Epsom Salt #bebetter52

Epsom Salt #BeBetter52

You may have experienced the calming effects of pouring a cup of Epsom salts into a warm bath. The salt makes you feel slightly more buoyant, relaxed, and rejuvenated, but what exactly is Epsom salt? Its scientific name is magnesium sulfate, an inorganic salt containing magnesium, sulfate, and oxygen.  In the human body, magnesium is responsible for protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.  Because it's responsible for so much, magnesium deficiency is often called the "Invisible Deficiency."

Although little scientific research has been done on Epsom salt, most  doctors and therapists agree that a dash of Epsom salt in warm water relieves sore muscles, lessens joint pain, and heals burned skin. It’s great to soak tired feet in after a long day. Try adding an essential oil such as lavender for a spa-like atmosphere.

Our #bebetter52 challenge this week is to use Epsom salt. The most obvious use of Epsom salts is to put them in a bath. Make sure the water is warm, not hot, and pour the recommended amount of Epsom salt into the running water. Check out our Epsom Salt Bath recipe below.

If you're feeling a little more adventurous, try using Epsom salt as an exfoliant, to remove scum from dirty dishes, or to fertilize your plants. There are a plethora of uses for this mighty magnesium compound, and we want to hear about how you used Epsom salt this week! Post a pic of how you added Epsom salt in your life with the #bebetter52.

Recipe:

Bath: Add at least one cup of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for at least 20 minutes. For aches and pains, add at least two cups. (If you have time, soak for 30 to 45 minutes). You'll be amazed at how relaxing it is as all your aches and pains are soothed. Have a good book on hand to read while you soak! Combine with lavender essential oil or flowers for extra relaxation.

Foot soak: for a concentrated magnesium boost, add one cup of Epsom salt to hot water, and soak for 20 minutes.

Oil: Make a homemade magnesium oil when you don't have time for a soak.

Combine a half cup of Epsom salts with a half cup of boiled, distilled water and stir until dissolved. Put into a spray bottle and spray onto arms, legs, and stomach daily (10 to 30 sprays). It may tingle the first few times, and this is normal. If it doesn't go away or is uncomfortable, dilute with more water. This can be left on the skin or washed off in the shower after 20 to 30 minutes. Moisturize about five minutes after application if leaving on.

Other uses:

Splinter removal: soak in concentrated Epsom salt water before pulling out a splinter.

- Magnesium foot or face scrub: mix with coconut or olive oil for smooth skin.

In the garden: add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the soil below a tomato plant to boost growth.

Tile or grout cleaner: mix equal parts dish soap and Epsom salts. Rinse well for streak-free shine.

- Homemade sea salt spray will add texture and volume to hair.

Voluminizing hair mask: combine equal parts conditioner and Epsom salt and leave on hair for 20 minutes. Rinse well and let air dry for thicker hair.

- Get rid of slugs.

Laxative for occasional constipation: take one teaspoon of Epsom salt dissolved in water (check with doctor first).

Sunburn relief: dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salt into warm water and let it cool, then spray on burn for relief.

Rose growth: a tablespoon a week around the soil of your rose bushes can help boost growth.

 

Cinnamon #bebetter52

Cinnamon #bebetter52

Cinnamon #bebetter52

The answer to your health woes might just be in your spice drawer.  This week’s #bebetter52 challenge is to add a dash of cinnamon to your diet.  

In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, cinnamon was proven to lower fasting blood glucose levels by up to 5%.  That’s equivalent to most older generation diabetes drugs.  The delicious spice has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels by 18%.  

Cinnamon also protects the body from free radicals and inflammation.  Sun, pollution, and stress can all wreak havoc on the human body.  Due to the potent antioxidants present in cinnamon, adding just a half-teaspoon a day to your diet can increase immunity.  Cinnamon, a known anti-inflammatory, can improve digestive health and swelling as well.  

This multi-talented spice can be added to your morning cereal, in a glass of milk, or on nut- butter toast.  You can also try it as a rub in savory dishes such as lamb or with quinoa for an added depth of flavor.  Got a hot date later?  Gargle some cinnamon water to refresh your palette and ward off bacteria.  

As with all spices, the flavor and benefits drop if the spice is old. Check the “best if used by” date, discard if past its prime, and buy a high quality cinnamon from your favorite health food store.Snap a pic of the creative way you use cinnamon this week with the hashtag #bebetter52.  

To Do List #bebetter52

To Do List #bebetter52

Are you feeling overwhelmed at work? At home? At school? In relationships? Are you so stressed out you don’t even want to see this week’s #bebetterchallenge because it’s just one more item on an already overloaded plate you probably won’t complete? Luckily, the challenge this week is custom made for you: Make a to do list.

In a world of never-ending emails, 24/7 work hours, and little time to relax, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. In fact, one in four Americans said they had a “great deal of stress in the last month.” This may be due to the fact that we aren’t able to complete one task before we’re given the next one. In psychology this is called the Zeigarnik Effect. According to this phenomenon, our mind tends to get fixated on one unfinished task.  With a to-do list it's easier to complete one task at a time, so we can move onto the next thing without worrying about what we didn't finish.  The checklist keeps you organized, motivated, and efficient. No wonder it’s used by the U.S. Army Air Corps, surgeons, and professional athletes.

Try making a simple to do list of the day’s tasks. Prioritize the list with the most important jobs to complete, followed by ones that are less critical and could be accomplished the next day if needed. Allow for life’s unpredictable happenings: the dirty bathtub on your list is not as important as a friend who suddenly needs your help. The purpose of a to do list is to efficiently organize your time, lessen your stress, and accomplish your most critical tasks. Feel the unmatched joy of crossing tasks off your list. Nothing is more satisfying than looking at a list of projects you have completed.

Floss Your Teeth #bebetter52

Floss Your Teeth #bebetter52

Who can forget the scene in Pretty Woman when Edward suspects Vivian is doing drugs in his bathroom, but discovers, to his chagrin, she is hiding something far less sinister behind her back?

    “Dental floss.”

 “Yeah? So? I had all those strawberry seeds. And you shouldn't neglect your gums.”

This week’s #bebetter52 challenge: Floss!  We all know we should do it, but we often fail to complete this quick task.  In fact, twenty percent of Americans never floss.  Even among those who claim to floss, twenty-seven percent are lying.  We recommend you pick up the ol’ thread and aim to floss once a day this week.

Flossing keeps your teeth and gums in tip-top shape.  In a study with twins, flossing significantly decreased the abundance of microbial species associated with periodontal disease.  As part of a regular dental routine, flossing can improve bad breath, reduce dental care costs down the road, and even prevent more serious disease.  Bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illness.  Incorporating flossing into your morning routine is a quick way to prevent disease and increase longevity.  In a study conducted by the Ameican Dental Association, people would rather clean the toilet, do their taxes, and listen to a child crying on a plane than floss.  It’s bad, but it’s not that bad!  Considering the multitude of health benefits, we think altering one’s mindset about flossing is all that’s required to start a clean mouth revolution.  Snap a pic of your gorgeous smile with the #cleanmouthrevolution to launch America’s new obsession: flossing.