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8 Summer Steps for Healthy Living

In the warmer, longer, lazier days of summer, the living may not be easy, but your life probably feels less chaotic. Even adults tend to adopt a "school's out!" attitude in summer. That's why this is a perfect time to improve your health in a fashion so seasonally laid back you'll barely notice the effort.

To get you started, WebMD went to eight health experts in fields such as diet, fitness, stress, vision, and oral health. We asked them this: If you could only suggest one simple change this season to boost personal health, what would it be? Here are their top eight tips.

 

1. Give Your Diet a Berry Boost

If you do one thing this summer to improve your diet, have a cup of mixed fresh berries -- blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries -- every day. They'll help you load up on antioxidants, which may help prevent damage to tissues and reduce the risks of age-related illnesses. Blueberries and blackberries are especially antioxidant-rich.

A big bonus: Berries are also tops in fiber, which helps keep cholesterollow and may even help prevent some cancers.

2. Get Dirty -- and Stress Less

To improve your stress level, plant a small garden, cultivate a flower box, or if space is really limited, plant a few flower pots -- indoors or out.

Just putting your hands in soil is "grounding." And when life feels like you're moving so fast your feet are barely touching the stuff, being mentally grounded can help relieve physical and mental stress.

3. Floss Daily

You know you need to, now it's time to start: floss every single day. Do it at the beach (in a secluded spot), while reading on your patio, or when watching TV -- and the task will breeze by.

Flossing reduces oral bacteria, which improves overall body health, and if oral bacteria is low, your body has more resources to fight bacteria elsewhere. Floss daily and you're doing better than at least 85% of people.

4. Get Outside to Exercise

Pick one outdoor activity -- going on a hike, taking a nature walk, playing games such as tag with your kids, cycling, roller blading, orswimming -- to shed that cooped-up feeling of gym workouts.

And remember, the family that plays together not only gets fit together -- it's also a great way to create bonding time.

5. Be Good to Your Eyes

 

To protect your vision at work and at play, wear protective eyewear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinklesaround the eyes.

And when playing sports or doing tasks such as mowing the lawn, wear protective eyewear. Ask your eye doctor about the best type; some are sport-specific.

 

6. Vacation Time!

Improve your heart health: take advantage of summer's slower schedule by using your vacation time to unwind.

Vacations have multiple benefits: They can help lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones such as cortisol, which contributes to a widening waist and an increased risk of heart disease.

 

7. Alcohol: Go Lite

Summer's a great time to skip drinks with hard alcohol and choose a light, chilled alcoholic beverage (unless you are pregnant or should not drink for health or other reasons).

A sangria (table wine diluted with juice), a cold beer, or a wine spritzer are all refreshing but light. In moderation -- defined as one to two drinks daily -- alcohol can protect against heart disease.

8. Sleep Well

Resist the urge to stay up later during long summer days. Instead pay attention to good sleep hygiene by keeping the same bedtime and wake-up schedule and not drinking alcohol within three hours ofbedtime.

It's also a good idea to avoid naps during the day unless you take them every day at the same time, for the same amount of time.

There they are: Eight super simple ways to boost your health this summer. Try one or try them all. They're so easy you won't even know they're -- shhhh -- good for you.

 

Original article appheared on WebMD

  • NGS Team

How to Have A Healthy Summer

 

The summer is a time of rest, excitement and fun for many of us. However, summer also carries with it several hazards which can affect our health if we do not take some simple precautions.

As summer arrives with gorgeous sunny days and warm weather, it also brings the threat of sunburns, allergies, bug bites, and other potential health complications.

Below are some tips that may help you enjoy a problem-free summer:

 

Protect yourself from UVA rays

Sunlight is good for the body, but like everything, too much of it is bad for you. Sun rays are an excellent source of Vitamin D and can greatly enhance your mood. There are two types of sun rays: UVA and UVB. 

UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin's layers and provide that tan so many people seek. However, UVA rays also eventually damage the immune system.

UVA damage may make it harder for the body to fight off diseases and can lead to skin cancers.

Spending too much time in the sun results in overexposure to UVA rays which can eventually cause life threatening skin cancers.

Always apply sunscreen when you are outdoors.

To protect yourself from UVA rays you should be using sunscreen with at least SPF 30. You should be applying a plenty amount from head to toe and reapply after swimming or sweating.

Drink plenty of water

 

Before stepping outdoors make sure that you are hydrated, it is crucial to drink plenty of water and replenish all the lost fluids. During the summer months we go outdoors more, we are more physically active, and it is much hotter - all factors that dehydrate us.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • light-headedness
  • dizziness
  • little or no urination
  • constipation


Drinking plenty of water lowers your risk of heat stroke.

Dehydration is a major cause of:

  • Heat stroke - when body temperature rises higher than 40.6 °C (105.1°F). To avoid heatstroke wear lightweight clothing, avoid direct sunlight, use air conditioning, drink cold water, and avoid heavy meals.
  • Seizures - dehydration leas to a lack of electrolytes. Electrolytes send electrical signals from cell to cell. When electrolyte levels fall too low these signals don't function properly, leading to involuntary muscle contractions.

 

Exercise often

Consider spending just two to four hours a day doing things like walking the city streets, exploring a nature preserve, going to a zoo, biking along the ocean or taking a leisurely rowboat ride.

Not only are these activities good for mental health and warding off obesity and becoming fit, other benefits of physical activity include:

  • Reduced risk of breast cancer - data published in Cancer Epidemiology revealed that breast cancer risk can be reduced through exercise and physical activity.
  • Better cognition in children and older adults - there are a number of studies now showing that aerobic exercise can increase the size of critical brain structures and improve cognition in children and older adults.
  • Better sleep - a previous study found that people sleep much better and feel more alert during the day if they exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

 

 

Orginal Article :

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/262549.php

  • NGS Team

Ramadan 7-Day Nutrient-Dense Food Plan

Ramadan fasting presents us with a golden opportunity to improve our health. Certified Nutritional Therapist Dahlia Hammouda has designed a 7-day meal plan for NGS customers to help us extend the month’s spirit of charity to our bodies too. Make every bite count with this food plan full of nutrient-dense, fibre-rich power foods, and you’ll end up avoiding dehydration, hunger, indigestion and cravings, while giving your bodies the optimal nutrition it needs to detoxify, lose some weight and feel great.

 

Day 1

Time

 Food and beverages

Break your Fast

Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

Iftar

Snack

1 small dessert Our Pumpkin Pudding with Cream is a must try.

Beverages

  • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

  • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

  • Vegetable Smoothie (any combination of vegetables and one fruit). Check out: Kale, spinach, red grapes

Sohour

 

Day 2

Time

 Food and beverages

Break your Fast

Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

Iftar

Snack

Watermelon slices

Beverages

  • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

  • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

Sohour

  • ½ cup foul medames with olive or flaxseed oil + cut-up tomatoes sprinkled with cumin and arugula (gargir) + ½ baladi bread

  • Any fruit of your choice

  • 1 yoghurt or 1 glass almond milk

 

Day 3

Time

 Food and beverages

Break your Fast

Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

Iftar

Snack

1 small dessert

Our Brown Rice Pudding with Goji Berries is a must try!

Beverages

  • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

  • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

Sohour

 

Day 4

Time

 Food and beverages

Break your Fast

Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

Iftar

 Snack

A handful of unsalted nuts (almonds) and red grapes

Beverages

  • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

  • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

  • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

Sohour

     

    Day 5

    Time

     Food and beverages

    Break your Fast

    Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

    Iftar

    Snack

    Khoshaf

    Check out our: Dried Apricots, Dates (Iraqi,Mejdool)Mixed nuts

    Beverages

    • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

    • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

    • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

    Sohour

       

      Day 6

      Time

       Food and beverages

      Break your Fast

      Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

      Iftar

            Snack

            1 small piece of oriental dessert of your choice or your choice of a healthy dessert

            Our Chocolate Coconut Truffles is a must try!

            Beverages

            • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

            • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

            • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

            Sohour

               

              Day 7

              Time

               Food and beverages

              Break your Fast

              Begin with 1 glass of warm or room-temperature water, with a squeeze of lemon For pure water that is free of viruses and bacteria, checkout our range of Berkey Filters 

              Iftar

              • Small bowl of non-creamy vegetable soup (natural, no soup cubes)

              • Our Carrot Soup is a must try!

              • 400g (bone-in) grilled fish, or 250g fillet of fish

              • ½ -1 cup of brown rice cooked with olive oil or coconut oil

              • 1-2 cups vegetables in a mixed salad with 1 table spoon of olive oil, lemon and mustard dressing

                  Snack

                  Chocolate Avocado Mousse

                  Beverages

                  • Green tea without sugar or artificial sweeteners

                  • Plenty of water (can be flavoured with unpeeled lemon slices/unpeeled orange slices, cucumber/mint)

                  • Natural fruit juice with no added sugar, such as watermelon, pomegranate or cantaloupe

                  Sohour

                    • NGS Team

                    Coconut oil: The benefits you never knew about!

                    Lush, shiny, manageable and healthy hair can be yours, with Coconut Oil. 

                    Coconut oil is rich in anti-microbial properties, lauric acid, and medium-chain fatty acids that strengthen hair, condition the scalp, and help to regrow hair.

                    it’s time to bring light to coconut oil’s other uses, one of which is using it as an all-natural, multi-tasking hair care product. Rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, the nourishing benefits coconut oil for hair keeps your hair strong, shiny and looking great!


                    Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair

                    If your hair is dry and brittle, chances are you are not consuming enough fresh water. Water helps to keep the entire body hydrated, including hair and skin. As we age, hormone health plays a significant part in the health of hair as well.

                    Eat for your best hair health by including lots of healthy fats, drinking plenty of water, and using natural hair care products, including coconut oil for hair, instead of dangerous chemical laden shampoos, conditioners or styling agents.

                    Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, and has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. When used on hair, it improves scalp health, fights infections and fungus, supports hair growth, all while adding volume and shine without the common harmful chemicals.

                    If you look on the ingredient labels of many of your favorite cosmetics and hair products, you will find coconut oil listed. However, most cosmetics and hair products also contain other ingredients that can be harmful to your health, while actually damaging your hair and skin.

                    The harsh chemicals in commercial hair care products can leave your hair flat, dry, and damaged. Adding coconut oil in small amounts simply isn’t enough. So avoid traditional products and add coconut oil to your regimen along with your favorite natural organic shampoos and products.

                    While some of these healthier hair products may cost a little more, the good news is that food-grade coconut oil is safe, affordable, and can effectively replace many hair care products in your cabinets.


                    5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Hair

                    1. Conditioner

                    Coconut oil is free of the scary chemicals that lurk in commercial hair products, and is an excellent conditioner, for all types of hair. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, coconut oil out performs sunflower oil and mineral oil, and is the only oil that reduces protein loss.(1) Avoid all beauty products that contain mineral oil, especially for children.

                    It is the protein loss in hair that leads to dryness and breakage. The lauric acid has a low molecular weight, and is able to actually penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids.

                    Coconut oil helps to prevent damage from combing and brushing, and it is safe to use on children. It can be used as a leave-in conditioner, or used as an intensive conditioner for a couple of hours, or overnight. The key to using all natural coconut oil as a leave-in hair conditioner, is finding the right amount for your hair. A little goes a long way.

                    TO CONDITION: 

                    For short hair, start with just a ¼ teaspoon, warmed in your palms. For longer, thicker hair, you may need up to a ½ tablespoon. You want to use sparingly on thinner hair, as it can weigh hair down if too much is used. Pay particular attention to ends and the shaft of the hair. Smooth through hair, and proceed to style as normal.

                    As an intensive conditioner to restore hair, after washing with a gentle natural shampoo, apply 1 teaspoon (for short hair), 2 teaspoons (for shoulder length hair) and 1 tablespoon (for long hair) after warming in the palm of your hands. Apply to hair shaft and ends, and then rub into scalp. Cover with a shower cap, and leave on for 1-2 hours, or overnight. Wash with gentle shampoo, and style as normal.


                    2. Hair Growth

                    Coconut oil is a safe, effective, and reasonably priced solution if you have thinning hair. It can actually help grow hair, longer and thicker. The essential nutrients including the lauric acid, penetrates the hair shaft improving the overall health of the hair.

                    The health of hair is often a result of internal issues, and incorporating natural hair loss remedies will help. Foods high in Omega-3 fats, pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds, and green tea, and all help support healthy hair growth, from the inside out. Before trying prescription hair growth preparations that only work for 50% of individuals (2) and only works with continued use, modify your diet, and use coconut oil for hair conditioning and styling. The harsh chemicals can cause scalp irritation and even hair growth where hair is not desired.

                    HAIR GROWTH TREATMENT: 

                    When massaged into the scalp, coconut oil helps to improve blood circulation, supporting hair growth. It is important to massage the coconut oil into the scalp with gentle pressure for 10 minutes, 3 or 4 times per week. If you want to just focus on scalp conditioning and hair growth, you will only need 1 teaspoon.

                    However, if you want the benefits of a deep conditioning, follow the steps above. add 4 drops of rosemary oilwhich is known to increase new hair growth over 20%. Rosemary oil also helps to increase circulation in the scalp, and when used with coconut oil can produce fantastic results.

                    After massaging the oils into the scalp for 10 minutes, place a shower cap on, and allow the heat of your body to work with the oils to improve scalp health. 

                    Rich with vitamin K and vitamin E, coconut oil helps to reduce dandruff, and make hair follicles healthy. These treatments are not just for thinning hair; if you are experiencing hair fall while washing, brushing, or style, these treatments with essential oils can help.


                    3. Dandruff 

                    People have used Coconut oil for skin for hundreds of years to fight dandruff. This unsightly, and often itchy, condition can be caused by dry skin conditions, sensitivity to the harsh chemicals in hair care products, and commonly yeast-like fungal (Malassezia) infections.(3)

                    Coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids including lauric acid and capric acid, have strong antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties that target the fungus and help to kill it as well as viruses and bacteria that may be lurking on your scalp.

                    Many prescription and over-the-counter dandruff shampoos can actually make dandruff worse, and don’t fix the root cause of the flakiness. If the problem is fungal, or if the problem is dry skin, topical applications of coconut oil will make a difference.

                    Many commercial shampoos contain chemicals that are harmful. These include parabens, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and many others. Dandruff shampoos are even worse, and contain ammonium laureth sulfate, magnesium aluminum silicate, and selenium sulfide.

                    And the majority of the time, these preparations simply do not work. The goal is to make the scalp healthier, free from fungus, and moisturized, to put an end to dandruff. Treating with coconut oil will not make dandruff go away overnight, but many can see results in just a week or so.

                    TO TREAT DANDRUFF: 

                    oils including lavender, wintergreen, thyme, and tea tree, all help to fight fungus and yeast. For an intensive dandruff treatment, after washing hair, mix 2 teaspoons of coconut oil with 5 drops of one of the oils mentioned above, or a combination, and massage into the scalp.

                    Be sure to really work the mixture into the scalp, from neck to forehead, and behind the ears. Cover with a shower cap, and if possible sit in the sun for 20-30 minutes to increase the heat, or simply use a hair dryer on a low setting to heat the cap.

                    Remove cap, and wash with a gentle natural shampoo. Repeat this 2 to 3 times per week, or even more often, as desired. Like with the conditioning or hair growth treatment, you can leave it on overnight. Just be sure to wear the shower cap to avoid staining bed linens.


                    4. Styling

                    Yes, coconut oil is a great styling agent, and free from the dangerous chemicals in conventional hair care products! This is one of the most overlooked coconut oil for hair uses. Hair dryers, flat irons, hot rollers, and curling irons zap the moisture out of the hair shaft causing it to be brittle and prone to tangling.

                    Coconut oil helps to prevent this type of thermal damage, and when used in the proper amount for your hair length and texture, tames fly aways, frizz, and more. People with thick curly hair often fight frizz in humid climates. Coconut oil helps to tame the frizz, by penetrating into the curls. It can be applied throughout the day for touch-ups, just be sure to use it sparingly.

                    TO TAME FRIZZ: 

                    Start with a tiny amount (1/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon) depending on hair, warming in palms. Smooth from root to tips, and blow dry and style as desired. It will take just a bit longer to dry your hair, but it will be soft, shiny, and manageable.

                    Disguise split ends, and nourish them at the same time by using just a tiny bit of coconut oil on just the ends.

                    TO PROTECT FROM THE SUN:

                    Hair, like skin, is prone to sun damage. Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen, with an SPF of 8.(4) If you are planning a day out in the sun, use it as a leave-in conditioner for all day protection. And, while you are at it, use it on exposed skin as well. Coconut oil is a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike.

                    TO DETANGLE:

                    Detangling hair is a chore; and can often cause breakage. Coconut oil improves hair break stress by penetrating the hair shaft. (5) It also surrounds the hair, and makes it easier to remove knots after washing, or in the evenings. Smooth a small amount through hair, paying particular attention to tangled areas and damaged ends. Use a wide toothcomb, starting from the bottom, and slowly work your way up.

                    Using coconut oil for hair regularly will improve the overall health of the hair, and help to prevent tangles. If tangled hair is a continuing problem, trimming the damage ends will help.

                    NOTE: If you have thin or fine hair, apply coconut oil sparingly to hair for styling. Also, do not apply it to the scalp as this can weigh down the hair.

                     

                     

                    An article by Dr Axe. 

                    Full Article: http://draxe.com/coconut-oil-for-hair/

                     

                    7 Incredible Food Hacks That Make Your Food Healthier

                    If we briefly rewind to the 19th century, our greatest threats were starvation and disease. Today, the largest cause of mortality in the Western World is not a lack of food or rampaging bacteria... In fact, it’s what we do eat that poses the greatest risk to our lives.

                    Diet and lifestyle now drive the top causes of death in America. Food is no longer our means for survival. For many of us, it’s a slow poison.

                    Food is truly a double-edged sword… On one hand, the modern, processed ‘Western’ diet causes many chronic diseases. But on the flip side, food can also be a powerful medicine to restore health, vitality and live a long and vibrant life.

                    Make food your weapon of wellness with these 8 fun hacks to supercharge your diet!

                     

                    1. Drizzle Your Tomatoes With A Little Olive Oil

                    This culinary combo obviously tastes amazing but also gives us great nutritional benefits. Tomatoes are naturally rich in lycopene, which is a carotenoid believed to protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Olive oil actually helps us to absorb lycopene, so make like the Mediterraneans do and get pouring!

                     

                    2. Power Up Your Cruciferous Vegetables

                    Cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts and their close cruciferous cousins have been praised for their ability to prevent a number of cancers. However, did you know that cooked and frozen broccoli can’t actually provide us with sulforaphane (a key anti-cancer compound)? Therefore, simply add a little ground mustard powder after cooking to replace the enzymes needed to power up and release sulforaphane once more!

                     

                    3. Turmeric & Black Pepper Are The Bonnie & Clyde Of The Spice Kingdom…

                    Truly a dynamic duo! Turmeric is naturally high in a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called circumin. Black Pepper contains an alkaloid called piperine, which significantly enhances the bioavailability of circumin. So make sure you ‘spice’ up your curries - and your health - with this flavorsome pair.

                     

                    4. Marinade With Lemon Juice Or Vinegar

                    If you choose to eat meat, poultry and fish, common cooking processes increase the production of Advanced Glycosylation End Products (AGEs). AGEs have been associated with a wide range of negative health outcomes such as inflammation, chronic disease and aging. If you choose to eat animal products, simply marinade with lemon or vinegar half an hour before cooking to reduce AGEs. Boiling, steaming and lightly cooking your food will also help!

                     

                    5. Squeeze A Little Lemon Into Your Life!

                    You’ve probably heard already that green tea is brimming with antioxidants to help protect us against cancer and aging. However, adding a little lemon juice into your green tea helps us to absorb the antioxidants (catechins) that green tea offers. Additionally, lemon juice may blunt the action of oxalates - the compounds in green tea that decrease mineral absorption - and is wonderfully refreshing!

                     

                    6. Serve Your Salmon With Kale

                    Few things happen in isolation within our body and calcium is no exception. This essential mineral cannot be absorbed and utilised properly without the help of its good friend, Vitamin D! If you choose to eat salmon or oily fish, why not pair it with a delicious side of steamed kale? The vitamin D from your fish will assist with the absorption of calcium from this leafy green.

                     

                    7. Get Your Oaty Antioxidants

                    This Wintry weather is perfect for a warming bowl of Oatmeal Porridge. You can pump up the antioxidant profile in every mouthful by simply adding a pinch of cloves! Also consider adding a small amount of Indian gooseberries (these are sold in a powdered form called ‘amla’) to balance your blood sugar and improve the cholesterol fighting power of this meal.

                     

                     

                     

                    This article originally appeared on foodmatters.com

                    Link: http://foodmatters.tv/content/8-incredible-food-hacks-that-make-your-food-healthier

                    • NGS Team