid spending time with these people at the new moon. Surround yourself with people who help you feel energized and alive!
2. Get stuck in the past.The new moon is just that: new! Stay present, look ahead to the future with optimism, and try not to get bogged down with worries about the past. Let it go, and let it flow.
3. Say no to new opportunities, people, or experiences.Pay special attention to any new people, experiences, or opportunities that the universe puts in your path during the new moon. While the full moon is a time to release anything that’s not serving us, the new moon is a time to build, create, and spark new projects.
How to shake up your new moon ritual throughout the year.A new moon always falls in one specific astrological sign. Every sign carries different energies and themes, and we can use this information to connect us with the cosmos. Here are some keywords associated with each sign to help you get started on your lunar journeying.
More advanced astrology fans can refer to their own natal chart to see where the next new moon will fall for them. For example, if the next new moon in Aries falls in your 10th house, it will be all about setting intentions in your career and public life, which are 10th-house topics. You can use this cosmic info to help guide your intention setting and areas of focus for the next few weeks. The new moon is like a cosmic reset and a monthly gift from the universe. Use this energy for beginnings and to set the tone for the next cycle in your life. Avoid unnecessary stress and decide what energy you want to call in. Let the new moon empower you!
- Aries: Identity, self, individuality, fire, beginnings.
- Taurus: Mother Earth, art, nature, body positivity, grounding.
- Gemini: Conversation, air, information, knowledge, social.
- Cancer: Water, womb, Mother, moon, comfort.
- Leo: Fire, creativity, fame, Sun, sovereignty.
- Virgo: Earth, goddess, harvest, sorting out what’s necessary from what’s not.
- Scorpio: Deep waters, underworld, shadow, the past.
- Sagittarius: Adventure, fire, the unknown, wildness.
- Capricorn: Earth, structure, integrity, hard work, Saturn.
- Aquarius: Air, new ideas, revolution, future-oriented, outsiders.
- Libra: Balance, justice, beauty, harmony, air, ideas.
- Pisces: The ocean, collective consciousness, mystical, dreams.
- The Probiotic-Immunity Connection This MD Wants You To Know About
March 22, 2020 at 09:38AMWe’re all washing our hands, trying to sleep a little more, and generally doing everything we can to support our immunity. While all the systems in our body work together to keep us well, there’s one that plays a special role: our gut.
The gut-immune connection.Our stomach does more than just support our immune system: It gives it a home, too. According to Amy Shah, M.D., “The gut and the immune system are completely intertwined. [As much as] 70% of our immune system is there,” she told mindbodygreen. That’s right: Over half our immune system calls our gut home, making maintaining its health a critical part of supporting immune function and keeping us healthy. Here’s how it works: “There’s tissue in our gut called the GALT tissue, where all the immune cells reside,” explained Shah. The bacteria in the GALT tissue (also known as gut-associated lymphoid tissue) are the “good” gut bacteria that help communicate to our immune system whether new things are foreign or welcome. In order for that process to happen, our gut needs to be healthy. The GALT tissue also houses the plasma cells that help produce antibodies, which fight infection.
How can we support our gut health for immunity?Supporting our gut starts with feeding it the right things and giving it the time and space it needs to do its job. Here are the three main things Shah recommends for keeping your gut strong, so it can keep you healthy:
1. Eat prebiotic foods.Prebiotics aren’t bacteria themselves, but rather they’re “literally the food for the gut bacteria that help your immune system,” said Shah. Just like you’re feeding yourself healthy food, you need to make sure your gut bacteria have what they need to stay plentiful and communicative. Fibrous vegetables like “onions, garlic, asparagus, and broccoli” are good examples of prebiotic-rich foods you can focus on. It’s their fibrous quality the bacteria like so much. “They eat that fiber, and they produce short-chain fatty acids,” said Shah. These short-chain fatty acids are crucial to gastrointestinal health and the crosstalk between our gut and our immune system.
2. Load up on probiotics, too.Replenishing good gut bacteria is an important part of overall gut health. Supplementing with probiotics is key in supporting gut bacteria—and therefore your immunity.* “There’s good evidence that adding good bacteria of all types in your system is beneficial,” explains Shah.* In addition to a daily probiotic, you can also double down on including probiotic foods into all your meals. Look for foods like fermented veggies and kimchi and drinks such as kombucha and kefir.
3. End your eating hour early.There’s a reason we hear so much about intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating. “Our gut cells, and really all cells in our body, need a break,” explained Shah. “If you have constant visitors all the time, your body can never deep clean and organize everything.” All the hand-washing in the world may not be enough if you don’t also give your gut a chance to clean up (though it’s still super-important to be doing that right too). When should you stop your dining? “Don’t eat late into the evening, and end your meals three hours before bed,” recommends Shah. On top of these three primary strategies, Shah also recommends “exercise, nature time, and managing your stress levels” as functional ways to support your gut health less directly. Our gut and immune health are hugely interlinked, and by taking good care of our digestive system through probiotics, prebiotic foods, intermittent fasting, and managing stress, we’ll give our immune system a leg up—something we’re all looking for right now.
- World Water Day: Here Are 25 Ways To Save Water In & Around Your Home
March 22, 2020 at 09:08AMWe all want to do our part to help the planet, and from ocean cleanup projects to making sustainable swaps in our homes, environmentalism has never been more accessible. This year, in honor of World Water Day, we thought what better time to breakdown all the easy ways we can save water in and outside our homes? World Water Day is an annual observance spearheaded by the United Nations since 1993 to celebrate water—and highlight its important role in both public health and climate change. After all, according to the U.N., one in three people around the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, with demand for water expected to increase by more than 50% in the next 20 years. And of course, the recent COVID-19 outbreak has spotlighted communities who don’t have the means to take the easiest preventative measure: washing your hands. So without further ado, here are tk ways we can all save water, for the sake of the planet and each other.
Cutting down on water in the bathroom.Let’s start in the bathroom, where many of us may be unintentionally letting water go to waste.
- 1. Take shorter showers.
- 2. Invest in a low-flow shower head.
- 3. Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth and or shaving.
- 4. Check your pipes for leaks.
- 5. Check your toilet for leaks (if you put some food coloring in your toilet tank and it seeps into the bowl without flushing, it’s running).
- 6. Consider getting a dual-flush toilet if you don’t already have one.
And in the kitchen.Moving on to the kitchen, there are lots of simple ways you can limit your water waste while cooking and washing dishes.
- 7. Wash your produce or dishes in pan of water instead of leaving the water running.
- 8. Try out a faucet aerator that lets you adjust your faucet’s flow.
- 9. Resist the urge to hand wash dishes you’re putting in the dishwasher. If you must do a little scrub, refer to tip #6.
- 10. And speaking of dishwashers, only run them on a full load (that goes for your washing machine, too).
In the garden.Outside in our gardens and on our lawns is another place that, unfortunately, sees tremendous water waste. Some estimates say outdoor water use accounts for at least 30% of household’s water usage, and likely more in dry climates or during warmer months. And not only that, but up to 50% of that water goes to waste because of evaporation, wind, and more. Here’s what you can do.
- 11. Water your lawn or garden during cooler hours in the day to prevent evaporation.
- 12. Similarly (and slightly ironically), make sure your lawn is sufficiently soaked when watering so it doesn’t easily evaporate.
- 13. A layer of mulch around trees or bushes can also prevent water from evaporating.
- 14. Avoid watering on windy days.
- 15. Rather than using your hose to clean patios and sidewalks, bust out your broom and spare the water.
- 16. Native plants and flowers in your garden will respond better to your climate and require less maintenance.
- 17. Greywater diverters can be used to repurpose and reroute household water runoff to be used in your garden (you can get help from a plumber if needed—just be sure you’re using all natural products that won’t harm your landscape).
- 18. Sufficiently weeding and pruning your garden can help make watering more effective.
- 19. Cover your pool as often as possible to prevent evaporation and more frequent refills.
- 20. As fun as it can be for the kids, washing your car with the hose running can waste up to 100 gallons of water. You’re better off at a carwash (especially one that recycles its water).
With your wallet.Another factor to keep in mind when thinking about saving water is how we’re spending our money, or rather, what we’re spending it on. Just as we can have a “carbon footprint,” there’s such thing as a water footprint, as well. Here are some ways you can decease yours.
And last but not least, find out what your water footprint is today and try to stay up to date with the latest water conservation news in the future. Making changes can seem daunting at first, but soon they’ll become habits you don’t think twice about, as we all look to reduce water waste one drop at a time.
- 21. Limit your intake of foods that require the most water during production (steak, hamburger, ham, eggs, soda, coffee, wine, salad).
- 22. Going forward, look for Energy Star and WaterSense products.
- 23. Take public transportation when you can (gasoline = water).
- 24. Encourage your children and workplace to get involved by sharing these easy tips.
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