Healthy Living

All About Water Filters

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Drinking water is an essential part of our daily lives as human beings, but the type of water you consume is up to you. You either can go for some bottled water, tap water, well water or filtered water. When you think of bottled water, you assume that it has gone through some sort of filtration process to make it safer for consumption, but in reality that isn’t always the case. Not all bottled water companies put their water through an intensive filtration process like you’d assume. About a quarter of the time water bottle companies actually are just bottling up tap water and then they sell it to their consumers (NRDC). To top it all off, a lot of well known bottled water companies are actually taking the water they use for consumption from the most drought ridden places (Mother Jones). Ethically and environmentally consistently buying bottled water isn’t the best way to go, but if ever do find yourself needing a plastic water bottle, be sure to recycle it. Water bottles like that are 100% recyclable, but only 27% are actually recycled! Filling up our landfills and oceans with more and more junk (Green America).

Many don’t realize, but tap water has to be treated too. Public water is treated with chlorine and fluoride, which is something not everyone agrees on (CNN), but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has to maintain a certain quality of water that comes out of your tap so it is safe for consumption. In major cities tap water has to be disinfected, filtered and tested for certain things while bottled water is not and doesn’t have to be. To put it into a better perspective, once a week bottled water companies have to test for coliform bacteria, while a city tap is required to be tested 100 times a month. Sometimes even more than that (NRDC)! If you only have access to well water, then be sure to have a company come out and make sure the quality of your water is safe to drink.

Your best bet always is going to be setting up a water filtration system in your home. This doesn’t have to be as costly as it sounds, and we’re here to help you pick the best one for your hydration needs.

1. Gravity Based Purifier

These types of systems do not need to run off of electricity, instead they work off of gravity. They sound super complicated and futuristic, but they only contain two chambers that give different pressures to the water that in turn filters out contaminants (USA Today). They are extremely low maintenance, very affordable and don’t make your electricity bill sky rocket, which are all ideal for any homeowner. Usually with gravity purifiers they tend to use activated carbon filters and a ultrafiltration membrane to take out the harmful components in the water. It is the most advanced process to take out harsh bacteria without using any sort of potent chemicals in return for the filtration. Unfortunately it does not filter out metals and salts from the water, nor is it ideal for someone living in an area with water that has high levels of TDS (Best UF Water Purifier).

2. Reverse Osmosis Water Purifier

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A reverse osmosis filtration system is ideal for people trying to improve the taste, remove impurities, save money and not have to worry about maintenance. This system is something that is installed to the kitchen tap, and it can also be connected to your fridge! There are even more extreme versions of RO systems that are tied to the main water line in your home so that the water will reach all areas of the house (ESP Water Products). This type of filter is nice for people who are worried about the amount of heavy metals and salt that is in their drinking water since this process is good for removing things like mercury, arsenic, fluoride and plenty more. The main con with RO systems is that you do lose water during the filtration process (USA Today).

3. Universal Water Purifier

Universal water purifiers are also known as multi-stage water purification systems. This option is going to be a bit pricier, but if you’re someone who wants your water to taste pristine and be able to reach the highest of quality standards, this is the type of system for you. These systems are actually able to go through multiple types of filtering processes, which means you can remove an immense amount of contaminants in your water at one time (USA Today).

4. Ultrafiltration Water Purifier

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If the reverse osmosis filter sounded like you’re cup of tea, but you want a little bit more out of your filtration system, the UF purifiers might be just right for you. This has the same features that a reverse osmosis filter does, but it contains a larger mechanism that gets rid of more bacteria than the RO filter does. The RO filters also get out the salt and heavy metal content, but the UF systems do not have this feature since it is more focused on getting rid of germs (USA Today).

5. UV Water Purifier

UV water purifiers radiate out viruses and bacteria that are harmful to your body using just UV technology. Some systems use chemicals to get rid of unwanted organisms, but since this one does not it doesn’t give your water an unflattering taste. It is one of the most green friendly water filtration options for you. Sadly though, certain chemicals like arsenic, nitrates and fluoride will not be something that this process gets rid of (USA Today).

6. Distillation Filters

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If you want the most environmentally safe and natural way to go about filtering your water, distilling may be right up your alley. The process of distilling your drinking water starts by taking different components of your water and separating it with evaporation, then condensation. It removes heavy metals and contaminants during this cycle. A downfall to this process is that it does make the water taste flat to some people since it lacks oxygen and removes the minerals from your water. Purifying systems usually add in the minerals at the end of the process, which you can do yourself if you prefer the taste, but still want the benefits of distilled water (Water Filter Magazine).

7. Cheapest Alternatives

If these more hi-tech systems aren’t in your budget or if you’d rather have something simpler, you can always go for a faucet attachment water filter, have one for you to keep in your refrigerator or grab a reusable water bottle that has an add-on filter. These are extremely cheap options that range from about $10-$40, and they that still do get the job done!

Whether you gravitate towards an intense or minimal filtration system, just remember that you should always be confident on the quality of your water. There is that perfect option for you out there just waiting for you, so don’t wait any longer. Water is a paramount part of your daily life that is not to be taken lightly. Keep on healthy hydratin’!

Improve Your Sleep

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Good sleep is an essential part of our overall well-being and is not something to be taken lightly. The average person spends 26 years of their lives sleeping, and 7 years total attempting to go to sleep (Huffington Post), so a concrete sleep schedule is definitely something you want to make sure is a top priority in your life. Not only do you want to maintain healthy sleeping patterns because you’re sleeping for over a quarter of your life, but it also benefits you immensely (Healthline)! A great nights rest will help you maintain/lose weight, become more productive, gain better concentration, help with your athletic abilities and all around will improve your body externally and internally.

1. Create a Pre-Sleep Routine

Transitioning from wake time to sleep time can be sometimes difficult to do if you have a lot on your mind, or if you’re feeling tense. But, if you make some sort of nightly scheduled routine beforehand it will help this transition go a lot smoother for you. You should give yourself about an hour of downtime before hitting the hay, and this should be something that relaxes you mentally and physically. Some things that you could try out are taking a bath or shower, practicing relaxation exercises, reading, drawing, writing, do some yoga, etc (Healthy Sleep). Just about anything that helps you wind down towards the end of the night is ideal for a routine before bed.

2. Turn off Your Devices

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We all love to scroll our feeds and turn on an addicting television show once we get home and it’s time to unwind, but in reality a lot of us are doing it a little too much. They can be not only toxic for relationships with loved ones, but they also can interfere with a healthy sleep schedule too. The light that comes off of screens can slow down the production of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that controls your sleep cycle. To prevent technology interfering with your sleep, try and turn off your devices 30 minutes of time so you can transition into sleep mode properly. Another problem with screen time before bed, is that your brain will still be engaged and tricking you into thinking that you need to stay awake. Anything you take away from whatever piece of technology you’re using, it will make it hard for you to fall into a deep sleep (National Sleep Foundation). So next time you feel like browsing Instagram at the late hours of the night, just remember that whatever you’re looking at will be there for you tomorrow when you wake up. No need to do it at such a critical part of your day.

3. Increase Nutrient Intake and Cut Back on Caffeine and Alcohol

What you consume fuels your body, and sometimes we don’t always track what we’re putting into our system, but those types of things can heavily alter how well you sleep. Foods that are high in magnesium and the vitamin B complex are majorly useful sleep aids. For example, halibut, almonds, cashews, spinach, veggies, nuts and legumes are great sources of those nutrients that help you fall asleep effortlessly. Some things you’re going to want to avoid, or at least limit, are alcohol and caffeine (Greatist).  The affects may be subjective with these things like this, but for the most part these two things don’t normally impact a persons sleep in a positive way. Alcohol may make you fall asleep quickly, but that doesn’t mean that you’re in the correct sleep state. It prevents us from achieving the correct amount of time in our deep sleep stages. This will cause you to feel unrefreshed, irritable, groggy and may add to a potential hangover. Caffeine suppresses adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel drowsy (Tuck). While a nice cup of Joe does help some people go to bed, it can delay your body clock timing, which then cuts down on your total light and deep sleep time throughout the night (Sleep Education).

4. Invest in a High Quality Pillow and Mattress

What you sleep on is the utmost important factor of how you sleep. If you’ve ever had any sort of sleep issues, your pillow or mattress could be the problem. Your pillow has an affect on the way your neck aligns with your spine, (Healthy Back) and your mattress affects your spine as well, on top of helping reduce joint and back paint (NearSay). Both of them have an influence on how long you’re sleeping, how comfortable you are and even helps prevent snoring. If you don’t pay attention to this and sweep it under the rug, you could be facing issues like back problems, headaches and sleep disruption. It may seem like nothing major, but over time these things can add up and potentially be extremely harmful to your health.

Don’t feel guilty about spending a Friday night in to catch up on some rest, your body needs it. Our body isn’t designed to constantly be on the go, and we can’t treat it like it is. Be sure to follow some of these tips to help you get started on bettering your sleep to better your life!

Staying Hydrated Is Never Overrated

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With the days getting hotter and hotter, we want to make sure our bodies are constantly prepared for anything thrown at us. That includes a big one, being dehydrated. It’s common in the summer to feel like you aren’t taking in enough water since summer time is all about go, go, go. But, you have to remember that keeping your health in tip top shape is the best thing you can do for yourself no matter what season it is, or how busy you may be.

1. Water, Water, Water!

Even though the amount of water you should intake daily can vary depending on a variety of things like weight, height, age, etc. there are still some set recommendations that have been found in different studies to give us a rough idea on how much water we should consume each day. Water is a necessity for our everyday life to keep your body at a normal temperature, to help with joints, to protect tissues, to give you energy, and get rid of waste (CDC). One great way to remember to drink more water is investing in a water bottle. Not a plastic bottle that you’ll end up possibly forgetting to recycle, but one that is dishwasher safe and BPA free plastic or glass bottle. This will not only help you, but it’s great for the environment as well! We suggest you get a few different sizes to cover all your bases. Purchase a larger one for when you’re just sitting around, and get a more reasonably sized one for traveling and exercise. This will promote more water intake and prevent less waste at the same time! If you aren’t big on drinking just water by itself, add some pizzazz to it! You can do this by adding fruit slices or coconut ice to your water, or by trying out unsweetened flavored waters. Then eventually try and get into the groove of slowly taking out the additives and embracing the simple, yet satisfying, effects and taste of plain ol’ H2O.

2. Stock up on Water Enriched Foods

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Water is the most obvious answer when it comes to staying hydrated, but keep in mind that some foods are super rich in water too! It’s sometimes hard to stay on top of consuming a certain amount of water per day, but incorporating hydrating foods is a great way to keep dehydrating away, and bring in lots of water. Some of the most hydrating foods are cucumbers, cantaloupes, watermelon, bell peppers, carrots, and broccoli. You can find a full list of even more hydrating foods here. Even things like applesauce, popsicles, yogurt and jell-o are super hydrating, but we suggest everyone sticks to the fruits and veggies as much as possible to ensure you’re getting the most pure vitamins and nutrients out of your hydrating foods.

3. Vitamins Can Hydrate You Too

People tend to gravitate toward things like Gatorade when they’re trying to hydrate themselves since it has electrolytes in it. Only issue is that Gatorade drinks are typically heavy in sugars, carbs and sodium. You can get the proper vitamins naturally by taking supplements in unpleasantly hot weather conditions if you aren’t getting them in your diet naturally. Electrolytes are in charge of directing water and the nutrients along with it to where your body needs it most (elete). Calciumchloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium (The Vitamin Shoppe) are all what make up the electrolytes we need to function. To kill two birds with one stone, we sell a pill container and water bottle together that would be super useful for keeping track of daily vitamins, and getting in that daily water intake too!

4. Pay Attention To your Weight

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The more you sweat, the more you gotta sip! No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, you’re losing water in the process. Dehydration while working out can cause drowsiness, exhaustion, headaches, cramping and decreased coordination (Very Well Fit). A suggestion to stay hydrated during your work outs is to weigh yourself before and after your workouts. Once you determine this you then can base how much water you need to drink post-workout. You should drink about 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound you’ve lost (Health.com).

Consuming just the right amount of water is beneficial for you in so many ways internally and externally. If you’re not taking the time to hydrate yourself there are short term and long term effects that can be brutal to your body. Things like a dry mouth, under eye bags and feeling weak (Noble Beverages) are just some of the short term issues that dehydration causes. As for long term it can effect how your brain functions, the intensity of your mental health issues, your skin, your organs and immune system (Foxelli). So be sure to fill up on plenty of H2O to keep your body happy and healthy, especially during these upcoming summer months!

Getting Summer Ready

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Summer is coming around the corner quick, and being prepared to stop hibernating and start getting out there again isn’t always easy…especially since winter has seemed a bit more rough than normal. Luckily we have some tips for you to help get you summer ready and STAY summer ready all season long.

1. Take Your Vitamins

It’s encouraged to take vitamins year round, but some can be even more valuable in the summer due to the benefits correlating with this time of year. One of the best supplements you can take during the summer time is a vitamin A. There have been studies on the link between vitamin A and preventing skin cancer. The evidence in the studies suggest that if vitamin A is taken daily it can reduce the risk of melanoma. It can even help with already damaged skin from sun exposure! Vitamin D does naturally come from the sun, so you may not think you need to take it during the sunniest season of them all, but there are quite a few things to consider before determining that you don’t need it during the summer. There are exceptions depending on where you live, how exposed you are to the sun, if you’re wearing sunscreen, how much sun you are getting daily and what time of the day you’re outside. Most people don’t get the sun exposure they need during peak sun hours, so taking this supplement will boost your vitamin D levels you are missing out on. Vitamin C is chock full of nutrients that are essential for summer. It has been show throughout studies that it actually helps the body react properly to stress that is induced by heat. Vitamin c also helps bring down the risk and chance to develop things like heat rashes and exhaustion goes down.

2. Consume Lots of in Season Fruits and Veggies

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There’s no denying that it’s pretty effortless to enjoy fruits and veggies during any season, but when they are in season it means they’ll be in tip-top shape just for you! Not only will their taste be at it’s prime, but they’ll be in their most nutritious state as well. Eating vibrant produce that’s in season during the summer will be a huge help to stay on top of essential nutrients that you’ll need to keep your energy up and have you feeling refreshed. Some suggested fruits to consume during the summer include; apricots, Asian pears, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, jackfruit, key limes, mulberries, peaches, strawberries and watermelon. Some veggies that should be added to your grocery list this summer are; beets, bell peppers, crookneck squash, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, lima beans, peas and zucchini. You can get a full list of in season summer fruits and vegetables here.

3. Activity

If you are someone who normally is more into short walks to the couch with three huge heaping scoops of ice cream, rather than long strides around a track, no problem! We tend to sometimes scare ourselves with the word exercise, when in reality it can actually be something we find just as pleasurable as sinking into our beds after a long work day. There is no denying that it is hard to transition into being an even somewhat active person again after being cooped up all winter. But you can start getting back in the groove by taking time out of your day for minimal and enjoyable activities. Try to at least get a minimum of 60 minutes of some sort of physical activity. Whether it’s casual biking, going on walks, doing some yoga, or even starting up a garden, you can find ways to get in an hour of activity and exercise while still keeping it entertaining.

4. Plant Indoors

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Loads of people love when summertime comes because this means everything is in full bloom, and planting lively and beautiful living organisms is a huge spirit booster. One thing some people don’t always consider is planting more indoors. There is an assumption that it is easier to sustain a plants life with it living outdoors, but that isn’t always true! Some plants are easier to take care of indoors than outside. The main benefit of having houseplants is that they are natural air purifiers. They act like a sponge and remove toxic elements out of the air within your home. NASA had even done a study on this and found that you could prevent yourself from getting sick by having certain plants in your living space. Not only do they help with your physical health, but they can improve your mental health as well! There have been studies that show having indoor plants can reduce stress, drive creativity and can improve your mood all around. If you end up planting fruits and vegetables, this can be a great way to save money! Saving money is always important, but with summer means more things to do, and with more things to do comes spending more money. So in doing this, you’ll be able to not only benefit health wise, but also boost your bank account! Even from an aesthetic point of view, they always add a great pop of color and peppiness to any indoor space.

 

Being summer ready doesn’t always need to be about achieving Kim Kardashian’s body in under a month, but it is always about feeling your best by making simple yet effective changes that will improve your mental and physical being.

5 Ways to Stay on Top of Your New 2018 Healthy Lifestyle!

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You know the feeling. It’s January 1st and you are ready to take on this new year with a clear mind and a brand new healthy way of living. You will stop at NOTHING to reach your goals, and NO ONE will get in your way. After time goes on there are some things that may start to creep on in that will start to take your eyes off the prize. Maybe it’s that late night sweet tooth, or maybe even more specifically, Netflix just released a new season of Black Mirror that you NEED to binge watch wrapped up in a blanket burrito. It also doesn’t help that it’s probably below zero outside.

There are a lot of things that could hold us back from our ultimate goal, but we are here to help you! We’re going to go through a list of some ways to stay motivated and not get completely lost in that blanket burrito of yours during the winter season, and throughout the entire year.

1. Try New Habits and New Workouts Frequently

It can get boring doing the same exact thing day in and day out. That is something that can definitely discourage someone from getting to where they want to be. If you’re someone who likes to meal plan, try different foods you have never tried before! This is a good way to incorporate new nutrient filled and delicious foods into your diet. Another simple switch would be changing up your morning and evening routines to get ready, or to wind down. Alternating workouts and switching up what you do weekly is a good way to get you actually excited to work out. Some days you can spend your time on the treadmill, others you could take a Zumba class, then even take a hot yoga class. The possibilities are endless, and there are plenty of ways to spice up your routines to keep yourself excited for what’s to come.

2. Download These Apps to Your Smart Devices

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Most of the time our devices can distract us and make us want to be lazy, but there are some useful apps that will actually help keep you motivated. HealthyOut* is an app which is helpful for finding healthy meals at restaurants near you. You can even search on the app with any diet you follow, as well as the calories of the meal. MyFitnessPal is a calorie counting app that allows you to track how well your diet is going, lets you input workouts, and even lets your put your recipes and the nutritional facts of them into your day. Just scan the barcode of each item you use, and voilà! Not only do you want to focus on the foods you eat, but also your mental health. You cannot be on top of your physical health, if you’re not focused on your mental health as well. Headspace is a meditation app which helps you with meditating if you’re a beginner, or even an expert, and really gets your mind focused and clear of all negative energy. Lastly, Sleep Cycle is an app that analyzes your sleeping and snoring habits that sets up a personalized graph daily on your nights sleep. It will even wake you up at the perfect time depending on your stats!

2. Remember you Cannot Get to Where You Want to Be Overnight

Unfortunately we more than likely cannot reach our goals within the first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth month of this new healthy lifestyle. It takes some people weeks, and for others it could take years. It all truly depends on where you’re at, where you want to be, and how motivated you are. Looking at other peoples journeys on the internet and on television are great ways to help you remember that this doesn’t just happen overnight. Printing out stories, or before and after photos of others with the time it took them may sound silly, but it can be helpful to remind yourself that YOU GOT THIS! It all just takes patience and perseverance.

4. Bring a Friend Along

Having someone there to help motivate you and encourage you even more is always a great idea. Even if you both have different goals, and may go about this differently, it is still good to have someone else there to give you that extra push that you need. Plus, if they are on the same type of journey as you are, then doing all of these new and fun things together can be something you both actually end up enjoy doing together! I know for a fact I get more motivated to go out for a run around the track or at the gym when I have a friend there with me. You can even make a little competition out of this to help keep you even more interested. You can both compete for some sort of goal to really try and push yourself even harder! Maybe even have the person who loses that specific competition buy lunch, or do little things like that to help you guys have even more drive!

5. LET YOURSELF CHEAT SOMETIMES!

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I think this is the most important one out of all of them. Letting yourself indulge every once in a while is something that will stop you from permanently going back to your old habits. There is no doubt that you are more likely to go back to those old habits if you deprive yourself of all those treats and goodies you used to eat frequently. Once or twice a week allow yourself to eat that greasy pizza you’ve been craving, and don’t feel guilty about it. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself in moderation for all the hard work you have been putting in.

 

Happy 2018! Cheers to staying motivated!

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