Sharecare Top 5: Natural Mosquito Repellents That Really Work

Summer is in full swing, and that means you’re probably spending lots of time outside. But while outdoor activities like camping, hiking and backyard barbecues are a lot of fun, chances are you’re also dealing with something else a bit unpleasant: Pesky mosquitoes. They can turn a perfectly good time into an uncomfortable, itchy nightmare. Not to mention, mosquitoes can carry diseases like malaria and West Nile virus. Now, you could reach for some DEET, which has been found to be both safe and effective at repelling mosquitoes. But, what if you’re worried about putting pesticides on your skin – or your child’s? That’s where these five natural mosquito repellents come in.

1. Go herbal
Want a natural bug repellent that you can grow in your very own garden? Try lemon balm. It has high levels of citronellal, a compound that mimics citronella, which gives the herb a lemony scent and flavor that mosquitoes find unpleasant. Just crush some lemon balm leaves in your hand, rub them on your skin and let the mosquito-repelling powers kick in. Watch this video with naturopathic doctor Pina LoGiudice to find out what else lemon balm can do.


Sharecare Top 5: Fun Summer Workouts

When the weather is gorgeous, who wants to work out in a gym? Not only does outdoor exercise give you the health benefits of vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin,” it can also increase your likelihood of sticking to a weight-loss plan. The keys to a successful sweat session in summer are adequate hydration, sunblock and a really fun activity –  so you’ll be excited to get out there even when it’s hot. Check out these great ideas for summer workouts.

1. Outdoor yoga
Mix up your next yoga session by taking it outdoors. Yoga is known for its stress-relieving effects, but it can also improve memory, relieve chronic pain and even help you sleep. Taking your yoga practice outside – on your own or in a class – provides an even greater sense of calm and relaxation. New to yoga? Grab your mat and do this beginner routine outside.


Sharecare Top 5: Sensational Summer Salads

A fresh salad is the perfect quick and easy summer meal. It takes minimal preparation and fills you up without weighing you down. Plus, it’s a great way to use the produce that’s in season: Think juicy berries, refreshing melons and sweet peppers. Now that summer’s in full swing, we’re sharing our five favorite summer salad recipes that are sure to be a hit with you and your family.

1. Indian-inspired salad
Chicken salad can be high in fat and calories, but this curried chicken salad with grapes and walnuts is diet-friendly and packed with health benefits. Sweet grapes help keep your blood pressure in check. Crunchy walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. And flavorful curry powder can help improve digestion. Learn more about curry powder’s health benefits in this video with Sharecare expert Kulreet Chaudhary, MD.


Sharecare Top 5: Tips for a Safe, Fun Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a blast: What’s not to love about grilling, friends and fireworks? But if you’re not careful, minor mishaps can sideline your Independence Day celebration. Ensure your holiday is a happy one with these five tips for a fun, safe Fourth of July.

1. Danger-proof your grill.
Planning to fire up the grill this July 4? If you’re using propane, first check the tank for leaks, cracks, dents or corrosion. If you’re using charcoal, keep water handy to extinguish the hot coals. Always grill out in the open, away from structures that could catch fire – and light the match before turning on the gas! You should also take steps to reduce the cancer-causing substances on grilled meat, chicken and fish. Find out how in this video with Sharecare expert Samantha Heller, RD.


Sharecare Top 5: Smart Ways to Exercise in the Heat

Long summer days give us plenty of time to exercise outside after work (or before work, for you early risers). And those summer bike rides, trail runs and laps in the pool are extra healthy: Research shows that outdoor workouts can reduce stress and boost mood better than indoor ones. But physical activity in summer heat also has some risks, including overheating and dehydration. So while you’re out there working up a sweat, remember these tips for staying safe.

1. Drink early and often.
This one may seem obvious, but be sure to have plenty of water when you exercise outside. Dehydration does a lot more than make you thirsty: It can cause fatigue, crankiness and brain fog, and even lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Experts recommend 14 to 22 ounces of cold water two hours before you get started, and 6 to 12 ounces for every 20 minutes of exercise. Learn more about the importance of staying hydrated from Sharecare fitness expert Lisa Lynn.


Sharecare Top 5: Ways to Score at the Farmers’ Market

Craving ripe, red berries? How about sweet corn on the cob or juicy watermelon? You can find summer’s best produce at your local farmers’ market – and it’s often less expensive than fruits and veggies at the grocery store. Buying local can be healthier, too: The fresher the produce, the more nutrients it has. So seek out some farmers’ markets this summer – and keep these tips in mind to get the most bang for your buck and the best produce possible.

1. Know when to opt for organic.
Buying organic produce can be expensive, and to top it off, research shows it’s no more nutritious than regular produce. But many of the local farms that sell their produce at farmers’ markets use little, if any, pesticides – so you can reduce your exposure to chemicals without spending a ton of money. However, if you find both organic and non-organic options at the market, be sure to choose organic for the five foods mentioned in this video with nutritionist Kate Geagan, MS, RD.


Sharecare Top 5: Ways to Keep Dad Healthy on Father’s Day

Having trouble coming up with the perfect gift for Dad this Father’s Day? Instead of the usual necktie or bottle of cologne, try something different: the gift of good health. From lowering stress to boosting cardiovascular fitness, try these five ways to make the dad in your life healthier and his RealAge® younger – so you can keep him around for a long time.

1. Help him relax
Stress can spell trouble for his health. Too much of it can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar or even heart disease. This Father’s Day, help Dad de-stress. Spend an afternoon at the pool, schedule him a massage or plan a mini vacation. One study found that men who took at least one vacation each year were almost 30% less likely to die from a heart-related cause compared with men who didn’t. And make sure Dad sees this short video with Chinese medicine expert Janet Tsai to learn an easy trick to slash stress.


Sharecare Top 5: Natural Headache Remedies That Work

Whether it’s a dull ache or stabbing pain, a headache sends most people straight to the medicine cabinet. But pills aren’t the only solution to relieve headaches – or their more severe form, migraines, which often come with nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and sound. In support of Headache and Migraine Awareness month, we bring you five natural remedies that relieve headache pain — and may even prevent it in the first place.

1. Modify your diet.
Before grabbing that bottle of painkillers, try fighting headaches with your diet. Add more foods with magnesium, found in green veggies and whole grains, and riboflavin (vitamin B2), found in low-fat dairy and eggs. Try eliminating certain foods that, for many people, trigger migraines. And be sure your overall diet is healthy and balanced. Learn why that can keep a throbbing head at bay in this video with neurologist Emily Rubenstein-Engel, MD.


Sharecare Top 5: Foods Anyone Can Grow

You don’t have to head to the grocery store or farmer’s market for delicious, fresh produce this summer. Just make a trip to your backyard. Growing your own vegetables and herbs has its perks. Aside from saving you money, gardening can help you lose weight, lower your risk of heart attack and stroke and motivate your children to eat healthier. What’s even better: You don’t need a green thumb. Any gardening newbie can be successful with these five easy-to-grow foods.

1. Tomatoes
No store-bought tomato can compare to a perfectly ripe one plucked fresh from your garden. That could be why tomatoes are the most widely grown vegetables in American gardens. All they need is a little water and about six to eight hours of sun a day. You don’t even have to start with seeds. It’s easy to buy a starter plant from the store and add it to your garden. Tomatoes are most famous for their high content of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. Studies have found that tomatoes can protect against certain forms of cancer, heart disease and high cholesterol. Watch this video with Will Clower, PhD, to find out the best way to eat tomatoes to get the most health benefits.


Sharecare Top 5: Healthy Grilling Secrets for Your Next Cookout

Grilling season is here! But if you worry about the link between grilling and cancer – research shows that cooking meat at high temps produces cancer-causing substances – let us put your mind at ease. Experts say it’s okay to eat grilled meat sometimes, especially with cooking techniques that reduce carcinogens. So go ahead and plan a great Memorial Day (or any day) barbecue with these tips for healthier, safer grilling.

Marinate your meat
Not only does marinating infuse your food with flavor, it also helps reduce carcinogens, such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), that can form when you cook meat on the grill. Try marinating your beef, pork or chicken in a mix of lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and rosemary; studies show that compounds in rosemary block the formation of HCAs. Check out more tips for reducing those cancer-causing compounds from Sharecare expert and registered dietitian Samantha Heller.