6 Easy Home Remedies to Stop Sneezing

Whether it’s from seasonal allergies or just a bug up your nose, sneezing is a natural mechanism of the body that basically clears the nasal cavity.1 Or, as University of Pennsylvania researchers say, sneezing “reboots” the nasal cavity. In effect, sneezing is a defense mechanism of the body.

The most common reason for sneezing is a cold, allergic rhinitis or the flu; the least common is a nose injury. For some people, one sneeze does the job, but for others, the irritation is intense enough to cause more successive sneezes.2

No matter how disruptive it may be, holding in a sneeze is far more dangerous to your health because sneezing has a lot of power (the sudden, powerful expulsion of air can propel mucus droplets at rates up to 100 miles per hour). Holding in a sneeze means you end up turning this force inward and can end up rupturing the eardrums or damaging your sinuses.3

Don’t hold your sneeze in, but do cover your mouth with a handkerchief or an elbow to avoid the spread of infection.

That said, there are ways to help reduce sneezing from occurring in the first place so you can get on with your day. Here are some home remedies to get your sneezing in control!

1. Treat Your Sneezes With Saline

Stop Sneezing | Princeton NutrientsMany of us who suffer from continuous sneezing or excessive sneezing start to feel irritation in the sinus or nasal cavity before an episode. This is the time to use a nasal saline flush or irrigation, which has proven beneficial to those with seasonal allergies.4 Care should be taken to make sure that the saline solution is isotonic (the same saline levels as the body) and the water used should be boiled and distilled so you don’t end up with an infection.

2. Avoid Trans Fats like the Plague

Studies have linked trans fats to an increase in inflammation of the body’s tissues as well as declining immune function. This means that if you eat a diet high in trans-fat acids, you not only increase the risk of contracting allergies or infection but also increase the possibility of the tissues becoming inflamed.5 The best bet? Cut down on trans fats (like cookies, cakes, potato chips, margarine, and many pre-packaged foods) as much as you can.

3. Get Some Turmeric in Your Diet

Stop Sneezing | Princeton NutrientsTurmeric, the yellow spice you often see in Indian cuisine, is the dried and powdered underground stems of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa). An antioxidant, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric can significantly help seasonal allergy-related sneezing, according to research.6

4. Try Some Butterbur

Butterbur is a leafy plant that grows in the marshy regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. It’s been known for its medicinal value since the Middle Ages, where it was first used to treat plague and fevers. Some initial studies have also shown promise of butterbur being an effective remedy in alleviating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, though more studies are needed to effectively prove its effect.7

5. Have a Hot Cuppa

There’s a reason why grandma’s hot tea always made you feel better! Researchers at Cardiff University suggest that having a hot steaming drink, whether it’s coffee or herbal tea, can alleviate symptoms of colds and flu, including halting those sneezes that wring you out. The hot vapors of the drink work as steam inhalation, easing inflamed and irritated sinus cavities, while the hot sips also soothe the throat, giving you a welcome respite from all the congestion and sneezing.8

6. Get Some Steam In

Stop Sneezing | Princeton NutrientsInhaling warm, humidified air can also alleviate symptoms of a cold, flu, allergy or even rhinitis. Plain steam or steam medicated with a decongestant (like Vicks or eucalyptus oil) can soothe the inflamed nasal sinuses and even increase nasal resistance over time, though more studies are needed to pinpoint its effectiveness.9

Sneezing is just as annoying as it is refreshing, but it also makes you extremely contagious (or if you aren’t ill, it makes people think you are!). Try these home remedies to give your nose a break and get your breathing back to normal. Gesundheit!

 

Learn More:
How To Build A Mason Jar Salad (And What To Put In It!)
4 Weird Ways You Can Lower Blood Pressure
How Much Protein In An Egg? (and why eggs are healthy for you)


Sources
1.https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-blog/2012/may/biology-of-a-sneeze-rebooting
2.http://www.everydayhealth.com/allergy-pictures/why-we-sneeze-and-other-fun-facts-about-sneezing.aspx#03
3.https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/04/dont-stifle-that-sneeze-you-could-get-hurt
4.http://care.american-rhinologic.org/irrigation
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8050192
6.http://ccrhindia.org/pdf/ijrh/5(1)/4.pdf
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18219828
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19145994
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10796659

How To Calculate Your Ideal Body Weight (it’s easy!)

Once upon a time, all you needed to know to determine if you were at an ideal weight was your Body Mass Index (BMI). But that was before medical science evolved – now we know there are many different factors to consider, including your gender, height, waist size and lifestyle, to figure out how healthy you really are.

Follow this simple three-step guide to determine, in three different ways, if your weight generally falls within healthy standards.

To start with, weigh yourself right now (yes, get off that couch!) and keep your weight (in pounds) and your height (in inches) handy.

Step One: Let’s Begin With BMI

Healthy Weight | Princeton NutrientsThe BMI is an estimated calculation of your fat content based on your weight in relation to your height. While it’s not very accurate, it does get the “answers” right for most people and tend to give similar results to other expensive and tedious body fat measuring tests.1

Calculating your BMI is fairly easy. When calculating BMI using inches and pounds, you’ll divide your weight (in pounds) with the square of your height (in inches) and multiply this number by 703.

BMI = Weight (pounds) ÷ Height2 (inches) x 703

According to the number you get, you are:

  • Obese with a BMI of over 30
  • Overweight, if your BMI is between 25 and 30
  • Normal, if your BMI is between 18.5 and 25
  • Underweight, if your BMI is under 18.5

The problem with BMI is that it doesn’t take into account the various kinds of fat in the body, the ratio of fat to muscle or the even visceral fat (the type of belly fat that’s considered unhealthy).2 This means a person who doesn’t exercise whose weight consists of more fat might show to be “healthier” on the BMI index than, say, a fit athlete whose body weight is mostly muscle but weighs more.

The BMI also doesn’t count in bone density, so a person with light, frail bones will prove to be “healthier” once again. So the BMI is more of a ballpark figure than anything else, and experts say that BMI underestimates the amount of body fat in overweight/obese people and overestimates it in lean or muscular people.

Step Two: Let’s Try WHR

The WHR stands for Waist to Hip Ratio. The simple way to do this is to measure your waist at its smallest circumference (above your belly button) and divide that by the circumference of your hips, measured at their widest part.

WHR = size of waist ÷ size of hips

Healthy Weight | Princeton NutrientsWhat does this number mean?

When it comes to women, the ideal WHR is lower than 0.8. If it’s between 0.8 and 0.89, it means there’s a moderate risk of heart problems, and number higher than 0.9 indicates a high risk of heart problems.

For men, the ideal WHR is lower than 0.9. Between 0.9 and 0.99 means there’s a moderate risk of heart problems and anything higher than 1 means there’s a high risk of heart problems.

Studies have proven that the WHR is a much better indicator of obesity and related diseases than BMI.3 However, the WHR does not measure the body’s total fat percentage or the muscle to fat ratio.

Step 3: Waist-To-Height Ratio

Healthy Weight | Princeton NutrientsIn a 2012 study, Dr. Margaret Ashwell, the science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, produced research on body weight that generated yet another theory—that a waist-to-height ratio is a good tool for predicting the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related diseases. It’s also a better calculation than BMI.4

The theory or calculation is pretty simple: To avoid lifestyle and obesity-related medical conditions:

Your waist circumference (inches) should be less than half your height (inches).

For example, if you are 5 feet 5 inches tall (65 inches total), your waist should be 32 inches or less.1

The Takeaway

Ultimately, there is no perfect number when it comes to healthy weight or measurements. Not only do we move around at different intensities and durations each day, but our metabolisms, body physiology and chemistry work in their own ways. Someone who weighs more than you can be healthier, while someone who weighs little can be unhealthy.

Use these three calculations to gain a fair estimate of where you stand, then explore eating healthier and exercising more depending on your results. At the end of the day, you know best!

Learn More:
6 Bad Habits That Are Disrupting Your Sleep
Drink A Gallon of Water a Day to Lose Weight (does it work?!)
Kick Your Metabolism into High Gear With These 7 Tricks


Sources:
1.http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/what-is-bmi.php
2.http://healthland.time.com/2013/08/26/why-bmi-isnt-the-best-measure-for-weight-or-health/
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4170784/
4.http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/waist-to-hip-height.php
5.http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/waist-to-hip-height.php

6 Bad Habits That Are Disrupting Your Sleep

If you’re having trouble getting your z’s, your everyday habits could be why. Some of the things you do every day might actually be robbing you of much-needed rest. Getting great sleep has several benefits, including an increase in productivity and decision-making. But a lack of proper sleep can make it very hard to keep your focus, leaving you dragging through your day.

Are bad habits ruining your sleep? Here are six common habits that could be derailing your shut-eye each night.

1. Skipping Your Workout Routine

If you tend to skip your regular morning and afternoon workouts from time to time, you might actually be hurting your sleep quality. According to one study, regular aerobic exercise could help add a significant amount of quality snooze time once you hit the bed.1 If you don’t work out, now is a good time to start. And if you already have an exercise routine, stick to it to maximize good sleep.

2. Eating Too Late

If you tend to eat right before you go to bed, you may be disrupting your sleep patterns, according to one key study.

Bad Habits Ruining Sleep | Princeton NutrientsResearchers wanted to know if there was an association between eating at night and sleep quality. The study involved 52 people between and ages of 20 and 45. None of the participants smoked, none were obese, and none had reported any sort of sleep disorders.

During the study, the participants slept in a laboratory while researchers studied their sleep patterns. Otherwise, they lived their normal lives and continued their regular routines, with the exception of abstaining from alcohol completely, not drinking any caffeine in the evening, and not taking naps during the day.

The researchers asked the participants to keep diaries of the food they ate for three days, providing as much information as they could on what types of foods they consumed, how much they ate, and when they ate it.

According to the results, men who ate foods higher in fat during evening hours had lower sleep efficiency scores

– this is a measure of how much time you actually sleep compared to how much total time you spend in bed. The lower the score, the less time you’re asleep. Women who participated in the study and ate during the evening also had lower efficiency scores. It also took them longer to fall asleep than the male participants.2

The bottom line? Quash those late night urges to eat, or your sleep might suffer.

3. Exposure to Blue Light in Bed

Bad Habits Ruining Sleep | Princeton Nutrients

Blue light is just about everywhere, but it’s particularly prevalent in smartphones, tablets, and other technological devices. While there are plenty of positive aspects to blue light, it can be a problem when you get into bed.

Studies indicate that continued exposure to blue light could negatively affect your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wakefulness. If you don’t have enough melatonin, it can be extremely hard to get to sleep.3

4. Drinking Alcohol and/or Caffeine

If you think that having a nightcap before you go to bed will help you get to sleep, you’re only partly right. Alcohol does act as a sedative, but it actually has a negative effect on the quality of your sleep.

Research shows that if you consume alcohol shortly before going to bed, you will have less REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

REM sleep is also known as “deep sleep,” and it’s the time when you have your most vivid dreams.4

When it comes to caffeine, you might think that drinking a cup of coffee or tea in the early evening won’t have any sort of effect on the quality of your sleep. However, caffeine can take as long as six hours to wear off, according to research, increasing the chances you’ll have disrupted sleep patterns.5

5. Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday

After working hard during the week, it’s only natural that you’d want to stay up a little later and then sleep later on the weekend. Unfortunately, research indicates that this could have a similar effect on your body as having jet lag. The phenomenon is actually called “social jet lag.” When you sleep in, your body resets to a different internal schedule. That makes it more difficult to get good sleep when the work week starts.6

6. Taking Your Work to Bed

Bad Habits Ruining Sleep | Princeton NutrientsSpeaking of work, don’t take it to bed with you. Doing so may make it hard for you to get the high-quality sleep you need to be at your best. If you work in bed frequently, your stress levels can take a hit. And remember that blue light issue?

Put away your laptop and smartphone. Work can wait. Get your z’s.7

Tips to Improve Your Sleep

So, bad habits ruining your sleep? Then change them ASAP.

Also, there are some other things that can help improve your sleep quality once you hit the bed. For example, you can improve your “sleep hygiene” by establishing a consistent schedule. If you tend to go to bed and wake up at different times, your internal clock can go haywire. Choosing a routine, and sticking to it, can go a long way toward helping you get enough rest.8

The Bottom Line

If you ever have a problem getting to sleep, don’t try to force it. Get out of bed, do something that’s relaxing, and then try again after a few minutes. If this problem happens on a regular basis, talk to your doctor, so they can recommend an effective course of action.

 

Learn More About Sleep:
Sleep: Can It Be a Predictor of Heart Disease?
4 Tips For Improving Your Sleep Quality (Every Night)
Can Going Camping Help You Get Better Sleep?


Sources
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20813580
2.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3227713/
3.https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article-lookup/doi/10.1210/jc.2010-2098
4.https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh25-2/101-109.htm
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3805807/
6.https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/scicurious/weekly-grind-social-jetlag-could-be-weighty-issue
7.https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/q-a-why-is-blue-light-before-bedtime-bad-for-sleep/
8.http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/art-20048379

Thumb Joint Pain? What Causes It & Some Simple Home Remedies

Any sort of joint pain is troubling, of course, but thumb joint pain is especially bad. Most of us don’t really appreciate just how important our thumbs are until something goes wrong with one or both of them — especially when we’re constantly using them to operate a smart phone.

Here’s some information on why thumb joint pain occurs, and some safe remedies you can try at home to alleviate discomfort.

Why Thumb Joint Pain Occurs

Just about any job requires extensive use of the hands. Most everyday activities require you to use your thumbs a great deal, for that matter. This puts a great deal of stress on your thumb joint. A seemingly small issue can become a major problem relatively quickly because you’re using your thumbs so often.

You might find it extremely difficult simply to write a note, or to grab a doorknob.

The area of the thumb that tends to undergo the most strain is known as the carpometacarpal, or CMC joint. This is also known as the basal joint. The ligaments and tendons that surround this joint are susceptible to inflammation. And this inflammation can lead to big problems.1

Here are some of the more common issues:

Injury

Thumb Joint Pain | Princeton Nutrients

A sprain or fracture can result in severe thumb joint pain.

If you’ve ever suffered a “jammed thumb,” what you actually did was sprain your thumb ligaments.2

Thumb arthritis

Continual use of your thumb can lead to a wearing down of the joint. In some instances, this results in a breakdown of the joint cartilage, leading to thumb arthritis. Ligaments can also loosen, eventually wearing away the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones.3

A previous thumb injury can lead to a condition known as “basal thumb arthritis.” If you tend to feel more pain after grasping or pinching an object, this could be the reason why.4

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

CTS can be not only incredibly painful, but also debilitating. It can rob you of your ability to perform even the simplest tasks because it simply hurts too much. The main cause of CTS is compression of what is known as the median nerve. This compression occurs where the nerve runs along the wrist. Common symptoms are pain and tingling in the thumb and first finger, as well as numbness.5

If you have Thumb Joint Pain or suspect you may have one of the conditions mentioned above, you should consult your doctor or regular health care provider.

However, if you suffer more from discomfort or stiffness than actual pain, you might try some of the following.

Remedies for Thumb Joint Discomfort

If your thumb joint is causing you discomfort, there are a few things you can try in order to find relief.

For example, soaking your hand in Epsom salts could help relieve your thumb joint discomfort.

Thumb Joint Pain | Princeton NutrientsEpsom salts are rich in sulfates and magnesium, and quickly absorb through your skin.

They not only relax muscles – they may also help reduce inflammation.6

Dilute two cups of Epsom salts into a gallon of warm water, and let your hand soak for about 15 minutes.

There are several different herbal remedies you might find effective.

These include:

Cat’s Claw

This herb has antioxidant properties that may help to inhibit the development of inflammation. In one study, people suffering from osteoarthritis who received a capsule containing a cat’s claw extract saw a reduction in their pain in less than one week.7

Thumb Joint Pain | Princeton NutrientsDevil’s Claw

Devil’s claw (scientific name: Harpagophytum procumbens) is a plant whose tubers contain an extract which may help ease arthritic joint discomfort and stiffness.

In one study, researchers found that devil’s claw extract was effective in helping people who suffer discomfort from osteoarthritis.8

Seed Oils

Oils from the seeds of several plants can help reduce joint discomfort. These plants include borage seed, primrose, and black currant. The seeds from these plants contain a type of unsaturated fatty acid known as gamma linoleic acid, or GLA.9 GLA is been shown to be effective in easing discomfort and stiffness.10

Stinging Nettle

The name of this plant is definitely accurate, because it can sting. But this mild discomfort is worth it for many people suffering from joint soreness. The nettles contain histamine and serotonin, which may help to ease joint discomfort.11 Study participants suffering from thumb joint discomfort reported experiencing relief after applying stinging nettle leaf for one week.12

Willow Bark

A study showed that people suffering from joint discomfort using willow bark extract saw a 14 percent reduction in pain after two weeks. Another group participating in the same study receiving a placebo saw a 2 percent increase in discomfort.13

The Takeaway

Thumb joint pain can be incredibly frustrating. It can even rob you of your quality of life in severe cases. Your health care professional can help. If you’re suffering is more discomfort than pain, there are several home remedies, like these above, that you can use in an effort to relieve your discomfort. Before you try any of them, though, talk to your doctor first, to make sure they agree it’s safe for you to do so.

 

Learn More:
Feeling Weak in the Knees? (simple leg exercises!)
Why You Should Start Lifting Weights (plus, beginner safety tips)
7 Natural Remedies For Reducing Muscle Pain


Sources
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0023122
2.http://www.assh.org/handcare/hand-arm-injuries/thumb-sprains
3.http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/joint-surgery/types/other/new-thumb-surgery-options.php
4.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2599975
5.https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0001100
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11603848
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11143915
9.http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/gammalinolenic-acid
10.https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/gla.php
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845706
12.http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/014107680009300607
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11406860

The Benefits of Flexibility As You Age (and how to get more)

It can be tough to stay mobile when you get older. It’s hard enough maintaining a proper work-life balance, but it becomes even more challenging as your body ages. Some people can find it extremely difficult to simply get out of bed in the morning, or perform relatively simple tasks throughout the day. Stretching may help, by improving your range of motion.

Stretching your muscles properly is important at any stage in life, but it’s even more critical that you do it as you age.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you need to take whatever steps you can to maintain your flexibility as you age.

Expanding Your Range of Motion

The more flexible your muscles are, the better the chances that you’ll have a full range of motion throughout your life. Not only will this improve your performance when playing sports, such as tennis or golf, it could also help protect you from suffering back pain.1

Flexibility As You Age | Princeton NutrientsWarming up before physical activity is a great way to help your muscles get the oxygen and blood they need to perform their best. It could be something as simple as taking a short walk or taking a few practice swings with a golf club or tennis racquet. Once you’ve done your warm-up for about 10 minutes or so, then perform your stretching exercises to get your muscles loose.2

Reducing Your Chances of Developing Arthritis

Stretching your muscles not only helps expand your range of motion, it might also help protect you against the pain caused by arthritis. Far too many older people develop osteoarthritis, a condition that results from the breakdown of cartilage between your joints. It is estimated that more than 12 million people age 65 and older have this condition.3

While osteoarthritis can’t be prevented entirely, stretching your muscles can help you manage discomfort. Increasing flexibility as you age may help relieve stiffness and soreness. But before you start your stretching routine, use a heat pack to warm up your muscles. Then, once you’re finished exercising, use an ice pack to reduce swelling.

Improving Your Posture

Flexibility As You Age | Princeton NutrientsIf you are slowly starting to show signs of stooped shoulders or other posture problems, stretching your muscles on a regular basis could help. Our shoulder and chest tendons and ligaments tend to tighten with age. Stretching your muscles can help loosen them. This increased flexibility will go a long way toward correcting posture problems.4

Lowering the Risk of Falling

As we age, our risk of falls increases. Falls can be devastating, particularly in the elderly, who are at the highest risk. This is where stretching may prove beneficial. If you are more flexible, you can greatly lower the chances that falls will happen. Regular stretching of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the lower back can help improve your stability and balance.5

Giving You More Energy

Who doesn’t want a little more energy every day? The need for more energy increases with age, as it’s a key component of maintaining independence and good health. Stretching your muscles helps to increase blood circulation. This, in turn, helps to increase the flow of nutrients throughout your body. As a result, you have more energy to get out and enjoy life.

But it’s important that you do the right kinds of stretches if you’re looking for more energy. “Dynamic” stretches are best, such as leg swings, shoulder circles, lunges, and squats. These are different from “static” stretches, which you perform while your body isn’t moving. Talk to a trainer at your local gymnasium to find out the best stretches to help boost your energy levels.

How to Find the Right Stretching Regimen for You

Flexibility As You Age | Princeton NutrientsWhether you’re retired or you’re still in the workforce, you need to make time for physical activity. Finding a proper work-life balance is always important – even more so as you get toward retirement age. By working with a professional trainer, you can find the stretching routine that works best for whatever shape you may be in.

In general, experts recommend that older adults stretch at least two times a week, and stretch their muscles to the point to where they feel either a small amount of discomfort or notice a sensation of tightness.

During your routine, you should try to hold each stretch anywhere from 30-60 seconds.6

The Takeaway

Don’t assume that just because you’re getting older you have to be resigned to a life of fatigue and pain. When you increase your flexibility as you age, by stretching your muscles on a regular basis, you’ll experience benefits you might not have previously thought were possible.

Learn More:
Massage: Luxury or Therapy?
5 Brain Exercises that are Fun (and Challenging)
Go Pitch A Tent: The Incredible Health Benefits Of Camping


Sources
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934575/
2.https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/benefits-of-flexibility-exercises
3.https://www.lifespanfitness.com/fitness/resources/articles/health-benefits-of-stretching-exercises-in-older-adults
4.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273412829_Effects_of_stretching_exercises_for_posture_correction_systematic_review
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003582/
6.https://certification.acsm.org/blog/2014/january/the-basics-of-personal-training-for-seniors