Archive for the ‘happiness’ Category

Do what you want…sometimes

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

A Healthy Life Sign

We spend the majority of our lives enduring other people telling us what to do.  Teachers, bosses, and parents have filled our lives with no-no’s, admonishments, and well-meaning advice.  But here’s a radical idea-just do what you want.  If you want a chocolate bar, have one.  If you want to take a nap, go ahead.  If you feel like skipping down the street…you get the idea.

Something occurred to me after many sweaty hours at the gym, rifling through health magazines and reading countless advice columns.  Maybe obsessively counting calories and other deprivations work for some people, but they certainly don’t work for me.  In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect.  When I tell myself I can’t have something, I want it all the more.

Such is the human condition.

So I’m trying a different approach.  If one afternoon all I can think about is eating a hamburger with fries, I actually allow myself to go and get one.  Two things are accomplished.  Once I give into my craving, I am thereby sated.   Instead of eating everything else in its place and then still wanting the burger, I just have what my body wants and in the end I am convinced that I consume fewer calories overall.  After I’ve indulged in the “treat”, I don’t feel deprived and therefore will eat healthier over the next few days (or weeks in some cases).

I am absolutely not advocating a burger-large fries-pitcher-of-beer-a-day existence.  But I think cutting ourselves some slack once in a while is mentally healthy and can go a long way.  At the very least it can help us to manage our stress.  Because deep down, we all know what the healthy choices are.

Remember, eat as healthy as possible, get plenty of exercise, and catch up on as much sleep as time permits.  It’s your healthy life.  Now go enjoy it!

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To learn more daily health tips, please read our health archives.  Some of our favorites supplements that can boost your immune system, improve sleep patterns, and can promote heart health are found on our products page.

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I Want Candy!

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

Pick supplements and not sugar for better health

“The sugar rush.”  Sometimes nothing else will do.  When I’m face to face with a box of candy, or a malted milk, I am truly powerless to resist.  And with a certain chocolate-centric holiday just around the corner, I have to tread lightly, or else I will fall into a different category, “the sugar coma.”

All joking aside, sugar is delicious and wonderful to enjoy, especially on holidays and birthdays.  But it is also full of empty calories.  For example, the average soda these days contains up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.  10!  Even though I’m a sugar fanatic, I can’t bring myself to drink much soda anymore.  And that’s a great thing.  Instead I substitute milk, mineral water with a little lime, or even a small glass of wine and I save myself 100’s of calories a day.

Diabetes is on the rise.  It’s sad but true.  Some hypothesize that everything we eat nowadays is laden with sugar, and perhaps these ideas are not far off.  Be sure to check your food labels for hidden sugars, even in items like crackers, soups, and tomato sauces.  Awareness can make the difference in your health and also in your waistline.

Reward yourself properly.  As a society, we tend to reward a promotion, good grades, or any other success or special occasion with a big meal and lots of treats.  Choose wisely.  Now I love cake as much as the next person, but maybe it’s a better (and certainly healthier) idea to splurge on a massage, a night at the theater, or even a new outfit.  You will ultimately feel better, weigh less, and perhaps even spend a little quality time appreciating something you wouldn’t normally do.

Keep up the exercise, and work in lots of vegetables and fruits into your diet.  Take vitamins and supplements like Calcium, CoQ10, and Omega-3.  Get a proper night’s sleep as much as possible, and then, if all else fails, have that chocolate chip cookie with extra walnuts.  But just a couple.  Wash them down with a nice, cold glass of nonfat milk.  You’ve earned it!

Happy Valentine’s Day

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the power of downward facing dog

Monday, February 8th, 2010

yoga woman at peace

Have you ever gone on a hike, a walk, or a run and felt tired but also very relaxed and at peace afterwards? We thought so. That is the magic of exercise and of focusing on something other than every day minutiae. Yoga classes, meditation and even simple relaxation techniques can also quiet the noise within and calm the mind. And it turns out that these practices are exceptionally good for your health. A recent study was conducted on cancer patients who were asked to try an 8-week stress reduction program and the results were staggering:

In a study involving 49 patients with breast cancer and 10 patients with prostate cancer, participation in an 8-week “mindfulness-based stress reduction” (MBSR) program was found to enhance quality of life, reduce stress symptoms, reduce cortisol levels, improve immune patterns, reduce systolic blood pressure and improve mood. The 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program consisted of relaxation, meditation, gentle yoga, and a daily home practice. Various measurements were taken pre- and post-intervention, and at 6 and 12 months follow-up. Results of linear mixed modeling showed significant improvements in overall symptoms of stress after the intervention, which remained over the follow-up period. Reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines, cortisol levels, systolic blood pressure, and mood disturbances were found. Furthermore, heart rate was positively associated with symptoms of stress. The results of this study suggest that participation in activities such as those included in this mindfulness-based stress reduction program may be of great benefit to cancer patients, with beneficial effects lasting well beyond the intervention. The authors conclude, “These pilot data represent a preliminary investigation of the longer-term relationships between MBSR program participation and a range of potentially important biomarkers.”

You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a renown Yogi to enjoy the benefits of exercise and relaxation. If you are short on time, buy a yoga or Pilates DVD, or simply find a nice place to sit, breathe, and quiet your mind for a few minutes. All together now: “Om”

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To learn more about managing stress levels for better health, see our health archives. Stress can compromise the immune system, cause irregular unhealthy sleep, and can even contribute to unwanted weight gain. Our effective, high quality supplements Relora® and Dual-Release Melatonin can really make a difference in your stress levels and can promote healthy sleep patterns.

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/36457, “One year pre-post intervention follow-up of psychological, immune, endocrine and blood pressure outcomes of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) in breast and prostate cancer outpatients,” Carlson LE, Speca M, et al, Brain Behav Immun, 2007 May 21; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Linda E. Carlson, Department of Psychosocial Resources, Tom Baker Cancer Centre Holy Cross Site, Alberta Cancer Board, 2202 Second St. S.W., Calgary, Alta., Canada T3B 0W7; Department of Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada).

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Tummy Trouble

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Stomach health and exercise for energy and health

Digestive disorders can be debilitating.  If you have problems with your stomach, it’s very difficult to enjoy life and to attend to your various work and personal responsibilities.  Taking probiotics can help.  Probiotics are those friendly little “good”  bacteria in our intestines that help to fight off infection, reduce the risk of some diseases, and can soothe digestive disorders.

Whether or not you have IBS, other health conditions, or overall tummy trouble, supplementing with quality Probiotics can be invaluable to your digestive and your overall health.  Don’t stomach tummy-trouble anymore!

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Want to stop the belly-aching?  Read more about good digestive health and probiotics in our health archives. We have a dynamic duo of supplements for better digestive health that will help the digestive process, reduce gas and bloating, and allow for better absorption of the vitamins and minerals that are consumed.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/37371,

Reference: “An open-label randomized controlled trial of lactulose and probiotics in the treatment of minimal hepatic encephalopathy,” Sharma P, Sharma BC, et al, Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2008; 20(6): 506-11. (Address: Departments of Gastroenterology and Neurology, G.B. Pant Hospital, New Delhi, India).

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Time is on your side…yes it is!

Friday, January 15th, 2010

young woman jumping

How often have you lamented if only I had an extra hour, or half hour in the day-if only I had more time, I could make some real progress?  Time is at a premium for most of us.  And tacking on an extra errand or chore, even if it’s for our health, can feel burdensome.  And maybe going to the gym and cooking fresh, organic produce just isn’t in the cards everyday.  But what if there were some ways to optimize your time every day and etch out just a little bit (between the carpool, work, dentist appointment etc) of healthy time for yourself?  We’ve come up with a few ideas that just may work for you.

Set your alarm just ten minutes early.  This is a very small sacrifice but you’ll be amazed that you’ll actually have time for a bowl of cereal, a piece of toast with peanut butter or chopping up a delicious apple to have as a mid-morning snack.  Your mood will improve, your productivity will go up, and who knows?  Maybe you’ll finally secure that raise, allowing for a more robust vacation fund, (also excellent for your health!).

You can exercise in spurts.  Yep, it’s true.  No more excuses that you don’t have an hour to dedicate to your gym.  Instead, look for opportunities to integrate exercise into your daily activities.  Walk to you local coffee shop at least three times a week.  Whether it’s down the street from your house, or three blocks from your office, there is no need to get in the car.  Your body will thank you in the long run for the bit of fresh air and exercise, plus you’re being eco-friendly.  If you don’t drink coffee, the same goes for a trip to the post office, pet store, dress shop, or rare Ukrainian coin purveyor.

Turn the TV off-at least sometimes!  Yes, we know it’s the playoffs.  And there’s always that funny movie on that you’ve been meaning to watch.  But the truth is, getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and TV can be a time-sucking black hole.  (Sorry Conan!)  Take that extra time to hang out with your family and friends and then catch some quality zzz’s.

By carving out a few extra minutes in the short day for some healthy practices, you will find that time ends up being right on your side.  Now go out there and make good use of it!

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We have a perfect way for you to save time and money!  Sign up for our AutoShip program and save 10% on every order!  No more running out of vitamins and supplements that you need.  They are automatically shipped to your doorstep for free!  Take a look at our health archives for information about irregular sleep patterns and better quality sleep.

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The skinny on skin care

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

grey haired woman thinking

With record breaking low temperatures around the country lately, old man winter can sure be ruthless on our skin!  Cranked up office and home heaters, coupled with dry, cold, and windy days can really take all of the protective moisture out of our skin.  But sometimes, when the going gets tough, the tough decide to invest in good moisturizers and quality supplements, derived from the best, natural ingredients.

For example, it is widely understood that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your immune system, but they are also great for your skin!  Foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish are all good sources of omega-3 and can help soothe irritated and inflamed skin while fighting the negative effects of free radical damage.

Evening Primrose Oil (or EPO) is known for its ability to help improve both PMS symptoms and some side effects of Menopause. It contains an omega-6 essential fatty acid called gamma-linolenic acid or (GLA), which can help maintain cholesterol levels to normal and can promote better circulation.  Our bodies convert Gamma-linolenic acid into a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin that promotes healthy skin.

If you are experiencing overly dry skin, it’s also a good idea to find a high quality moisturizer that can penetrate the deeper layers of the epidermis.  One great example is our anti-aging Derma-QGel day crème.  It is made from the powerful antioxidant CoQ10, and natural oils and extracts from avocados, almonds, jojoba, evening primrose, and aloe, to name a few.  This cream helps to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and offers tremendous hydration while promoting cell renewal.

Bathe your skin with quality moisturizers, eat foods rich in Omega-3’s and be sure to take in Omega-6 essential fatty acids too.  These methods, in conjunction with drinking plenty of water and avoiding washing your face with drying soap, can greatly improve the texture and quality of your winter skin.  And old man winter can blow those harsh winds all he wants.  You’re protected, both inside and out.

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Would you like to read more about important antioxidant protection? Find information about Ubiquinol, omega-3 fatty acid, CoQ10 and more by looking at our health archives.  We have high quality, cold-pressed Evening Primrose Oil at a very special price.  And as always, we offer free shipping on everything.  Here’s to your health!

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Out with the bad, in with the healthy!

Monday, December 28th, 2009

new-years-calendar

As the year comes to a close, you may find you are promising yourself all kinds of ambitious results in the name of New Year’s resolutions.  For example, you decided you’ll get up at 5am every day and take a jog around your neighborhood for at least 45 minutes-even if it’s raining-and cold.  And you’re not a jogger.  You’ve also promised yourself you’d cut up all of your credit cards except one, and then commit to paying it off in full every month.  Another resolution might be to not eat too much at one sitting and to be sure you consume at least three or four servings of vegetables and fruits a day.  Now all that doesn’t sound too hard, does it?

All of these New Year’s resolutions are very commendable, but the problem is that it can be very difficult and discouraging to try to live up to these types of ideals.  It’s great to think big and aim high but sometimes what we really need is a realistic goal that is actually attainable.  And once we’ve stuck to an easy and manageable plan, it gives us the confidence to perhaps add another healthy commitment to our plate.

Start with something simple.  If you’re trying to lose weight and consume a lot of sugary soda, try swapping the soda for water and watch as the pounds drop off.  Little adjustments like this can help over time, and it won’t make you feel hungry or too deprived.  Making plans to walk with a friend or family member after work a few times a week can help to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and also gives you time to catch up with the people you’d like to see more often-which is maybe another good New Year’s resolution to pursue.

Start with something fundamental.  If you smoke, by all means quit!  Sometimes, we skirt around the real health issue, such as making plans to exercise more and eat healthier when the first step should be to quit smoking.  But smoking cessation can be extremely challenging, and therefore committing to eating more broccoli instead sounds better.  But broccoli can only do so much if you are polluting your body with carcinogens.  Get into a program, find some support, and follow through on the one really important resolution for the year; kicking a bad health habit like smoking. And the bonus is that you not only make yourself healthier, but also help those around you.  Second hand smoke can cause a myriad of illnesses including asthma, so do your family and friends a favor and kick the habit for good.

Whatever resolutions you pick, make sure they mean something to you and are something you can work toward with confidence during the year.  May this season bring health and happiness to you and your loved ones.

Happy holidays!

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Read more about new years resolutions and what kind of healthy choices to make here. Commit to better health by taking powerful antioxidants and ensure a great 2010!

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To be or not to be…an ice cream sundae.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

woman with salad and antioxidants

You are what you eat.  Yes, a hackneyed expression, but nevertheless true.  I always feel better if I eat in a healthy way, and usually feel vaguely guilty if I’ve indulged in too much fat, sugar, or alcohol-and usually it’s a combination of all three-especially around the holidays.

If you’re anything like me, it can be very difficult to stay motivated.  For example, I like the gym, but I like sleeping more.  I enjoy sautéed Swiss chard, but I’d much rather have an oversized ice cream sundae dripping with chocolate sauce.  It’s very easy and tempting to stray off the healthy, antioxidant path.  There are cookie-laden forests and lakes of freshly whipped cream to explore instead!  But these empty calorie treats-as good as they may be-are nutrition traps.  What’s more, they aren’t doing anything to fortify my immune system.  I want to feel strong, healthy, and in control of my health destiny as much as possible.

So I recommit.  Every day to a healthy way of life.  For me, putting my continued good health at the top of my “to do” list empowers me to carry on with my eating-right-and-exercising-routine.  The fact that I will look better in my clothes is a nice byproduct, but not the main reason that I try very hard to take care of myself.  I cram as many antioxidant-enriched foods as I can possibly stand into my daily routine.  My body then has the tools it needs to fortify my immune system and defend against free radical damage and hopefully against various diseases and health conditions too.

In fact, there was a recent study conducted tracking midlife eating habits of Swedish twins.  It was hypothesized that those who fortified their diets with plenty of fruits and vegetables mid life seemed to lessen their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, compared with twins who did not eat as many antioxidant enriched foods.

I decided long ago to hedge my bets and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet replete with plenty of antioxidants.  I am also sure to take Omega-3 fatty acids and highly absorbable multivitamins and vitamin D supplements every day for better health.  By committing to good health habits on a regular basis, I can still have my sundae and eat it too-and that makes me very, very happy.

Be healthy and enjoy all of the holiday festivities!

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To read more about powerful antioxidant support, check out our health archives. Happy holidays from all of us at Solanova!

Reference: http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38666“Midlife Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Risk of Dementia in Later Life in Swedish Twins,” Hughes TF, Andel R, et al, Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 2009 Nov 10; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Pittsburgh, PA, USA).

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In vitamin D we trust

Friday, December 18th, 2009

couple happy with Solanova supplements

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the positive effects of getting enough vitamin D, and equally much lamenting that most Americans aren’t getting as much as they need of the important vitamin to live an optimally healthy life.  Through numerous research, it has been shown that people with low levels of vitamin D seem to have a higher risk of disease overall.  Vitamin D is traditionally known for its supporting role, helping calcium build up strong bones.  But it also can help to regulate and fortify the immune system.  In a very recent study, vitamin D deficiency was linked to a greater risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer disease, and stroke.

In a cross-sectional study involving 318 elders (mean age = 73.5 years) receiving home care, results indicate that vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency may be associated with increased risks for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease and stroke. 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were deficient (<10 ng/mL) in 14.5% and insufficient (10-20 ng/mL) in 44.3% of the participants. Mean 25(OH)D concentrations were found to be lower in subjects with dementia. Additionally, a significantly higher prevalence of dementia was observed in vitamin D insufficient subjects. After adjusting for confounding factors, vitamin D insufficiency was associated with more than a two-fold increased risk of dementia, Alzheimer disease and stroke (with and without dementia symptoms). Lastly, vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased white matter hyperintensity volume, grade, and prevalence of large vessel infarcts. Thus, the authors of this study conclude, “Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency was associated with all-cause dementia, Alzheimer disease, stroke (with and without dementia symptoms), and MRI indicators of cerebrovascular disease. These findings suggest a potential vasculoprotective role of vitamin D.”

Vitamin D is turning out to be an incredibly important element for overall health.  Spending (a little) time in the sun, eating a balanced diet replete with calcium rich foods, and taking a quality vitamin D supplement can all contribute to continued good health and vitality.

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There is more information about enhancing the immune system and vitamin deficiency in our health concerns archives. And for superb antioxidant protection try our powerful Omega-Gel® supplements and our Liqui-Calcium for superior vitamin D support.

http://www.vitasearch.com/get-clp-summary/38665


Reference: “25-Hydroxyvitamin D, dementia, and cerebrovascular pathology in elders receiving home services,” Buell JS, Tucker KL, et al, Neurology, 2009 Nov 25; [Epub ahead of print]. (Address: Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA).

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A great gift for yourself

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Solanova's gift of health

The holiday season is rapidly approaching like thoroughbred reindeer. At this time of year it’s fun to shop, go to parties, indulge relatively guilt-free in a variety of treats, travel to see loved ones and host dinner parties and family gatherings. But these holiday inspired activities are nearly impossible to enjoy if you are dragged down by a seasonal cold or flu.

Though it can be a crapshoot whether or not you get sick during the winter season, it behooves all of us to be prepared for germ warfare. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition (that doesn’t only involve holiday cut-out cookies.) Fortifying your immune system will help protect your body from getting too worn down. Then if you do contract a cold or the flu, it will most likely be of shorter duration and less severity.

And perhaps more to the point; don’t let a runny nose or a sore throat ruin your fun! Be sure to take your vitamins and drink plenty of fluids during the holiday season. We tend to commit to this after we catch a nasty cold. But by being proactive, you can strengthen your immune system and provide it with the proper tools to better fight off those annoying wintertime illnesses.

So while you’re navigating the crowds, struggling with gifts and packages while trying to hail a cab, do yourself a favor. Buy yourself the gift of health this holiday season. After all, you’re going to need your energy to enjoy all that holiday fun!

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We have more information on how to strengthen the immune system here. Take a look!  Solanova is always dedicated to giving.  We support the charity AAMF and donate 20% of all proceeds.  When you purchase nutritional supplements or any other product from us, you are also giving to a worthy cause.  And what better time than the holiday season?  Happy shopping!

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