A Few Healthly Habits to Try This Summer

Rachel's dog, Winston

Walk Your Dog 

Did you know that owning a dog may be good for your health? In a recent scienfic statement, the American Heart Association announced that owning a dog is "probably associated" with a reduced risk of heart disease. Dr. Glenn N. Levine, the head of the committee that wrote the statement, said, "Several studies showed that dogs decreased the body’s reaction to stress, with a decrease in heart rate, blood pressure and adrenaline-like hormone release when a pet is present as opposed to when a pet is not present." Not only that, but pet-owners also tended to report greater amounts of physical activity. So whether you're out on a jog with your pup or relaxing on the couch with your pooch nearby, your fuzzy pet may be providing you with more physical and emotional benefits than you realized. Extra scratch behind the ears for Fido this week!
Ditch the Lead-Ridden Lipstick
Mother Jones recently reported on an alarming study that revealed which 20 lipsticks were highest in lead and other metals that are toxic to humans in certain amounts. The study noted that "women who apply lipstick two to three times daily can ingest a significant amount—20 percent of the daily amount that's considered safe in drinking water or more—of aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese." Yikes! For better options, they recommend Wet n' Wild, Bobbi Brown, and Shiseido brand lipsticks; they all contained less than one one part per million of lead when tested by the FDA in 2012.
Eat Organic When it Really Counts
Have you checked out the Environmental Working Group's "Dirty Dozen" list of 2013? It lists which foods have the most pesticide exposure and are therefore most important to eat organic. Topping the dirty list this year are apples, strawberries, grapes, and celery, so be sure to choose organic for those produce items! Check out the full list here.
Try a Safer Nail Polish
If you've ever searched for natural or organic nail polish, you've probably already discovered that they don't exactly exist. However, there are polishes that fall toward the cleaner end of the spectrum, like water-based or "three-free" polishes (meaning they don’t contain dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene). Here's a well-written and candid blog post (there's more than one out there) about the complicated nail polish debate. The writer reports that Revlon, OPI, MAC and Wet n' Wild polishes are all 3-free.
Wear Sunscreen -- But Not Just Any Brand
We all know by now how important it is to wear sunscreen year-round (and even on cloudy days!), but it's also worth noting that you might want to be picky about which brand of sunscreen you choose. Organic Authority recently explained which common sunscreen ingredients should be avoided, including retinyl palmitate (it may actually elevate skin cancer risk), oxybenzone (which may disrupt the endocrine system), benzophenone-3 (B-3) (it can trigger DNA damage), and amino benzoic acid (it can increase cellular damage). The article recommends safer brands to try, like Alba, Kiss My Face, Avene, and others.
We're so happy spring is finally here and can't wait to celebrate the season! What healthy habits will you try this Summer?
Original blog post for Massage Williamsburg by Kelly Shetron