Today marks the start of Air Quality Awareness Week, which means this week individuals and communities across the country are encouraged to get involved in activities and events aimed at helping people understand where air pollution comes from, how it affects our health, and why working to improve our country’s air quality is so important. Because toxins in our air can build up in our bodies and contribute to poor health and disease over time, taking steps to reduce our daily exposure is essential. Here are 5 simple tips to help you get started!
- Invest in HEPA Filters: More than 90% of the harmful particulates you want to filter are small enough to be handled by a high-efficiency particle absorption (HEPA) filter. Consider using them in your home, office, and even your vehicle!
- Bring a Little Green Indoors: Plants are natural air filters and help filter toxins from your indoor air. Consider spider plants, rubber plants, palm, aloe vera, peace lilies, ferns, ivy and even Gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums for your home and office.
- Walk More, Bike More: Motor vehicles account for 75% of carbon monoxide emissions nationwide and roughly half of all smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxide emissions, and toxic air pollutant emissions.i At least once a week, consider walking or taking your bike instead of driving.
- Herbal Cleansing & Detox: Herbal cleansing and detoxification formulas provide support and nourishment for the body’s natural detoxification organs (the lungs, liver, lymphatic system, kidneys, skin, blood and bowel) to help them filter and eliminate harmful toxins from the body.‡
Get Active! Physical activity stimulates the flow of blood and lymph to further help cleanse the body. If you head outdoors to enjoy the spring weather, be sure to check the Air Quality Index for your local air quality forecast, and avoid activities near busy roads or highways. There’s even a free mobile app!
It seems the beautiful people in Hollywood are finally catching on to the concept of inner beauty. Beauty nutritionist and nutricosmetics formulator Paula Simpson recently talked to Access Hollywood about stars and their beauty secrets, and guess what? Pop icons like Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga go nuts over nutrient-rich “beauty drinks” loaded with essential fatty acids, antioxidant plant compounds, and… prebiotics and probiotics!
Just what are Prebiotics?
While we hear a lot these days about probiotics (the friendly bacteria in the gut that support optimal digestion and immune health†), we don’t often hear too much about prebiotics—but the two go hand in hand. That’s because prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that promote the growth of probiotics in the gut.† They are essentially food for your beneficial gut bacteria and are often found in the form of soluble fibers, such as FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and acacia fiber.
If you think about it, soluble fibers escape digestion, arriving in the colon (large intestine) largely intact. Then, good bacteria use the soluble fibers like food. A fermentation process occurs, yielding beneficial compounds such as the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which fuels intestinal lining cells, and lactic acid, which lowers the colon pH to a healthy level.† When found together, prebiotics and probiotics form what’s called a “synbiotic” relationship—pretty much a win-win for your gut!
Cleansing Greens for Inner Balance
And what would a beauty drink be without cleansing greens for good digestion and detox? Says Simpson, “Greens or ‘cleansing’ foods supercharge the body and support the eliminative organs such as the digestive system to support optimal nutrient absorption and remove byproducts or toxins before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream (and get to the skin). Spinach, kale, dandelion greens or concentrated greens, such as wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina are great to add to smoothies for a detox beauty boost.”