7 Reasons Why Baths Are Better Than Showers

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I came across this information the other day on HealthiGuide’s website and was surprised at some of the benefits of taking baths. I happen to be a huge fan of baths!  I feel so relaxed and sleep better when I make time in my nightly routine for a bath.  Unfortunately, like most adults, I am not practicing what I preach at home.  However, a large soaking tub is a prerequisite of mine when choosing properties for vacations.  I always want to indulge in a hot bath every night!

Baths can be so calm, fun, and even a bit nostalgic. However, most people stop taking baths as adults. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. For starters, baths typically take longer than showers, baths are not as convenient as showers, and finally, showers just feel easier for some reason.

Actually, baths are pretty great for you for a number of reasons. They are a great way to unwind and relax after a long day with an optional glass of wine. In fact, baths have a few health benefits as well. Read more to find out how taking a bath tonight can benefit you! Let me know in the comments which you prefer—baths or showers?

1. Baths Can Delay Aging

Dermatologists recommend baths to reduce the signs of aging and reduce adult acne. Why? Baths help to lower the cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can increase acne and raise your blood pressure. The high-stress level can also induce premature aging. In order to get the full benefit of a bath and its cortisol lowering benefits, you need to make sure to fully moisturize your body after you leave the water. This is so your skin will not get dehydrated and appear dried out.

2. Baths Relieve Sore Muscles

Many people know that heat is a great solution for aching and sore muscles. According to Medical News Today, applying heat to inflamed or sore muscles helps your muscles relax. In a bath, you are completely submerged in warm water which ultimately helps to relieve your sore muscles throughout your body. Additionally, bath additives like Epsom salt can help relieve aches and pains as well.

3. Baths are Just as Clean as Showers

A lot of people think that baths are dirtier than taking a shower since you are lying or soaking in the bathwater and it is not being drained. However, the idea that showers are cleaner that baths are simply not true. Showers are only superior to baths when you are extremely dirty; like after a day of being in mud or excessively sweating. If you are just washing off from a normal day, a bath will help get you just as clean as a shower. Also, the steam from the bath can open up your pores to help release dirt and prevent acne.

4. Baths Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Has your doctor ever warned you about your blood sugar levels and keeping them low? If they have, a bath just might be what the doctor ordered! It has recently been discovered that taking a hot bath can help to reduce your blood sugar levels. After we eat, our blood sugar levels rise and the amount it rises to can be one of the risk markers for diabetes. This is why keeping your blood sugar levels low is extremely beneficial to your health. Baths cannot replace healthy eating or a good exercise regimen, but they can be a great and relaxing addition to your lifestyle.

5. Baths are Good for Your Skin

Hot water is known to cause your skin to dehydrate your skin, so many people think that showers are better than baths for your skin, but that’s not actually true. Your body has natural oils that it needs and whether you take a bath or shower will not make a difference in those oils being stripped. Both a shower and bath will strip your skin of its natural oils. However, with baths, you are more likely to put skin nourishing additives in the water. For example, essential oils, mineral salts, bath bombs, oatmeal, honey, etc. These additional bath time ingredients will help to moisturize and replenish your skin. Just don’t forget to slather up with lotion to lock in the moisturizing benefits when you are finished in the tub.

6. Baths are Good Stress-Relievers

While kids may take baths because they have to and they find them to be fun, most adults take baths because they are great stress relievers. Sitting, submerged in warm water, forces you to stop multitasking and genuinely take a few moments for yourself. Additionally, increasing your body temperature can help improve circulation, calm your nervous system, detoxify your body, and release endorphins. If you’ve seen Legally Blonde, then you know just how important endorphins are. Light a candle or drip essential oils into the bath for some at-home aromatherapy.

7. Baths Can Burn as Many Calories as Cardio

Did you know that taking a bath can burn as many calories as working out? A one hour bath can burn around 130 calories, which is the equivalent of a thirty-minute walk. Again, taking a bath shouldn’t completely replace your workout routine, but you can reap both physical and emotional benefits of taking a bath.

 

 

How to Avoid Mortgage Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Identity Fraud

For those of you that do not read my Helen Adams Realty monthly newsletter, here is some valuable information to protect yourself during real estate transactions from wire fraud and other cyber crimes.  I have personally been a victim of identity theft, and it is not fun!  I also had a scammer drain my wells fargo accounts to zero!!  Try not to write too many checks-this is how criminals can steal all of the money from your bank accounts.  I am also going to remove my birthday from Facebook-READ BELOW! 

What to Know About Real Estate Cyber Crime

As the rest of the world becomes more and more digital, so do threats to our identity, finances and personal information. Since real estate transactions are so significant and they involve all of the above, it is one of the moments in life when you are most vulnerable to cyber crime and fraud.

There are different kinds of fraud and in turn, different ways to avoid them. Some of the most common real estate fraud schemes, according to RIS Media’s House Call’s Cyber Series, include mortgage fraud, wire fraud and identity fraud. Below are ways to avoid each:

  • Mortgage fraud: Ask your REALTOR® to refer you to a reputable lender. Be honest and transparent when completing a loan application and do not include false information. Make sure to read and understand all mortgage documents before signing them or have a third party review them with you.
  • Wire fraud: A home is often someone’s most expensive and significant asset in life. With that being said, real estate transactions involve huge sums of money being transferred to different accounts. This makes an individual vulnerable to wire fraud. Make sure the attorney chosen has policies in place to help prevent wire fraud. Working with REALTORS® that you know and trust makes this process go more smoothly and safely. The agent usually has a list of preferred attorneys, lenders, etc. that they trust for the transaction.
  • Identity fraud: Be careful with social media. “Ninety-eight percent of stealing a person’s identity is just finding their date of birth and an image of them,” said Frank Abagnale, author and film subject of Steven Spielberg’s “Catch Me If You Can”. Social media accounts are the easiest way for fraudsters to get this information. Don’t write too many checks, as the information on a check is all a scammer needs to wire money out of that account.

Some general rules of advice would be to never interact with unfamiliar email addresses. Real estate transactions rely heavily on email as the main form of communication which is another vulnerable point
for scammers to try to take advantage. Spelling and grammatical errors can sometimes be ways to spot fraudulent emails as well. Make sure that each website you are putting information into is secure. The internet is full of cyber criminals searching the web for people’s personal information.

Real estate agents have a duty to their clients to warn and educate them on the prevalence of fraud during real estate transactions. Clients should be aware of their actions throughout every step of the home buying process and when they have questions or concerns, their agent should be able to advise them on safe practices. When in doubt, call a phone number you know to be legitimate and ask questions!

If we stay vigilant, we can prevent issues with identity.

https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-how-to-how-to-recognize-and-protect-yourself-from-cybercrime.html

What is Organic Wine?

I just had a friend of mine do an organic wine tasting for my guests at a party I had at my house this week, and it made me think about how and why I react negatively to certain wines.   In fact, I barely drink it anymore because of how bad it can make me feel. On the other hand, when I travel to Italy or France, I feel fine when drinking basic table wine there-hence the picture of Italian wine from a region I love!  This could be because it contains less preservatives (No Added Sulfites!).

Organic Wine is wine without added sulfites. Under the USDA National Organic Program, sulfites are a synthetic food additive. They are not allowed in organic wine or any other certified organic food products, such as dried fruits, jams, salad dressings or juices.

100% Organic: The wine is made from 100% certified organic ingredients, processed without synthetic agents and contains no added sulfites; naturally occuring sulfite levels in these wines are between 10 and 20 parts per million (ppm). The label will bear the USDA organic seal.

All wine, beer and cheese contain some natural sulfites. The presence of natural sulfites is so small that it normally does not present a problem to anyone but the most sulfite-sensitive.  However, added sulfites may sometimes cause negative side effects, like nasal congestion, an itchy throat,runny nose, skin rash, and hives in some people. It has been reported in medical literature that less than 1% of people have a strong allergic reaction to sulfites.

Does this mean you will not get a headache if you drink organic wine? Yes, cheap wine can give you a headache. So can expensive wine. Some people point the finger at sulphites – you often find more of these in white wines – but these are known more for causing allergic reactions. Histamines can trigger headaches, and there are more of these present in red wines than whites.

If you know red wine often gives you a headache, consider steering clear of wines made from thick-skinned grapes (like Zinfandel, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon) and choose a wine made from a thin-skinned grape (like Pinot Noir, Sémillon, and Merlot) instead.

Wine contains two kinds of amines, histamines and tyramines; histamines dilate blood vessels in the brain, while tyramines constrict them. Both of these actions can cause headaches in people who are sensitive to one or both of the chemicals.

In addition to a possible headache, wine can also make us sleepy, and for a good reason.  The seeds and skin and flesh of grapes actually do contain melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that controls your sleep cycles. So it stands to reason that wine—white or red—would make us all sleepy.

It makes sense to me to drink organic wine whenever possible, and I will definitely avoid wines made from thick-skinned grapes to prevent headaches.  I am so happy to enjoy an occasional glass of wine again!  As always, daydreaming of my next trip to Italy!

 

 

Farm Fresh Eggs vs Store Bought Eggs

We love our chickens!

There is something so satisfying about walking to my backyard every morning for fresh eggs. Yes those are our chickens’ eggs!!  They look like Easter eggs don’t they?  Our hens will be three years old June 1, 2018. We got them when they were just two days old-so cute!

My 9-year old daughter is in love with them. She is also an egg snob now like me and my husband.  Once you taste farm fresh eggs, it’s so hard to eat store bought ones. You not only notice the richer and robust flavor, but you can see a difference in their appearance. Store bought eggs will have a pale yellow yolk, with watery whites. Whereas, farm fresh free-range eggs will have a plumper, rich, golden colored yolk, and a thick white that holds its shape. So, does this mean farm fresh eggs are healthier? You bet they are!

Eggs from chickens raised in small backyard flocks or on family farms are by far stronger, healthier and so much better for us than those produced by their overcrowded factory cage-raised counterparts. Backyard chicken eggs have more of the good stuff such as Omega-3s and much less of the bad stuff such as the infamous cholesterol and saturated fat!  A hen’s egg is a direct reflection of her environment and nutritional intake.  Chickens that get the majority of their nutrition from nature are healthier. They love to bask in the warmth of the sun, which provides more Vitamin D, and chow down on worms and bugs for more protein, amongst other snacks.

Research shows that backyard chicken eggs contain a higher quality of nutrition in comparison to eggs laid by commercial factory hens.

Check out these startling statistics:

  • Twice as much Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Three times more Vitamin E
  • Seven times more Beta-carotene from Vitamin A
  • Fifty percent more Folic Acid
  • One quarter LESS Saturated Fat
  • One third LESS Cholesterol
  • Up to six times more Vitamin D
  • Significantly more of the B Vitamins
  • Significantly more of the Antioxidants, Lutein and Zeaxanthin

If you want to know more about my experience raising backyard chickens, stay tuned or message me.  There is a lot to learn!

Charlotte’s Top 20 Farmers Markets- Why Is Farm To Table So Good For Us?

Charlotte’s TOP 20+ FARMERS MARKETS:

http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/April-2017/20-Farmers-Markets-in-Charlotte/

Spring is finally here! And with it, fresh, locally grown produce is starting to return to farmers markets!! Don’t you find it more interesting to shop at farmers markets than the same old grocery store?  It is also a fun thing to do with the family on the weekends.  Don’t forget about the fresh flowers, herbs, and yummy local honey!

Is it worth it to buy fresh from a farmers market?  Here are some surprising facts I learned about our produce in the U.S.

by Mary Jane Brown, PhD, RD. 

Most fresh fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe. This allows them time to fully ripen during transportation.

It also gives them less time to develop a full range of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants.

In the US, fruits and vegetables may spend anywhere from 3 days to several weeks in transit before arriving at a distribution center.

However, the USDA states that some produce, such as apples and pears, can be stored for up to 12 months under controlled conditions before being sold.

During transportation, fresh produce is generally stored in a chilled, controlled atmosphere and treated with chemicals to prevent spoiling.

Once they reach the supermarket, fruits and vegetables may spend an additional 1–3 days on display. They’re then stored in people’s homes for up to 7 days before being eaten.

BOTTOM LINE:  Fresh fruit and vegetables are often picked before they are fully ripe. Transportation and storage can take anywhere from 3 days and up to 12 months for some types of produce.  

Shortly after harvesting, fresh fruits and vegetables start to lose moisture, have a greater risk of spoiling and drop in nutrient value.

One study found a decline in nutrients after 3 days of refrigeration, when values fell to levels below those of frozen varieties. This is most common in soft fruits.

The vitamin C in fresh vegetables begins to decline immediately after harvesting and continues to do so during storage.

For example, green peas have been shown to lose up to 51% of their vitamin C during the first 24–48 hours after harvesting.

In vegetables stored chilled or at room temperature, antioxidant activity declined.

However, although vitamin C can be easily lost during storage, antioxidants like carotenoids and phenolics may actually increase.

This is possibly due to continued ripening and is seen in some fruits.

BOTTOM LINE:  Certain vitamins and antioxidants begin to decline immediately after harvesting. Therefore, it’s best to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as soon as possible.

Preserving the Vitamins

by Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. 

Vitamins in food are easily destroyed by heat, exposure to air, oxygen and water and changes in pH balances. Here are some ways to maintain the vitamins in the fresh or frozen veggies you cook:

  • Use as little water as possible when cooking: Steaming and stir-frying are two great methods.
  • Cook quickly over low heat: Cook veggies until just tender and avoid overcooking.
  • Never add baking soda: It brightens the green color in veggies, but destroys thiamine and vitamin C.
  • Cut and cook veggies in large chunks: The smaller the pieces, the more exposure to air. This tends to destroy vitamins A, D, E, K and the Bs.
  • Cook veggies as soon as possible after cutting: This will minimize the time exposed to air.

 

Is Too Much Cardio Bad For You?

I have to say that since I don’t push myself and overdo my workouts any more, it is so much easier to maintain my weight!!  I find that when I train too hard, not only am I so fatigued, it also makes me overeat. Do you notice that too? There are several published studies to explain why this happens especially if you are over age 40:

#1 Extra amounts of cardio wreak havoc on the metabolism. It decreases the T4 to T3 conversion. The thyroid is responsible for this conversion and it regulates our metabolism. I am a walking example of how too much cardio can cause thyroid disease. I suffer with hyperthyroidism and it may be linked to working out so hard for so many years.

#2   Too much cardio releases free radicals which are responsible for aging us.

#3   Excessive cardio releases cortisol. This hormone increases our hunger.   Most people will eat on average 100 more calories than they just burned off making it impossible to loose weight.

It is easy to get addicted to cardio workouts. I should know, I used to kill it 5-7 days a week: running, spinning, and every group class you can imagine. I even taught high impact aerobics back in the day! While there are several benefits to cardio exercise, like helping to maintain a healthy weight, reducing our risks for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, overtraining can push muscle, ligaments, and tendons to potentially serious damage. I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of orthopedics, massages, and physical therapy on a regular basis to treat my aches and pains from so many injuries over the years.

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. You may need to do more strength and resistance training and less cardio to achieve your desired goals, or how about just go for a long walk!  Remember, muscle burns fat and increases our metabolism, which in turn helps us loose weight! When you combine excess cardio with an improper diet, such as one that drops your total caloric intake below 1500 calories, the risk of burning significant muscle increases.

There are many opinions of how much moderately intense aerobic exercise adults should do each week. This includes activities like walking, hiking, jogging, light swimming, and biking. I believe that since we all have different metabolisms and lifestyles, we should do what works best for us. You have to go by how you look and feel, as well as know your current medical conditions. If you choose to do more than 300 minutes of cardio per week, you should talk to your doctor first to see if that level of exercise is appropriate for your individual health condition.

 

 

 

 

Where Do You Go To Rejuvenate?

I can’t tell you how much I miss riding horses in the Santa Monica Canyons every weekend.   I was lucky enough to help take care of two horses with some friends of mine on a beautiful ranch in Pacific Palisades for about five years. It was literally my slice of heaven and it helped to create balance in my life. Even the smell of horses is medicinal to me. Horse lovers you know what I mean!

I allowed myself 4-5 hours on Saturday or Sunday afternoons to unwind with nature, take care of and ride horses, soak in the amazing views, and get a little dirty. It is the ultimate stress reliever. I also looked forward to hanging out with my “horse” friends.   Believe it or not, we would not even look at our phones! Shocker I know! We didn’t have a choice because there was never good cell service in the canyons. I was actually thankful that I had an excuse to not look at email, texts, or take a phone call.

My priorities have changed since my single days in L.A., as I am now married and a mom, and I live in Charlotte, NC. However, I do need my own “fun” space to remain emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy.   It is more challenging now to create this much needed time for myself. I try to walk my two dogs 4-5 days a week, as well as a little strength training and yoga at home. I will occasionally make it to the gym, but I’ve been doing that since I was 15 years old, and I am burned out. I enjoy variety for exercise and being outdoors is the best for me-Hiking, walking, biking, riding horses, surfing, etc.

I love walking my dogs, but there is something special about being around horses. It’s now a goal of mine to share this with my daughter and to own a few horses one day. My daughter absolutely LOVES horses. I look forward to making that dream come true!