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6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

6 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home

Allergies are finicky. They can be a small nuisance to some, and a debilitating condition to others. Either way, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Cleaning your house isn’t about keeping up with appearances; it’s about your health, as well as the health of everyone else who comes around. Keep to a strict cleaning regimen and routine, and your house will always be, literally, a breath of fresh air.

Get rid of dust

Dust is one of those things that you don’t notice accumulating until it’s extremely unsightly. Instead of waiting until your home gets to that point, wipe your surfaces down and vacuum your floors on a regular basis. Use sprays and carpet treatments sporadically — don’t overuse them, or you may be doing more harm than good. Lastly, use zip-on covers for any bedding you use regularly to prevent dust mites from creating a home under your sheets. You might not be able to see them, but believe me, they’re there.

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Maintain plants and pets

Most of us enjoy having a home full of houseplants, flowers, and pets. But the downside here is when you realize the allergies you’ve been experiencing are due to your furry friends or aromatic greenery. The soil used in potted plants can actually grow moldy, so it’s actually best to leave them outside. If you absolutely must have some plants inside your home, coat the surface of the soil with aquarium gravel. Or, go with artificial plants for the inside of your home. They look pretty and won’t bother any guests!

As far as your animals are concerned, before you even adopt a cat, dog, or any other fuzzy wuzzy pet, make sure you’re not allergic in the first place. If you’re already past that point, but don’t have the heart to give little Fido away, at least keep him neatly groomed. Get him outside as much as possible, and definitely don’t let him sleep on your bed. You’re just asking for breathing problems if you do.

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Go hardwood

Like your mattress, wall-to-wall carpeting is a trap for dust mites and other allergens, such as pollen and dander. This is made worse by the fact that you don’t really notice when these allergens are building up in the crevices of your rugs. With hardwood surfaces, you can immediately see dust balls start to form, and can take care of them right away. But, again, don’t let it get to the point that you can actually see the dust. Be proactive with your cleaning regimen and you won’t have to start sneezing to remind yourself you need to sweep up.

Leave it at the door

You know how some people ask you to take your shoes off at the door? It’s not just because they don’t want you tracking mud in (although that’s obviously part of it). It’s also because you track in millions of unseen organisms (like the ones previously mentioned) that contribute to the overall dustiness of the entire house. If you don’t want to be a stickler about people’s shoe-wearing habits in your home, at least put a doormat on the inside and outside of your front entrance. That way, you can make sure your guests leave most of the “stuff” from outside at your doorstep.

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Check the curtains

If you’re not too picky about what you hang on your windows, opt for blinds made out of material other than fabric. If you absolutely need to have curtains, make sure you maintain them as much as your floors and bedding. Vacuum them weekly, and wash them monthly. Be especially diligent during the months in which your windows are constantly open; you have no idea of the type of microscopic organisms your curtains pick up from a strong breeze.

Stay ahead of mold

A good rule of thumb is: where there’s water, there can be mold. Of course, the two most common areas to stay on top of in this matter are your kitchen and your bathroom. Again, don’t wait until you can actually see mold growing before you do something about it; it’s there in some form, but can explode overnight if left alone. Check the entire surface of tubs and sinks, being especially careful to notice any cracks where water might be sitting dormant. Other hotspots for moisture include your basement or any area with direct access to the outside. For those areas, consider using a dehumidifier to suck up any excess water that could lead to trouble down the road. You could not only save yourself some health problems, but also save your home’s foundation as well.

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Featured photo credit: damned allergies – Day 43 / leila-anne cavé via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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