A growing body of scientific evidence proves getting outside (i.e., being an “outsider”) is good for our health and well-being. Exploring and appreciating nature—in our own backyards, community parks and school yards—reduces stress, improves memory, boosts heart health, and offers a host of other benefits for our minds and bodies. Getting outside, even for just 10 minutes, can do much to boost your mood, productivity, and quality of life. Here are 10 easy ways you can enjoy nature in under 10 minutes. Take a walk. Lace up your athletic shoes and head out for a walk around the block or to your neighborhood park. While you’re out, commit to turning off your cell phone and enjoying the natural setting around you (it’s just 10 minutes, after all!). Get your kids moving. A rousing game of tag or hide-and-seek in the family yard is a great way to counter computer and screen time. Play with your dog. A dog’s favorite “room” of the house is your family yard. Take inspiration from your pooch and spend a few minutes outside playing Frisbee or fetch. Clean up your outdoor living room. Make simple work of yard chores by breaking them up into smaller chunks. Ten minutes is enough time to put a serious dent in weeding a flower bed, sweeping off the back patio, or picking up debris from your lawn. Plant something. It is spring planting season, so take 10 minutes to dig a hole and introduce a new plant or get started on your vegetable garden or flower beds. Dine alfresco. Taking a meal outside is one of the easiest—and most nourishing—ways to enjoy the outdoor space around you. Have breakfast with the backyard birds. Lunch at a park near your office. Enjoy your coffee break under a shade tree. Study or read a book. Take the “work” out of homework by moving study or reading sessions to your backyard or community green space. Swap a (short) commute for walking or biking. Do you typically use your car to run down to the mailbox, to a nearby convenience store, or to run other nearby daily errands? If it’s not too far, take a short walk or ride your bike instead. Meet outside. Fresh air can be a catalyst for fresh ideas, so take your next brainstorming session for work outdoors. Need to have a heart-to-heart with your child? Scientists have discovered that communication between parents and children is more connected when conducted outside. Sit back and relax. Sometimes, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing at all. Spend some time in a hammock, spread a blanket out on the grass, or take a meditation break outside to soak up the nature around you.
The healthfulness of school lunches is one of the top three parental concerns of this school season, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll. The survey covered a number of parental worries for their school-aged kids, including their safety, whether they’ll make new friends, quality of education, and homework load. However, 44 percent of respondents prioritized healthful school lunches after the quality of their children’s teachers, and ahead of the cost of school supplies. Taking a deeper look into school lunches, the survey also found that the average child buys lunch about three times a week and, while healthful eating is a top concern for parents, 36 percent admitted they don’t typically know what their child eats at school. Making Good Nutrition A Part of Kids’ Everyday Life What with pizza, mystery meat, and the variety of fried options offered at school, most parents say their child eats healthiest when at home or when they pack their kids’ lunches themselves. Unfortunately, the survey also found that 45 percent of parents admit that they don’t always have time or have forgotten to prepare a sack lunch for their kids to take to school. country that are working with parents to improve both the nutrition levels and taste of school meals.” According to the survey, only about a quarter of parents know both the nutrient and calorie value of the foods their children eat for lunch, whether homemade or purchased. The Importance of Knowing Nutritional Value of Food Building a balanced meal—including dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains and protein—doesn’t have to be complicated or take a long time. What is most important is making sure that the calories your children consume are jam-packed with the nutrients they need for energy and growth—a concept known as “nutrient density.” Emphasizing nutrient-dense foods is a great way to rethink how you pack your kids’ lunches—and how you plan meals at home, too. Simply put, nutrient-dense foods are those that pack a lot of nutrients relative to their calorie cost. When choosing between two food items with the same calorie amount, one food choice could provide your body with the protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins or minerals it needs every day, while another choice may provide empty calories from sugar and saturated fat with no other significant nutrients. Ideally, a meal should be made up of mostly nutrient-dense foods, with fewer “calorie-dense” foods—such as fats and sugars—which are high in calories relative to the nutrients they contain. When parents do pack a lunch, the survey reported, tasty food is their top priority (64 percent), as well as foods that parents know their child will eat (64 percent), followed by healthy options (62 percent). Some ideas for nutrient-packed, healthful foods that most kids will enjoy include omega-3-rich tuna fish, sweet and crunchy carrots, strawberries packed with potassium and vitamin C, and nuts, which can replace chips to satisfy cravings for salty, crunchy items. However, the survey also found that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich continues to be the staple menu item most parents pack for their children. To make it more nutrient dense, parents can simply replace the white bread with whole grain bread and use a low- or no-sugar-added peanut butter and jelly, to make the sandwich more healthful, with better nutritional value.
One of the most common human parasitic infestations around, head lice affect an estimated 6-12 million Americans annually, most of them children. If your kids are at risk, here’s something you should know: Catching lice early is vital to helping stop the spread of these itchy pests. What To Do
- Since it can take 4 to 6 weeks for symptoms such as itching to show up, it’s a good idea to make weekly lice checks a habit at home to stop an infestation before it gets out of control.
- Don’t share items that touch the head. Teach children to keep their hats, helmets, brushes, headbands, scarves and other items to themselves.
- When possible, have children wear long hair pulled back.
- Catch it early. If you notice your child scratching his head, do a thorough check.
- Act quickly. If you are notified of an outbreak, immediately check your child’s hair, searching for nits close to the scalp or sores from scratching at the nape of the neck or behind the ears. Check all family members using a nit comb. Apply a 50/50 solution of conditioner and water to the hair to make combing easier. Work under bright light and watch for movement. Examine the comb after each stroke.
- Don’t worry and don’t blame the child. Even if your kid does bring home lice, it’s not the end of the world. There are affordable pesticide-free over-the-counter products that can help you treat the problem without having to spend a lot of time or money on going to a clinic.
If you’re among the increasing number of Americans keen on natural solutions to boost immunity these days, you may be glad to know the answer may be right in your refrigerator—or should be. Loaded with vitamin C and zinc, and with key antioxidant qualities, Limoneira Lemons can play a vital role in helping the immune system adapt to new threats and conditions. Experts have cited lemons as a way to “reduce the risk of complications from a cold or flu, and reduce inflammation in the body.” Experiments have also found that lemon juice can destroy the bacteria of malaria, cholera, diphtheria, typhoid and other deadly diseases. Lemons are also a boon to any kitchen or DIY beauty routine—plus, they’re a handy sustainability tool. Use them to make life simpler without investing in potentially toxic chemicals or overpriced solutions. In fact, beyond their immunity-boosting benefits, lemons provide natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties that let you clean and disinfect your home, naturally. Here’s how to create a useful all-purpose cleaner for your kitchen and bathroom that can help your house smell spring fresh all year: Combine equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle. You can use it nearly anywhere. For wood surfaces, create a polish by mixing one cup of olive oil and one-half cup of lemon juice. Test it first on a small spot.
Contrary to popular belief, migraine is not just a bad headache. It’s a serious, often incapacitating, neurological disease. In addition to serious pain, migraine can also cause nausea or vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light, sounds and smell. Nearly 40 million people in the United States live with this debilitating health problem, but since not every migraine sufferer experiences migraine in the same way, finding the right treatment approach can be challenging. In fact, finding a fast-acting, easy-to-use treatment that does not aggravate migraine symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting, can feel like an uphill battle. Starting a dialogue with your healthcare provider is the first step in finding a migraine treatment that works for you. Here are some questions that might help set you on the right path to finding migraine relief.
There are so many migraine treatments available. How do I know which one is right for me? Treatment choices for acute migraine should be based on headache severity, migraine frequency, associated symptoms and any underlying conditions. It’s important to let your healthcare provider know if your migraine causes nausea or vomiting as it may interfere with taking an oral medication. There are several different categories of acute treatments for migraines, two of the most common being analgesics and triptans.6 Analgesics are considered nonspecific migraine medications as they work on pain symptoms in general, while triptans are one type of migraine medication that specifically targets migraine.6 Triptans are the main class of drug used for the acute treatment of migraine and tend to work well if administered early in the course of a migraine attack. How do I know if my migraine medication is working successfully? A good way to tell if your acute medication is working is to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you pain-free within two hours?
- Are you functioning normally in 3-4 hours?
- Does your migraine respond to treatment consistently at least 50% of the time?
- Are you always able to swallow or keep down your acute medication?
If you answered “no” to one or more of these questions, then you and your healthcare provider may want to reassess your treatment plan. I experience nausea with my migraine so taking an oral medicine is difficult. I need a medicine that works fast — what are some of my options? You’re not alone. Sometimes an oral medication is sub-optimal, particularly for patients that experience migraine with nausea or vomiting. Surveys have revealed that as many as 90% of migraine sufferers experience these symptoms, and many find it more difficult to take and thus absorb oral medication. Patients who can’t take oral medication should consider asking their healthcare provider for an alternative treatment. With the many treatment options available for the acute treatment of migraine, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about which treatment is right for you.