Happy and safe in the summer sun

sun

Overview

It’s summer time and most of us are heading outdoors to enjoy the sun. However, being exposed for long periods of time can heighten skin cancer and heat related illnesses. In regards to skin cancer, there are numerous best practices that can be applied before leaving the house, such as wearing sunglasses and non-toxic sunscreen. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has investigated numerous brands of non-toxic sunscreen, which are mineral based and even more effective at protecting the skin from damage.

The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has created a program called SunWise with evidence-supported research from the Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. By following the best practices listed below we can educate ourselves how to be safe while outside.

However, we many of us are guilty of not using sunscreen on a daily basis and therefore prevention can also come from foods we can eat that protect our skin from damage, such as with healthy fats and antioxidants.

Sun safety best practices

1) Radiation from the sun can cause numerous long-term health concerns, such as, melanoma skin cancer, cataracts, and immune suppression as indicated by the EPA, 2015. Melanoma can be treated if spotted immediately and so the American Cancer Society offers instructions for self-examinations to learn about changes in moles.

2) Prevention also comes from awareness of heat-related illnesses. The Centers of Disease Control offer information about what signs to be aware of and immediate life saving actions so the situation does not exacerbate.

3) Check the UV Index before leaving a building. The scale adequately explains the index reading and the level of danger from ultraviolet, UV, rays which cause skin damage. A free UV index app is available for smartphones.

4) Each state varies in regards to skin cancer facts, therefore become familiar with skin cancer facts for your state.

Truth about Sunscreen     

Sunscreen can be a protective layer applied to exposed skin for extended use while in the sun. However, many sunscreens can be more toxic than the sun and so it is important to purchase from a reputable company, which uses mineral, based ingredients recommended by Environmental Working Group,

Leading researcher against sunscreen use, Elizabeth Plourde, PhD discusses her research on the biohazard waste of sunscreens with chemical ingredients and the continued rise in skin cancer despite their use. She states that actually infrared rays from the sun are stronger than UV rays and her research has proven that its what causes skin cancer.

Food as prevention

1) Eating healthy fats such as butter, olive oil, avocados, and coconut oil, protect our cells from inflammation and improve absorption of other vitamins, which decrease chronic diseases.

2) Increasing daily intake of fruits, vegetables and chocolates which are antioxidants protect against skin damage, enhance overall body health, and maintain skin health.

3) A glass of red wine a day keeps the stress away by decreasing inflammation and increasing anti-oxidants. Flavonoids in red grapes may reduce sun’s ability to destroy skin cells.

4) Although the sun offers vitamin D during the fall and winter in many states, this can be an issue. Therefore ensuring intake of Vitamin D in foods such as fish-liver oils, fatty fishes, mushrooms, egg yolks, and liver enhances bone health and anti-inflammatory.

Conclusion

            The sun has many benefits, yet due to the thinning of the ozone layer and increase in contamination, unfortunately it is becoming more harmful to enjoy the sun safely. Being proactive and constantly checking the UV index and avoiding the sun directly between 10am and 4pm as this is when the UV rays are the most harmful, can decrease chances of becoming sunburned which then increase melanoma. Prevention also begins by what we eat, such as healthy fats and antioxidants, as well as what we put on our skin. By teaching and practicing self-care by observing changes on our skin, we can stay safe in the sun and enjoy the warmth as well as healing capabilities the sun has to offer us.

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10 tips to boost memory naturally

Introduction

As people approach 50, otherwise known as the half way mark or over the hill, they begin to take more notice of how their bodies and brains are changing. Notable examples could be taking longer to remember information, decrease in energy, physical changes, challenges with motor skills, and emotional capacities to manage life changes. With a bombardment of information coming at us from numerous directions such as our relationships with loved ones and colleagues, the Internet, careers, keeping up with calendars, etc. it can be overwhelming to remember many situations, events, and people.

                  The process of aging begins the moment we are born and our mental ability to process is highly adaptable especially with situations and skills that are “experience-dependent” and is identified as neural plasticity or brain plasticity. Our brain is constantly adapting to our environment and so by maintaining an active lifestyle with activities that focus on cognitive, physical, nutrition, and social aspects this will enable us to continuously learn new skills and refine skills which assists the neurons in our brain to release information and remain active (Cai, Chan, Peng, Yan, 2014).

Cognitive

                  With an increase in cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, it’s important to be aware of signs the body shows a consistent decline. Forgetfulness, such as walking into a room and forgetting why or misplacing documents are common, yet when this happens on a more constant basis then it is time to visit the doctor for an evaluation. Just as a person exercises to keep the body in form, so must one exercise new skills at home or work or upholding current practices to ensure the brain can function well (Cai, Chan, Peng, Yan, 2014).

Cognitive Activities

  • Maintain routines Place your important items, such as keys, wallets/purses, important documents, etc. in the same place each time.
  • Self-care techniques to reduce stress, anxiety and depression
  • Life long student. Practice mental and physical activities that encourage thinking and problem solving.
  • Play video games. This encourages brain matter to reform itself. (Cai, Chan, Peng, Yan, 2014).

Physical Activities

  • Restful sleep. Taking a 15-20 minute nap and sleeping 6-8 hours allows your body to repair itself without distractions or stress.
  • Especially aerobic, which increases your heart rate and pumps more blood into your body. Active individuals have are able to process information easier and at a faster rate as it slows down the reduction of brain tissue (Gomez-Pinilla and Hillman, 2013).
  • Maintain an active lifestyle by engaging in physical activities such as cleaning, cooking, being outside, visiting with friends and family.

Nutrition/Diet/Prescriptions

Brain inflammation, otherwise known as oxidative stress, reduces the impact of neurons firing each other, which then cause further deterioration of the body. Constant stress, depression, and anxiety also accelerate the aging process because it causes the brain to remain in fight/flight mode or crisis mode rather than allowing it to relax (Dias et al, 2012).            People can naturally reduce inflammation and promote relaxation by eating foods with polyphenols. These foods have anti-oxidant properties, which protect the brain and aid in mental and emotional health and reduce the onset of cognitive diseases. (Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Nguyen, T. T. J., 2012).

Another important factor is to be aware of medications that may have side effects which may impact memory and motor skills, as well as, interactions between supplements and medications. Always discuss with your doctor if you are taking supplements and learn about the side effects.

Memory Enhancing Foods

  • Green tea
  • Turmeric spice
  • Eat blueberries

Conclusion

Aging gracefully involves a person maintaining an active lifestyle by engaging in cognitive practices that maintain motor skills and for the brain to remain active, exercising, and eating whole foods and spices that help the body reduce inflammation. It is also important to be aware of prescription side effects or interactions caused by supplements. Becoming older should not be a feared state but one of acceptance and enjoyment as one is more knowledgeable and aware of one’s body and mind.

Resources:

Cai, L., Chan, J. S. Y., Yan, J. H., & Peng, K. (2014). Brain plasticity and motor practice in cognitive aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience6, 31. doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00031

Dias, G. P., Cavegn, N., Nix, A., do Nascimento Bevilaqua, M. C., Stangl, D., Zainuddin, M. S. A., … Thuret, S. (2012). The Role of Dietary Polyphenols on Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis: Molecular Mechanisms and Behavioural Effects on Depression and Anxiety. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2012, 541971. doi:10.1155/2012/541971)

Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Hillman, C. (2013). The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities. Comprehensive Physiology3(1), 403–428. doi:10.1002/cphy.c110063

Gomez-Pinilla, F., & Nguyen, T. T. J. (2012). Natural mood foods: The actions of polyphenols against psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Nutritional Neuroscience15(3), 127–133. doi:10.1179/1476830511Y.0000000035