Natural Health Tips

Hi, I'm Anthony.

I started working for Swanson Health Products as a 24-year-old in the summer of 2007. Growing up, I didn't pay attention to my health other than taking a few sporadic vitamins and occasionally glancing at some food labels. When I applied for a job with Swanson, the only thing I knew about the company was that you could buy vitamins and supplements from them.

After working at Swanson for a few years, I've come to realize how important my health is and how much control I have in maintaining my health. I have made many changes to my daily routines, focusing on improving my diet, incorporating some dietary supplements and moving towards natural products in my home. Here are some my favorite Swanson products:

I've learned a lot about natural health over the last few years and I will continue to learn a lot more in the years ahead. On this blog, I hope to share what I learn with you and hope you will comment on some posts and help me learn even more...or find me on Twitter @SwansonVitamins!

I Bought a BlenderBottle For Protein Shakes... Then All This Happened

Thursday, June 19, 2014 by Anthony N.

Ben's BlenderBottle in a Koozie with Ice Water At Swanson, we absolutely love our BlenderBottles. At any meeting, you are likely to see 2-3 in the room - at minimum. They have become the go to water bottle for many of us - even if we aren't mixing anything and using the amazing powers of that little BlenderBall®.

One day as I was mixing my protein shake after a workout (Swanson has an excellent exercise room for employees - check out a pic here), I was talking with my coworker Archie about how I like to use my BlenderBottle for other things beyond mixing protein powder.

The BlenderBottle I have at home is basically just another kitchen utensil.  I use it to make scrambled eggs nearly every weekend. Beyond scrambled eggs, we use it for salad dressings, making gravy, mixing spices together for a spice rub and other similar uses. It's so versatile.

It also got me thinking, what do other people use their BlenderBottle for?

Ben keeps his BlenderBottle in a Koozie

 

Add, Shake and Pour

Using the blender bottle has a simple routine. Add, Shake and Pour. It's so simple and easy and can be used as a quick helper in so many recipes.

 

 

brilliant blender bottle recipes

 

My Personal Favorite Blender Bottle Recipes

 

blender bottle recipe for scrambled eggsScrambled Eggs

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients to the BlenderBottle.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour into pan and cook.

 

 

Chocolate Whey Protein Iced Coffee

coffee at room temp for iced coffeeblender bottle for iced coffeewhey protein for iced coffeewhey protein for iced coffee

  • 28 oz BlenderBottle
  • 1 Full Cup of Coffee that you forget about and reaches room temperature
  • Chocolate Whey Protein
  • Ice Cubes

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients to the BlenderBottle.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour into mouth.

 

balsamic vinaigrette blender bottle recipeBalsamic Vinaigrette Recipe

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup organic olive oil

The recipe I use above is from here.

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients to the BlenderBottle.
  2. Shake vigorously.
  3. Pour on salad.

 

 

 

Additional Recipes from BlenderBottle.com

Chocolate Banana Nut

Banana Chocolate Avocado Blender Bottle Recipe
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

blender bottle recipe for buttermilk ranch
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Stir Fry Sauce

stir fry recipe using blenderbottle to mix
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Never Fail BlenderBottle Gravy

blenderbottle recipe for gravy - shaker bottle recipe
  Image Source: BlenderBottle.com

 

Want More BlenderBottle Recipe Ideas? 

 

What awesome things do you make with your BlenderBottle?

50 Ways to Use Coconut Oil to Better Your Life

Thursday, May 29, 2014 by Anthony N.

 

Uses for Coconut Oil

coconut oil usesScientific research on coconut oil has revealed health benefits that affect your entire body, inside and out. You've heard good things about it and now you have a tub of it sitting in your pantry. So how do you use coconut oil?
 

We asked our Facebook fans and coworkers how they use coconut oil. Here are some of the numerous ways coconut oil is used. If you'd like to participate in conversations about coconut oil or other natural health topics, I definitely recommend you connect with our Facebook page by clicking the like button below.

This post lists 50 different ways to use coconut oil and it also links out to a bunch of DIY coconut oil recipes to help you try the different uses. I hope you find it valuable.

If you read the entire post and decide you want to try coconut oil, you can buy some right here at SwansonVitamins.com. We're family owned since 1969, have extremely low prices, great reviews, offer free return shipping - it basically amounts to no risk shopping. It's why those 150k+ people up above 'Like' us on Facebook. Interested in buying?

Click Here to Buy Our Top-Rated Coconut Oil 
(Over 280 customer reviews rate it 4.9/5!)

 

Cooking and Eating

1) Cooking at High Heat - Some oils are unsafe to cook with at high temperatures, coconut oil is a great alternative. Check out our Guide to Cooking Oils to find  healthy cooking oils for whatever meal you are creating.
 
2) On Toast Instead of Butter - Simply use coconut oil instead of butter on your toast.
 
3) Eat it by the Spoonful - Coconut oil is that delicious and healthful. Enjoy one spoonful each morning.
 
4) Smoothies - Add one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite smoothie recipe and increase your energy with the oil's MCTs. Check out this post for the Top Smoothie Ingredients.
 
5) Fry Eggs - Lightly coat the bottom of your skillet with coconut oil to create a non-stick surface and delicious eggs.
 
6) Popping Popcorn - A sweet twist on a classic snack! To make stovetop popcorn, you need a heavy-bottomed pan. First, add the coconut oil and popcorn to the pot. Coat the area of the pot with the oil, and use just enough popcorn to make a single layer over the bottom of the pot. Give the pot a little shake to make sure all of the kernels are coated with oil. Next, place the pot over medium heat. Put the lid on the pot, leaving it slightly open so that steam can escape. It should take about five minutes for the popcorn to pop completely.
 
7) Popcorn Topping - Instead of butter, melt a little coconut oil and pour it over your popped popcorn. Then sprinkle lightly with Himalayan crystal salt.
 
8) Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips - Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Thinly slice sweet potatoes to about 1/8” thick.  Place slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with coconut oil. Bake for about 15 minutes or until chips are lightly brown.  Add salt to taste, and serve with salsa or dip. (Or just eat them plain – either way they’re delicious!)
 
9) Replace Vegetable Oil for Baking - Next time you make your favorite brownie recipe, replace the vegetable oil with coconut oil. Your friends will be begging you for the recipe.
 
10) Pan Frying - Next time you fry up a batch of sweet potato fries or a piece of chicken, use coconut oil.
 
11) Grilled Cheese with Coconut Oil - No need for butter the next time you are making a grilled cheese sandwich. 
 
12) Coconut Oil Coffee - Adding a spoonful to your coffee is a delicious way to start your day with a huge energy boost! Here is a great recipe for coconut oil coffee.
 
13) Homemade Granola - Check out this delicious recipe for coconut granola.
 
14) A Spoonful in Tea - Allow some coconut oil to melt and mildly flavor your next cup of tea. 
 
15) Salad Dressings - A simple recipe for a salad dressing with coconut oil can be found here.
 
 
 
diy coconut oil recipesCoconut Oil Skin Care
 
16) Cheekbone Highlighter - Apply a small amount on cheekbones over makeup.
 
17) Shaving Lotion - Close shave and a moisturizer at the same time.
 
18) Facial Scrub - Combine coconut oil with Himalayan crystal salt and apply to face each night. Washing it off is optional.
 
19) Body Scrub - Combine coconut oil and sugar. Check out this DIY Sugar Scrub recipe.
 
20) Makeup Remover - Healthier, stronger and longer eye lashes are just a bonus!
 
21) Homemade Deodorant - You only need a few ingredients in addition to coconut oil to make this simple deodorant recipe.
 
22) Homemade Lip Balm or Lip Gloss - Apply directly or create a flavored version with this simple lip balm recipe.
 
23) Diaper Rash Cream - Apply regularly to the baby's bottom to improve skin health.
 
24) Sexual Lubricant - Our Facebook fans swear by this one :)
 
25) Stretch Mark Preventer During Pregnancy - This safe, healthy oil can be applied multiple times each day to help moisturize your stretching skin.
 
26) Nipple Cream During Breastfeeding - Coconut oil is a popular choice for nursing mothers because it is a natural safe product.
 
27) Massage Oil - Coconut oil is the perfect choice for a massage oil. Not too greasy and with a relaxing scent.
 
28) Body Moisturizer - Apply directly after showering. 
 
29) Fade Age Spots - Rub on hands or other areas daily.
 
30) Sunburn Care - A great moisturizer to use after you've gotten a bit too much sun.
 
31) Facial Moisturizer - After you wash your face, massage a light layer on your skin.
 
32) Mix in Bath Water - Melt about 1/4 cup in the microwave and add it to your bath water and soak.
 
33) Tanning Oil - Put in a spray bottle and bring to beach. Spray on to keep skin moisturized.
 
34) Dry Feet Treatment - Mix with salt to form a foot scrub.
 
35) Elbow Rub - Helps manage the dry skin on your elbows.
 
coconut oil cooking vs other oils
 
Coconut Oil Hair Care
 
36) Leave-in Overnight Conditioner - Looking for a deep conditioning hair treatment? Rub a small amount of oil into hair (mostly at ends), comb through and put hair in a loose bun before bed, and wash out in the morning.
 
37) Hair Flyaway Tamer - Use very sparingly on ends or areas with flyaways.
 
38) Defrizzer of Split Ends - Just put a tiny amount on your hands and run them through the frizzy areas.
 
39) Static Reducer - Rub your hands together with a little bit of coconut oil on them and run them through your static-y hair.

 

Other Healthy Uses for Coconut Oil

40) Homemade Toothpaste - Combine equal parts coconut oil and baking soda. Sweeten with stevia and flavor with your favorite essential oil.

coconut oil in jar41) Aromatherapy - Whether you like coconut or not, the soothing aroma of coconut oil is pleasing to us all and can help us wind down after a long, stressful day. Read The Beginner's Guide to Aromatherapy.

42) Wound Care - Although you may not be ready to give up your Neosporin, coconut oil can even be used as a topical protector for wounds, shielding them with a thin chemical layer from outside contaminants. You can apply a small amount of coconut oil to small scrapes and cuts.

43) Metabolism Booster - 2 tablespoons per day are proven to rev up your metabolism.

44) Thyroid Supporter - Regular coconut oil consumption has been shown to support healthy thyroid function.

45) Energizer - 1 teaspoon can give you a burst of energy instead of turning towards a caffeinated energy drink.

46) Oil Pulling - Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes before brushing. Read next: Oil Pulling: Health Benefits or Healthy Hype?

 

Using Coconut Oil Around The House

47) Season a Cast Iron Pan - Here is a nice explanation of how to season a cast iron pan with coconut oil.

48) Use it as a lubricant on small motors/electronics - One Facebook fan uses it to keep his juicer's motor in top working condition.

 

Coconut Oil for Animals

49) Feed it to your Dog or Cat - Coconut oil isn't just healthy for humans. Here is some good info on the benefits for dogs and cats.

50) Put It On Your Cat's Paw - Put half a teaspoon on your kitty's paw to keep a shiny coat and cut down on hairballs.


buy organic extra virgin coconut oil cold-pressedWhat Kind of Coconut Oil Should You Buy?

We always recommend you buy a Coconut Oil that meets these guidelines.

  • Organic
  • Extra Virgin
  • Cold-Pressed
  • Non-Hydrogenated

The image on the right is the bottle of our 54 oz Organic Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It is our best seller and of course meets all of the recommendations above.

Other popular brands (of course they are a bit more expensive than Swanson) include:

 

10 Out-of-the-Box Uses for Coconut Oil Infographic

Embed this image by simply copying and pasting the provided code below.

This post was written by , with the help of our awesome Facebook community. It was originally published in March 2013, and has since been republished with updated information. Last update was on: May 29, 2014.

 

These are some of the most popular ways to use coconut oil. There are hundreds of ways to use coconut oil.

How do you use coconut oil?

The Essential Guide to Natural Allergy Relief

Thursday, March 20, 2014 by Anthony N.

How to Naturally Treat Your Allergies:

Springtime offers us sunshine, budding flowers and blooming trees. But for many of us these are the very elements that make venturing outside into the glorious post-winter world an unpleasant event. Allergies caused by tree pollen—and in more humid areas, mold—can make springtime a lousy time of year. For people with allergic sensitivities, pollen and mold can bring on sneezing, coughing, congestion, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.

So why does this happen? In some folks, the body’s immune system overreacts to a foreign substance like pollen or mold, releasing chemicals in the body that cause the unpleasant allergy symptoms.


How to Make Your Home Safe for Allergy Sufferers: 

Staying indoors when pollen and mold is present is one way to reduce the misery of springtime allergies. But even indoors you might find allergens lurking around that can make you feel bad, and these irritants can hang around all year long. What’s the worst indoor irritator?

what is dust made of?Dust—even the most meticulously clean abode harbors some dust (you can try, but you can’t clean everywhere). And although a dusty house may look…well, dusty, how bad can dust really be? What’s in dust? It varies from house to house, depending on many factors—including pet ownership—but typical dust elements include:

  • Soil and plant material
  • Human and animal skin (dander) and hair
  • Fabric fibers
  • Mold spores
  • Dust mites
  • Insect parts and waste

 

 

How to Avoid Indoor Allergens in Your Home:

There are some things you can do to decrease your exposure to indoor allergens:

  • Run the air conditioner at home. Leaving doors and windows open is a good way to invite allergens and other irritants inside your home, so there’s no escape.
  • With forced air furnaces and air conditioning systems, use high-efficiency filters and maintain the system as required. Keep air conditioning and furnace filters fresh. It’s important to change filters every three months and use filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 12.  A MERV rating tells you how well the filter can remove pollen and mold from the air as it passes through.
  • Vacuum furnace/air conditioning vents and air returns
  • Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor air dry
  • Use HEPA filters in portable units (especially in the bedroom) and in vacuum cleaners
  • Sweep, dust and vacuum often—don’t forget behind, under and on top of your refrigerator
  • Wash your sheets. Dust mite particles can be found in your bedding, which may trigger allergies. Washing your sheets once a week, and comforters or quilts every few weeks, will help rid your bed of these particles.
  • Listen for Drips. Leaks around the house can result in a mold problem, which can cause immune-related problems. Once a leak is sealed, clean around the area with disinfectant or a hot water and bleach mixture.
  • Move your Plants. Like any area of the house, plants can grow mold overtime. If you smell the musty odor of mold on your houseplant, throw it away or move it to an area of the house that isn’t frequently used.

 

How to Naturally Reduce Allergy Symptoms:

tips to reduce allergy symptoms

  1. Wear Shades—Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors. Covering your eyes keeps pollen and other irritants away from this sensitive area, which reduces itchiness and redness. Pollen is a known irritant for eyes and eyelids.
  2. Drink Water—Even mild dehydration can activate histamine production, so staying hydrated can dampen allergy symptoms.
  3. Nasal Irrigation—Nasal irrigation with a combination of warm water and natural salt may help clear out mucus and open sinus passages. You can administer the solution through a neti pot.
  4. Shower and Wash Your Hair before bed. Cleaning up before getting into bed helps remove pollen from your hair and skin, which reduces irritation. You should also consider keeping pets out of the bedroom if they’ve been outside, as pollen can cling to their fur.
  5. Minimize activities outdoors when pollen counts are at their peak. Pollen is typically at its highest point during midday and afternoon hours, so those who suffer from allergies and asthma should avoid going outside during those times of day.

 

Allergy Mistakes

Avoid These Mistakes When Trying to Prevent Allergies:

  1. Don’t treat symptoms without knowing what you’re allergic to. You may think you know what’s causing your allergy symptoms, but more than two-thirds of spring allergy sufferers actually have year-round allergies. An allergist, a doctor who is an expert in treating allergies and asthma, can perform tests to pinpoint the cause of your suffering and then find the right treatment to stop it.
  2. allergy prevention mistakesDon't blindly spend on over-the-counter medications. There are tons of allergy medications available at the store, some of which can be very effective. But if you’re buying new products all the time, spending a bundle and not feeling better, consult with an allergist who can discuss which options might be best for you. Your allergist may suggest nasal spray or allergy shots, also called immunotherapy. Immunotherapy can actually cure your allergies and keep you out of the drug store aisles for good.
  3. Don’t wait until symptoms kick in and you’re already feeling bad to take allergy medication. Instead, prepare by taking medication that has worked for you in the past just before the season starts. Pay attention to the forecast: When winter weather turns warm, pollens and molds are released into the air. Start treatment prior to the warm-up.
  4. Never hang clothing or laundry outside. Hanging laundry is a great way to be green and save on your electricity bill, but when your clothes are on a clothesline, fabric can collect pollen, which is an allergy trigger. Instead, use a drying machine to reduce these allergens.
  5. Avoid eating produce and other foods that might aggravate sniffles and sneezing. If your mouth, lips and throat get itchy and you sniffle and sneeze after eating certain raw or fresh fruits or other foods, you may have “oral allergy syndrome.” The condition, which affects about one third of seasonal allergy sufferers, occurs in people who are already allergic to pollen: their immune system sees a similarity between the proteins of pollen and those of the food, and triggers a reaction. If you are allergic to tree pollen, for example, foods like apples, cherries, pears, apricots, kiwis, oranges, plums, almonds, hazelnut and walnuts may bother you. Cooking or peeling the food may help, but you should talk to an allergist.

 

12 Best Natural Supplements for Allergy Support:

Over half of all Americans suffer from allergies, so you're not alone if you've been sneezing, coughing or wiping your watery eyes. Although there is no magical cure for spring allergies, there are a number of ways to combat them, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. You may also want to consider natural therapies. There are a wide variety of natural supplements that you can take to help ease allergy symptoms. Here is a list of some of the most well-reviewed supplements for allergy support. Just like OTC and prescription treatments, health supplements can cause side effects or can react with medications you’re taking so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before you start taking any natural health herbs.

  1. Astragalus – A traditional Chinese remedy for allergies, buy astragalus to support the immune system.
  2. Butterbur – The herb butterbur (Petasites hybridus) shows potential for relieving seasonal allergy symptoms. Taking butterbur supplements may reduce hay fever symptoms. Taking 100 mg daily of this herbal extract can improve nasal airflow by cutting down leukotriene, a compound that kick-starts many allergic reactions. In one Swiss study, butterbur was just as effective as an over-the-counter antihistamine for reducing allergy symptoms.
  3. Evening Primrose – This oil works two ways to suppress allergies. First, allergic reactions cause inflammations and evening primrose oil acts as an anti-inflammatory to decrease the reaction. Secondly, it stimulates the white blood cells that regulate the production of histamines and antibodies.
  4. Gamma Linolenic Acid – GLA has a long history in folk medicine for treating allergies. People who have allergies may require additional essential fatty acids and have trouble converting LA (Linoleic acid) to GLA. Studies have found that women and children who are prone to allergies have lower levels of GLA.
  5. Green Tea – Drink a cup of tea. It delivers EGCG, an antioxidant that blocks production of histamine and immunoglobulin E, both of which trigger allergy symptoms.  
  6. Probiotics – Increasing beneficial bacteria may prevent allergies. Probiotics benefit the immune system and could, therefore, reduce allergies.
  7. Omega-3s – Scientific studies have shown fish oil can help alleviate hay fever, sinus problems and allergic skin conditions.
  8. Quercetin – This flavonoid, found naturally in onions, apples, and black tea, has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to block histamines or reduce the release of histamine, which decreases symptoms.
  9. Skullcap – This herb has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat hayfever. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic properties.
  10. Spriulina – Studies suggest this blue-green algae can boost the immune system and protect against allergic reactions.
  11. Stinging Nettle – The roots and leaves of the stinging nettle plant (Urtica dioica) have been used to treat everything from joint pain to prostate problems. Some people use freeze-dried stinging nettle leaves to treat allergy symptoms.
  12. Vitamin C – This well-known immune-boosting antioxidant lowers histamine levels in the bloodstream, which could prevent the onset of allergies. 2,000 mg of vitamin C can cut histamine levels (which trigger allergy symptoms) by up to 40%, improving breathing and your airway.

natural supplements for allergies

 

Sources:
University of Maryland Medical Center
WebMD
getbetterhealth.com
Mother Earth News

18 Food Replacement Hacks that Make Healthy Eating Easy

Monday, January 13, 2014 by Anthony N.

I'll admit it. I think it's difficult to eat healthy all of the time. I do pretty well most of the time, but the best technique by far that I've used to be sure that I'm eating healthy meals regularly is to simply replace unhealthy ingredients with something healthier. I don't mean replacing it in your recipe... I mean trying to replace it in your kitchen or pantry. I know that these aren't all perfect replacements that work in every single recipe, but in general, I've found them to be healthier options that work in a lot of recipes.

If unhealthy ingredients aren't around, you don't use them. That simple. So, below are some items I have ditched and the healthier food items I have replaced them with. Healthy foods aren't as expensive as you think when you buy right here at Swanson from the healthy food section of the store.

 

18 Healthy Food Replacement Hacks that Make Healthy Eating Easy

 

replace white rice with quinoa - healthy food replacement

Ready to make the switch? Put some quinoa on your shopping list.

 

replace mayo with mustard to help be healthy

Ready to make the switch? Buy some delicious organic mustard.

 

replace soda with herbal teas when on a diet

Ready to ditch soda? Check out this selection of over 600 tea products.

 

replace vegetable oil with coconut oil when cooking healthy

Helpful links: How to Use Coconut Oil - Buy Coconut Oil

 

use greek yogurt instead of sour cream as a healthy food replacement

 

 

healthy food replacement - use almonds instead of croutons on a salad

Croutons taste good, but so do almonds. Try these unsalted organic almonds.

 

replace potato chips with air popped popcorn for a healthy snack

Popcorn. Get your popcorn here.

 

replace white flour with coconut flour as a healthy baking substitute

Our organic coconut flour has some great reviews.

 

replace white sugar or artificial sweeteners with stevia

Now is the time to ditch the sugar. Give stevia a try.

 

healthy food replacement - instead of chocolate chips use cocoa nibs

Make sure your cocao nibs are raw and organic.

 

substitute romaine lettuce for iceberg when eating healthy foods

We don't sell lettuce but we can help you grow some with these organic lettuce seeds.

 

healthy food replacement to use olive oil and balsamiq instead of ranch salad dressing

Check out our selection of organic olive oils and organic balsamic vinegars.

 

replace bread crumbs with chia seeds to make a healthier recipe

Ready to make the switch? Shop for chia seeds.

 

replace regular table salt with healthier himalayan crystal salt

Once you make the switch, you'll never go back. Check out Swanson Himalayan crystal salt.

 

food replacement - nut butter is healthier than processed peanut butter

Peanut butter, out. Almond butter, in.

 

drink coconut water instead of sports drinks if you are looking for a healthy food replacement

Have you tried coconut water? You should. It's extremely refreshing.

 

replacing sugary juice with purified water is healthy

Filter your water and put it in a bottle to carry around.

it is healhty to replace cow's milk (regular milk) with almond milk

Almond milk comes in both sweetened and unsweetened varieties.