Spring Clean Your Health

Spring Skin Care

Mimi Dakar, co-founder of the Sonya Dakar Facial Clinic in Beverly Hills, California demonstrates Sonya Dakar's new Apple Stem Cell Facial in the Prevention Skincare Spa.

Get the recipe!

Top Ten Spring Foods
What you put on your plate can help or harm your internal organs. The Doctors and Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Prevention, showcase the wonder foods that can improve your body from the inside out.

1. Dandelion
Dandelions have been used for centuries to treat liver problems. The weed is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as beta-carotene and antioxidants. Taking a dandelion supplement can help improve production of bile in the liver.

2. Ginger
Ginger root, a diuretic, helps the kidneys flush toxins from the body.

3. Blueberries
Blueberries are the ultimate brain food. The tiny fruit packs a big punch with the highest concentration of antioxidants per serving among fruits. They also helps boost neuron signals in the brain.

4. Salmon
Omega-3 fatty acids, the unsaturated fats found in salmon and other fatty fish, help reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week.

5. Avocado
Avocados are high in vitamins C, B6, E, K, as well as potassium and copper, all of which work wonders for the skin. The fruit helps restore hair’s luster as well. See how to make your own avocado hair mask!

6. Spinach
Spinach is high in the carotenoid lutein, a natural antioxidant that can help protect the eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration and other diseases.

7. Broccoli
Broccoli helps condition hair. The vegetable is high in vitamins A and C, which the body needs to produce sebum, an oily substance secreted by hair follicles to keep it healthy and shiny.

8. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, which help build muscles.

9. Jalapeños
Jalapeños contain capsaicin, an active component of chili peppers that has potent antibacterial properties. Capsaicin stimulates secretions that clear mucus from your nose, which relieves nasal congestion and helps fight and prevent sinusitis, or chronic sinus infections. See the sinus buster in action!

10. Celery
Celery is one of the best foods for teeth. The amount of chewing required to break down the crunchy vegetable increases the production of saliva, which helps destroy bacteria that cause plaque.

11. Sunshine
Sunshine is not a food, but it is the best source of vitamin D, which is produced in the body in response to sunlight. Without vitamin D, our bodies cannot properly absorb calcium, and our bones become weak and brittle.

Spring Clean Your Home
Six hot spots in your house can harbor millions of germs and put your family’s health in jeopardy. Liz pays a house call to roommates Ashley and Lindsay and shows the young women how to clean their home effectively.

1. Welcome Mat
The area near the front door is one of the dirtiest in the house. Ninety-six percent of shoe soles have traces of coliform bacteria, which is found in fecal matter. Once the bacteria are on the mat, every time someone walks into the house, bacteria is tracked inside.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Spray the doormat once a week with a fabric-safe disinfectant
• Leave shoes at the door and avoid resting bags and groceries on the mat

2. Refrigerator Seal
At any given time, a refrigerator seal has an 83 percent chance of harboring mold, which thrives in cool, moist environments. Mold present in the refrigerator’s seal can easily contaminate food and aggravate allergies.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Wipe fridge seals at least once a week with a diluted bleach solution or disinfectant.

3. Dishwasher
Debris such as food, bones, gravel and chips of glass can get caught in the dishwasher and clog the drain. A clogged drain can cause bacteria to grow and prevent dishes from getting clean.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher, empty, except for the cup of vinegar, using the hottest water available.
• The vinegar will help wash away any loose, greasy grime, sanitize the dishwasher and remove the musty odor.

4. Washing Machine

Health Hearsay

Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Prevention magazine details risks associated with daylight savings time.

Twenty-five percent of home washing machines are contaminated with fecal bacteria. The culprit is dirty underwear, and just one pair can contaminate an entire load of laundry. Even tiny amounts of fecal matter on undergarments can contain millions of bacteria, typically E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and billions of viruses, including adenoviruses, rotaviruses, and hepatitis A.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Wash clothes at a temperature of 140 degrees or higher
• Wash undergarments with one cup of chlorine bleach added to the wash water
• Store dirty underpants in their own laundry basket and wash them separately
• Follow an underpants wash with a clothes-less cycle using hot water and bleach to sanitize the machine
• Use protective gloves when transferring wet clothes from the washer to the dryer, or wash your hands immediately afterwards
• Use detergent that contains a sanitizer

5. Toilet Flush Handle
Just like a toilet bowl, a toilet flush handle can harbor 3.2 million bacteria per square inch.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Wipe down the handle with hot water and a disinfectant such as bleach • Always wash your hands after flushing the toilet • Close the lid when flushing the toilet. A flush can spew particles into the air, coating the floor and walls with whatever had been swirling around in the bowl.

6. Shower Head
Dirty showerheads may be spraying you with bacteria that can make you sick. "Soak it for about 15 minutes to an hour in there. If you can't get the showerhead off", Liz explains, "you can put the solution in a plastic bag, hang it from the showerhead and twist it with a twist tie."

How to Keep It Clean:
• Take an old pan and fill it with boiling water and white vinegar
• Unscrew the top of the showerhead and soak it for 20 minutes.
• Replace firmly and repeat every few months

More house cleaning tips:
Home health in a snap

Spring clean your body

Bedroom Basics
The average person spends more than one-third of his or her life in bed, and the average mattress can be a breeding ground for bacteria, allergens and unwelcome critters.

Most people shed approximately 1.5 million skin cells per hour and emit one quart of perspiration every day, even while sleeping. Skin cells accumulate in pillows and mattresses, and attract dust mites. The critters then multiply.

A mattress doubles in weight every 10 years because of the accumulation of human hair, bodily secretions, animal hair and dander, fungal mold and spores, bacteria, chemicals, dust, lint, fibers, dust mites, insect parts, and a variety of particulates, including dust mite feces. After five years, 10 percent of the weight of a pillow is dust mites.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Replace pillows every year
• Replace mattress every seven years
• Flip your mattress every six months to keep the surface even

Carpet Care
Bacteria, viruses, spores, dirt, dust mites, allergens and other contaminants can grow in carpet. Steam cleaning helps penetrate the carpet’s surface and will remove the dirt that’s trapped in between the layers. If you suffer from allergies, steam cleaning your carpet every three months can help alleviate symptoms.

How to Keep It Clean:
• Steam clean carpets once a year
• Don’t wear shoes inside

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