Even if you couldn’t recognize a pine nut by itself, you’ve likely eaten one if you’ve ever had basil pesto, a traditional Italian sauce in which pine nuts are a staple ingredient. But that’s far from their only use. With nutty and earthy tones, pine nuts are great to snack on, cook with, or sprinkle on dishes to add texture and crunch.

So it’s clear they’re tasty. But are they good for you? We asked nutrition experts about pine nuts’ nutrients, health benefits, and more.

(Try: Jumbo Mushrooms with Camembert Cheese and Pine Nuts)

What are pine nuts?

It may come as a surprise, but despite their name, pine nuts aren’t part of the nut family. They are actually seeds that come from certain types of pine trees. Many of the pine nuts from Canada and the United States are harvested from wild trees in the pinyon pine group, such as Pinus edulis, or Colorado pinyon, and a few others.

When it comes to global production and export, however, most pine nuts come from the stone pine tree, Pinus pinea. If you plant a pine tree today, you can expect to wait 15 to 25 years before it produces these small seeds. This time frame is one reason for pine nuts’ hefty price tag.

(Related: Are Hazelnuts Healthy? Here’s What Nutritionists Say)

What do pine nuts look like?

The seeds are shaped like an oval or an elongated kernel and have an ivory or beige hue. Typically, they are harvested by hand, another reason they’re more expensive than other seeds. Usually the shell is removed before packaging. People eat pine nuts raw or roasted.

Pine nuts nutrition

“Pine nuts, specifically, are great sources of plant-based protein, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B, calcium and phosphorus,” says Uma Naidoo, MD, a nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, nutrition specialist, and the author of This is Your Brain on Food.

Here are the nutrients in 30 grams (about one ounce) of raw pine nuts:

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 21 g (27 percent daily value, or DV)
  • Cholesterol: 0 (0 percent DV)
  • Sodium: 0 (0 percent DV)
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g (1 percent DV)
  • Fibre: 1 g (4 percent DV)
  • Sugars: 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g (8 percent DV)
  • Calcium: 0 mg (0 percent DV)
  • Iron: 1.8 mg (10 percent DV)
  • Magnesium: 71.2 mg (17 percent DV)
  • Potassium: 169 mg (3 percent DV)
  • Phosphorus: 163 mg (13 percent DV)
  • Vitamin E: 2.64 mg (18 percent DV)

(Related: Are Walnuts Good for You? Their Calories, Nutrition, and Benefits)

Health benefits of pine nuts

Thanks to all of their health-promoting nutrients, pine nuts may have positive effects on your body. Keep in mind that just because the compounds below have been linked to health benefits doesn’t mean there’s proof pine nuts yield such benefits. More research is needed to determine whether pine nuts can directly affect your health, and how.

They might boost brain health

Pine nuts have antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that can minimize how unstable atoms, also known as free radicals, affect the body. “Antioxidants help lower levels of cellular stress in the brain and reduce inflammation, and [they] have been tied to a decreased risk of dementia and cognitive decline,” explains Dr. Naidoo. Of course, that doesn’t mean there’s evidence that pine nuts specifically can help your brain. Still, it doesn’t hurt to get antioxidants where you can, including from pine nuts.

They’re not the only compound in pine nuts that’s been linked to better brain health. An abundance of fatty acids, such as omega-3s, are another reason pine nuts might benefit your brain. “Omega-3s promote brain function and reduce inflammation and have been tied to improved mental health as well as an overall healthier brain,” explains Dr. Naidoo.

A study in Pharmacological Reviews found just that. The authors note that that omega-3 fatty acids were beneficial for overall brain health, helped with brain function, and lowered inflammation. But the link is far from confirmed, according to Danielle Gaffen, a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition consultant in San Diego. More research is needed to determine if pine nuts can contribute to cognitive functioning and brain health,” she says.

They may be good for the heart

Packed with minerals and healthy fats, these small seeds hold potential for the heart “Pine nuts are loaded with heart-healthy unsaturated fats—both poly and mono—which are important for heart health and general health, and numerous other health-promoting nutrients, including magnesium,” says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, an internist, board-certified physician nutrition specialist, and author of Spice Up, Live Long. She names magnesium as another health-promoting nutrient that can benefit heart function.

They may also be beneficial in terms of your cholesterol. “Like many other nuts, pine nuts have been shown to regulate cholesterol levels, even increasing levels of HDL cholesterol as well as preventing the buildup of plaque in blood vessels,” says Gaffen.

They might help manage blood sugar

Healthy fats and minerals such as magnesium may aid in maintaining blood sugar levels. “The unsaturated fat, especially in place of carbohydrates, can help improve blood sugar control, and magnesium helps the body respond better to insulin, which can also improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of diabetes,” says Dr. Jampolis.

Those aren’t the only nutrients that help maintain even blood sugar levels. “[Pine nuts] contain some fiber and plant protein, which helps reduce diabetes risk, as well as polyphenols that may help in blood sugar regulation and reduction of inflammation, which is often associated with diabetes and insulin resistance,” says Dr. Jampolis.

And don’t forget the sugar and carb content. “Pine nuts are generally low in sugar and contain good amounts of plant-based fats and protein, which reduces [the] potential for high blood sugar or blood sugar spikes that can lead to diabetes over time,” says Dr. Naidoo. That low carbohydrate content makes them a good snack or topping for people with diabetes too.

They could potentially improve skin

Pine nuts contain vitamin E, which is beneficial for many parts of the body, including the skin. “Vitamin E promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails,” says Dr. Naidoo. Of course, whether pine nuts can directly improve the skin is another matter—and needs to be studied.

Risks or side effects of eating pine nuts

They’re high in calories

There’s nothing wrong with a sprinkle of these seeds on salads or other dishes. Just keep in mind that pine nuts are high in calories. Dr. Jampolis suggests controlling portion size. “We can reap their nutrient benefit from just a handful or couple of tablespoons a day,” says Dr. Naidoo.

You could be allergic

People who are allergic to tree nuts or peanuts aren’t automatically allergic to pine nuts (after all, they’re not really a nut), but it’s possible they could be. Allergies to pine nuts are similar to tree nuts, and reactions can range from mind to severe, says Gaffen. Serious reactions can include anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction in which your airways can narrow, blocking your ability to breathe.

It’s advised to speak with your doctor before eating them. “If you have a peanut or tree nut allergy, it is best to be tested by a doctor for a pine nut allergy before deeming yourself safe,” says Dr. Naidoo.

They can cause a strange reaction

Although it’s uncommon, pine nuts may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. Eating pine nuts from time to time can cause some people to experience a bitter or metallic taste that lasts for a few days up to two weeks. “There is arare risk of something called pine mouth, or pine nut syndrome, in which people get a bitter taste in their mouth 12 to 48 hours after eating pine nuts that can last for weeks,” says  Dr. Jampolis. “This is not an allergy, and the cause is unknown.”

(Related: Are Brazil Nuts Good for You? Here’s What Nutritionists Say)

How to cook with pine nuts

With their light and delicate flavour, pine nuts are versatile and easy to eat. Gaffen suggests pairing them with sauces, pasta, breads and other baked goods, salads, and sautéed veggies such as green beans, spinach, or asparagus. “They can be eaten by themselves as a snack, mixed into a homemade nut/seed trail mix, or added to a salad or vegetable dish,” says Dr. Naidoo.

You can eat them just as they are, but you may want to consider toasting them in a pan to bring out the flavours. “Roasting them, especially with herbs or spices, is a delicious way to enjoy them as a topping for vegetables or salads,” says Dr. Jampolis, who suggests roasting with cinnamon or nutmeg to add as a topping to yogurt.

Directions:

  • Add the capers, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to a food processor or blender. Blend on high until well incorporated. Set aside.
  • Season the sea bass with salt and white pepper to taste.
  • In a nonstick pan, add a little olive oil. Heat on medium-high until the pan starts to smoke slightly.
  • Add the fish from front to back to avoid oil splash, and sear for three minutes, until golden brown. Flip the fish over and cook for another three to four minutes.
  • Make sure to cook the fish through. Glaze the top of the fish with pesto and serve.

Next: Are Macadamia Nuts Good for You?

I was bullied in elementary school.

My family and I moved from a town north of London, England to the Greater Toronto Area when I was 10. On my first day of school in Canada, I arrived wearing brand new sneakers my parents had bought from Walmart. Damn, did I feel good. But the cool, sporty girls, with their worn-in kicks, immediately eviscerated me for my fresh, white shoes. When I opened my mouth, my British accent only gave them more ammunition. The constant teasing became so incessant that I once pretended to be sick for six days in a row to avoid giving a speech in class. When I finally gave my presentation, I was laughed at.

Those memories are still painful.

My experiences created heavy insecurities about my accent. What I didn’t realize was how being judged for the way I spoke would prepare me for the changes that come with tongue cancer.

Before my diagnosis at 23, I felt like I had come into my own. I had good friends and a great boyfriend. I had completed university. I laughed loudly, smiled often and was ready to pursue a creative career. Then, I noticed a spot on my tongue that wouldn’t heal.

(Related: The Canadian Provinces with the Highest Rates of Cancer)

After a painful biopsy, my doctor confirmed I had tongue cancer. I was so shocked I just remember him saying, “Don’t go home and Google this.” He warned me that my cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma, wasn’t common for my age and carries a very high recurrence rate. (To this day, I have not Googled my cancer.)

Four weeks later, I went through extensive treatment. First, surgery to remove the cancer and rebuild my tongue using skin from under my left arm, then six weeks of daily radiation. It wasn’t possible to replicate the function of my tongue, but the surgeons recreated its shape. Having the ability to press your tongue to the roof of your mouth is key for both speaking and eating—both very important to me. It was terrifying.

Thankfully, the treatment worked. Things were OK for a few years, albeit an adjustment. Then the worst happened—another spot.

(Related: I Was Diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer at Age 34)

The doctors had to carefully remove the remainder of my tongue. They took skin from my left forearm and rebuilt again, as best they could. Though they couldn’t guarantee I would ever speak or eat normally again, I’m British and full of loud opinions, so there was no stopping me. It’s a challenge, but I consider myself lucky that I can still enjoy a hamburger and, more importantly, a glass of wine.

Tongue cancer changed how I sound, but it also gave me the confidence to pursue fashion seriously. It made me realize I needed to do what I wanted to do, because there was no guarantee I’d get another chance. After radiation, my then-boyfriend, now-husband, and I moved to Calgary and I landed a job as a wardrobe stylist at a small boutique.

After a few years of working for other people, albeit in amazing boutiques, and with incredible brands, I was beginning to feel a little stuck. If I’m being honest, my cancer recurrence gave me that same renewed strength to shake things up, to reach higher.

I took time off after Cancer #2, to recover, have two children, and figure out my next steps. It became clear that the only thing stopping me from taking that final leap into entrepreneurship was a lack of confidence.

(Related: The Best Beauty and Wellness Treatments for People with Cancer or in Remission)

As uncomfortable as it was, I knew where to find and build my clientele: Instagram. That meant pushing aside fears of being photographed, speaking about my journey, speaking on the phone or taking up space. Towards the end of 2019, I began leveraging my social media, posting styling advice with my particular brand of tough love. I want to offer my clients something I was never given: the knowledge and the confidence to express their personality.

Clients started calling, and they haven’t stopped and early in 2021, I was able to officially launch my own styling business. The more my following grows, the more I feel responsibility to these women, and to my own children, to be more than a pretty face on social media. I share the hard things to remind people that you never know what is happening behind a square on your phone.

Although my disability is relatively invisible, I still see my scars and a smile that isn’t mine. Every phone call is a hurdle and every menu item a potential choking hazard. I often get spoken to loudly, as if I have hearing issues, or slowly, as if I’m incapable of understanding. It says a lot about how we respond to differences we don’t understand.

My next hurdle with cancer treatment is an exciting one. After much discussion, I decided to crown every one of my teeth. Not only will it protect them from the damage radiation made them susceptible to, but it will give me a fancy new smile. There are complications associated with surgery—intubation and invasive dental work are more dangerous for head and neck cancer survivors—but it’s the right decision for me. It means that as the world adjusts to a new, post-pandemic normal, so will I—moving forward into a new phase of recovery, with one less physical reminder of the uphill climb.

Every challenge I’ve had with my self-confidence led me here. Imperfect? Sure. But I am showing the f-ck up anyway—and you can, too.

Next, read “Confidence Is Currency:” How to Crush Your Fear and Find Your Inner Strength.

Thirty-five percent of Canadian households have at least one dog. Yet one in 10 people suffers from dog-related allergies. Those numbers help explain the interest in hypoallergenic dogs—the idea that you can have a loyal furry friend that won’t trigger allergy symptoms. The key thing to remember is that hypoallergenic just means “less likely to provoke allergies”—not allergen-free. Hypoallergenic dog breeds tend to be pups that don’t shed as much as other breeds.

It is true that some dog breeds may be better than others for someone allergic or sensitive to dogs, which is good news for those who want to reap the health benefits of owning a dog. But there’s no such thing as an allergen-free dog: Here’s what you need to know about dog allergies and hypoallergenic dogs.

(Related: 5 Ways Your Pet Boosts Your Mental Health)

What are allergies?

Your immune system usually does a great job at spotting dangerous intruders and attacking them before they can start an infection. Allergies occur when someone’s immune system develops sensitivities to certain proteins in the environment that aren’t actually a problem—like pollen or dust. Allergic symptoms occur when the immune response overreacts to these benign substances.

Why do dogs cause allergies?

Many people mistakenly think that dog hair itself causes allergies. But it turns out dog hair is only the vehicle dog allergens stick to and travel on. “People with pet allergies have over-sensitive immune systems where they can react to proteins in the pet’s urine, saliva, or dander (dead skin cells),” says Melanie Carver, chief mission officer of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“It’s important to keep in mind that pet hair is not an allergen. It’s what collects in pet hair and comes off of animals,” she explains. “Your pets can also carry other allergens like dust and pollen in hair or fur.”

(Related: Can Allergies Make You Tired? 7 Things Allergists Need You to Know)

Pet allergens can be anywhere—and everywhere

The bad news for people allergic to dogs is that dog dander can be found almost everywhere. Dog and cat allergen proteins found in dander, saliva, and urine can even be found in homes or places where pets have never lived, according to Darryl Zeldin, MD, the scientific director of the National Institute of Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH/NIEHS). That is likely because pet allergens be carried from one environment to another on people’s clothing or other items such as bags, furniture, footwear, or suitcases.

Dander and other pet allergens can stick to nearly any household surface, where they often remain until you do intensive vacuuming or cleaning. And pet allergens stick around quite a long time. “These allergens hold onto their strength over long periods of time, up to several months,” Carver says. “They can also be easily stirred [up] when grooming pets, dusting, vacuuming, and doing other household chores and activities.” Once in the air, pet allergens can remain there for a long time given their small molecular size.

Experts explain that this small particle size also helps dog allergens get deep in people’s lungs, making them more likely to cause a respiratory response.

Symptoms of minor to moderate allergies

Although the immune system is attempting to destroy and clear foreign proteins, it can cause a series of symptoms.

Someone’s allergic response depends on the severity of their allergy and the amount of exposure. But common minor to moderate allergy symptoms include:

  • sneezing and runny nose
  • itchy nose and eyes
  • watering eyes
  • rashes and hives (patches of red, round, raised bumps that are very itchy)
  • minor cough
  • sore throat
  • bloating
  • stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • red, itchy skin where a dog licked or scratched the skin

If your allergy to dogs is fairly minor, you may not develop symptoms until after a few days of exposure to dog allergens. However, people with moderate dog allergies often develop symptoms much sooner after exposure, often within a matter of minutes.

(Related: If You Have Winter Allergies, Here’s Why and What Experts Recommend)

Symptoms of severe allergies

Most people only experience minor symptoms when exposed to allergens. But some can develop extreme reactions that can be life-threatening.

Signs of a serious allergy include:

  • skin swelling and pain
  • tongue swelling
  • swelling to the extent that the throat closes up
  • severe rash, especially on the neck, upper chest, and face
  • coughing or wheezing (making a whistling sound when breathing)
  • having a hard time breathing or catching your breath
  • a feeling of dread or impending doom
  • feeling faint or passing out

People with severe allergies typically develop symptoms within 15-30 minutes after exposure to dog allergens.

Seek medical attention if severe signs of allergies occur. Also, seek medical attention if any allergy symptoms do not improve when someone is no longer exposed to an allergen or responds to medications.

(Related: How a Pet Can Help You Master Mindfulness)

Are hypoallergenic dogs really hypoallergenic?

The consensus from experts is that there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog because all dogs release certain allergen proteins, specifically a protein known as Can f 1 (for Canis familiaris). Because the protein can be found in a dog’s saliva, urine, blood, or skin cells, even a hairless or furless dog cannot be hypoallergenic.

“More and more people are told they are buying or getting a ‘hypoallergenic’ animal,” says Richard F. Lockey, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Immunology at University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. He stresses that the dogs can still trigger a reaction. Hypoallergenic dogs have less hair or shed less frequently, reducing the chances of causing allergies in people with allergies.

“Breeds that are considered ‘hypoallergenic’ are breeds with hair coats that do not shed, or shed very little,” says Maggie Brown-Bury, MD, DVM, emergency and critical care veterinarian and Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Council representative. “Because they do not shed, the dander is not spread around the home the way it is with a pet that sheds a lot, and people in the home suffer [fewer] allergy symptoms.”

Best dog breeds for people with dog allergies, by size

Even though no dog breed is truly hypoallergenic, some breeds are more likely to a better fit for people with allergies than others based on their hair or shedding cycle. Some breeds also carry certain traits or characteristics that may make them better suited for some people, households, and lifestyles than others. The American Kennel Club (AKC) lists many hypoallergenic breeds. But it is important to keep in mind that smaller dogs tend to create fewer allergens given that they produce less hair and dander because of their size.

“Big dogs produce more dander and saliva,” says AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Jerry Klein, DVM. “Small dogs also tend to be faster to bathe and groom, two things that may reduce the [number] of allergens in the home”

But not everyone will match up with the vibe or energy of a small dog. Here are some breeds Dr. Klein recommends for people looking for dogs less likely to cause allergies with descriptions from the AKC:

(Related: How to Survive Allergy Season in Canada)

Small dogs

American Hairless Terrier

A hairless breed is a good consideration with families that want an active, trainable smaller dog. This breed is great at agility challenges.

Bedlington Terrier

With the looks of a lamb but the tenacity of a terrier, Bedlingtons require grooming to maintain their look, but they do not shed and are devoted family members.

Bichon Frise

Personable and energetic, but bichons do require grooming to maintain their crisp white coats.

Maltese

Tiny, delicate, and charming with a single white glamourous silky coat that requires maintenance to keep up their appearance.

Hairless Chinese Crested

Hairless varieties of Chinese Crested dogs only have hair on their tail, head, and ankles. That means they shed less hair than most breeds. Chinese Crested dogs are small, intelligent, and sensitive dogs with an ancient history.

Xoloitzcuintli

This beautiful hairless breed comes from Mexico in three different size variations.

Coton de Tulear

Small, white, and with a characteristic type of coat. Great personalities.

(Related: Should Your Dog Be Sleeping in Your Bed?)

Medium-sized dogs

Kerry Blue Terrier

This dog is an all-around Irish terrier of medium size with a wavy blue-gray coat. This breed is smart, people-oriented, and alert.

Lagotto Romagnolo

The famous “truffle” breed sniffs out truffles in their native Italy. Medium size, smart, and active with a wavy to curly coat.

Peruvian Inca Orchid (Hairless)

An ancient hairless breed that originated in Peru. This breed is affectionate, noble, and loyal.

Spanish Water Dog Rare

Curly-type hair, medium-sized, work-oriented, and upbeat versatile dog. Rare in America but gaining popularity.

(Related: 11 Cleaning Tips Every Dog or Cat Owner Should Know)

Large dogs

Afghan Hound

These hounds are elegant and dignified with long flowing hair that requires much grooming but does not shed very much. They are also known for their loyalty, affection for their humans, and sensitivity.

Irish Water Spaniel

An Irish sporting water dog with a shorter brown curly coat. Energetic and clownish, playful, hardworking, and brace.”Ideal for a sporting active family,” says

Poodle

A versatile, intelligent solid-colored dog that comes in three varieties: toy, miniature, and standard. Many that have searched for certain “hybrid” breeds should consider the original. Other mixed breeds are not likely to be quite as hypoallergenic as pure breeds.

Portuguese Water Dog

Related to poodles, this water dog is a versatile, active dog owned by the Obama family. The breed comes in different colors and combinations.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

The versatile, medium golden terrier is a great family dog. This breed is active, friendly, deeply devoted to its humans, and athletic.

Barbet

New to America, this friendly and sweet-natured bred is currently rare but adorable.

(Related: 14 Reasons You Should Consider Adopting an Older Dog)

Tips for managing dog allergies

The best way to manage dog allergy symptoms is to stop them from developing. That means the only real way to prevent dog allergy symptoms is to not be around dogs, have them in the home, or visit homes or other environments where dogs are or live. If someone avoids contact with dogs, they may not need to take management medications. But many people, especially those with severe allergies, may need to be preventatively treated all the time because it is nearly impossible to control exposure to dog allergens given how prevalent they are in the environment.

According to Dr. Zeldin, many people are able to control their allergy symptoms using antihistamines that are available over-the-counter. If they have complicating conditions, such as asthma, they may also require inhaled medications such as steroid inhalers. People with dog allergies who still want pets can consider adopting or rescuing an animal they are not allergic to. This may mean choosing a pet without hair or dander, such as fish or reptiles.

Always make sure to always choose animals sourced from a known, legal origin and species that are not illegal, taken from the wild, or endangered.

(Related: 4 Times in Your Life You Should Definitely Be Using an Air Purifier)

Tips for dog owners with dog allergies

It’s upsetting for dogs and their human families if they have to find new homes because people are allergic to them. But you might only discover you’re allergic to dogs after the pet has already established itself in your life. Beyond that, dog allergens can persist in the environment for a long time, even once a dog is long gone. And it is nearly impossible to avoid dog allergens.

“Once the animal is eliminated from the home it can take up to five or six months before the animal allergens decrease to a level where they won’t trigger allergic symptoms in a cat or dog allergic subject,” Dr. Lockey says. With this in mind, there are some ways people with dog allergies can try to reduce their symptoms if they decide to keep their dog.

Common tips include:

  • Keep pets out of bedrooms or places someone spends a lot of time (offices, living rooms, etc.) and keep doors or entryways to these areas closed off.
  • Clean areas someone spends a lot of time rigorously and frequently.
  • Use HEPA air-cleaning devices, pet-friendly air purifiers, or those with electrostatic filters in bedrooms.
  • Try to avoid carpeted floors or choose low pile options and steam clean them regularly.
  • If floor coverings are needed chose to throw mats or rugs that can easily be washed in warm water.
  • Try to keep surfaces and floors bare to make them easier to clean and less likely to hold dander and other pet allergens.
  • Remove or aggressively clean pet’s favorite furniture, bedding, cloth toys, etc. that can hold onto allergens.
  • Wear a dust mask while cleaning areas with pet allergens.
  • Vacuum with a certified asthma & allergy friendly filter.
  • Brush or groom dogs outdoors and clean crates, cages, or litter boxes outdoors.
  • Cover bedroom vents with a dense material such as cheesecloth that can block out allergens spread by forced-air systems or air-conditioners.
  • Clean your hands frequently and well after being around pets and do not touch the eyes or nose after being around or touching pets.
  • Change clothing or footwear after being around pets or places they spend a lot of time.

Next, here are 4 reasons pets are good for your health.

You know the drill: You have to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that’s water-resistant with an SPF of at least 30. After that, though, there’s a whole wide world of choice out there—so we rounded up some quality picks to keep you protected…and provide a little relief should any elbows or ears escape your notice.

(Related: The Best Mineral Sunscreen to Reflect the Sun’s Harsh Rays)

Before you head outside

There are a million facial sunscreens around, but Supergoop! Play Everyday Lotion (from $29, sephora.ca) distinguishes itself with its SPF 50, super mild scent and totally nongreasy texture. (It also rubs in easily, but Supergoop! does make an SPF 40 Unseen Sunscreen that’s completely clear on darker skin tones.) Then tackle your body with a liberal application of Coppertone Sport ($14, well.ca), which is a classic for a reason: It’s reasonably priced, readily available and absorbs quickly into your skin and then stays put even if you break a sweat (from exercise or otherwise).

While you’re in the sun

A sunscreen spray makes for easy top-ups, and Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Body Mist ($15, loblaws.ca) works at any angle, meaning it’s considerably easier for solo sunners to reach their own backs. On the other (sweaty, slippery) hand, Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion ($49, shop.shopperdrugmart.ca) claims it actually works better when exposed to water, heat and perspiration—something about negative ions in the formula combining with positive ions in sweat or water to form additional protection. We’re not entirely sure about that, but we do know it goes on light and dries to become invisible.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen ($15, amazon.ca) doesn’t have any chemicals, fragrances, irritants or oxybenzone, the common sunscreen ingredient shown to be damaging to coral reefs. What it does have, however, is very smart packaging: The plastic has been injected with a dye that’s sensitive to UV light, causing the tube cap to turn blue to remind you to reapply. And when you do, it’s worth reaching for Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick ($13, well.ca), as well—the easy-to-apply solid stick is a great choice for sneaky spots like your scalp, especially the part in your hair.

(Related: 4 Must-Know SPF Tips to Protect Your Skin This Summer)

After mistakes have been made

It can happen to the best of us. A patch of skin—or, okay, an entire right arm—somehow manages to escape rigorous reapplication. Vichy Idéal Soleil After Sun Balm ($27, vichy.ca) is packed with willow herb, a plant extract known for its soothing effects, and does wonders to prevent peeling and heal burns. And even if you haven’t scorched yourself, a day in the sun can be mighty drying to skin. Coola’s Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion ($56, well.ca) boasts aloe vera—that post-sunshine staple—and sunflower oil, which is high in antioxidants, to restore moisture to parched skin. Let it chill in the fridge beforehand for maximum refreshment.

Next: 8 Simple Tricks to Better Protect Yourself From the Sun

Typically, 23-year-old Torontonian Abbie Moser’s periods are light and painless. But, after receiving her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on day three of her period, her usually light flow became heavier and she experienced the worst cramps of her life. Her period even lasted a couple days longer than normal.

“I don’t normally get heavy cramps or anything, I don’t need to take Advil to subdue my period symptoms either,” she says. “But I had to take Advil multiple times a day every day until [my period] was done because the cramps were so bad. I could hardly do anything.”

Moser isn’t alone. Since COVID-19 vaccines started getting administered around the world, numerous social media users have posted about menstrual cycle changes, which people speculate are linked to the vaccines.

Commonly reported COVID-19 vaccine side effects include a sore arm, itching or redness at the injection site, headache and fever. But could menstrual changes also make the list? We spoke to Dr. Cora Constantinescu, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, about what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines and your period.

(Related: Moderna vs. Pfizer: Why We’re Not Playing Favourites with COVID-19 Vaccines)

So, is there a link between the COVID-19 vaccines and menstrual cycles?

In short, we don’t really know. “It’s not something that’s studied in vaccines,” says Constantinescu. “[Menstrual changes weren’t] part of the initial trials. It isn’t even one of the side effects that people tend to think about.”

That said, there is a “biological plausibility” that periods are affected by COVID vaccines, says Constantinescu. Menstrual cycles can be affected by lots of things like stress, rigorous exercise and medication, just to name a few. So, it’s possible that getting vaccinated could affect your period in the short term. But—and Constantinescu stresses this point—any COVID vaccine-related changes to your period will be temporary.

“There is no biological possibility that this is going to be a long-term thing,” she says.

(Related: What Is Period Flu? Here’s What You Should Know)

Then what’s going on with people who are having weird periods?

Since changes in menstrual cycles and vaccines hasn’t been studied, there’s no way to definitively say exactly what’s going on. But, with the number of people sharing similar stories, Constantinescu says, “there’s probably something to it.”

One possibility is that menstrual cycles are being thrown off because of stress. In Ontario, for example, snagging a vaccine appointment has meant waiting anxiously on the phone, in a virtual queue or in an hours-long line at a pop-up clinic. One article published by the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research notes a striking similarity between the post-vaccine anecdotes coming out now and a study that highlighted health issues in individuals who had been tear gassed by police at Black Lives Matters demonstrations in Portland last summer — a major issue being period changes. The article suggests that acute stress (leading to an increase release of stress hormones) is behind the weird periods in both scenarios.

It’s also possible that these abnormal periods have to do with your immune system, says Constantinescu. Immune cells play a role in building up and breaking down of the uterus lining (which thickens during ovulation and sheds in the form of a period if the egg isn’t fertilized). So, in theory, since the vaccine is meant to induce an immune response in your body, this immune response could have a short-term impact on the menstrual cycle.

Another possibility is that we’re just bad at knowing what a “normal” period is. “What some people think are heavy periods, when they quantify it, it’s shocking how different the perception was versus the quantification,” says Constantinescu. Because people are already on the lookout for side effects and are likely more aware of their body than usual after being immunized, they might be noticing changes that may or may not be caused by the shot. But, again, we won’t know unless studies are done, especially since this is such a “notoriously subjective area,” according to Constantinescu.

(Related: Get the Vaccine, Drop the Guilt)

Will this affect my fertility?

The good news is that there is absolutely no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines (regardless of the brand you receive) affects your fertility. Plus, any COVID-19 vaccine related changes to your menstrual cycle are likely short-term. “I don’t think there’s anything long-term here that people need to worry about,” Constantinescu says.

(Related: Here’s What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines and Infertility)

What can I do if I think my period’s been affected by the COVID vaccine?

For starters, don’t panic. Again, menstrual cycles get messed up all the time for a variety of normal reasons. But, if you do feel like you’re having a reaction to the vaccine that’s out of the ordinary, Constantinescu urges you to speak with your doctor and report it.

When people report adverse reactions to vaccines, it creates something called a “signal,” which indicates how many people have reported a problem and prompts Health Canada to review the data, explains Constantinescu. “If you think it’s happening to you, report it because how else are we going to learn.”

I’m scared I’ll have horrible cramps if I get vaccinated! What can I do?

It’s totally normal to worry about how and if the COVID-19 vaccine will affect you. But, ultimately, the benefits of being vaccinated far outweigh the side effects.

If you’re worried about having a painful period or heavier flow after getting vaccinated, set yourself up with all the essentials. This might be as simple as stocking up on menstrual products or making sure your over-the-counter painkillers are ready to go.

“You know your body well, and if there’s something you can do to mitigate these potential side effects, go for it,” says Constantinescu. “There’s no doubt in my mind that you should get the vaccine, but that doesn’t mean [these concerns] aren’t real. It just means asking yourself ‘how can I mitigate them and make myself comfortable’.”

Next, this is how to talk to your vaccine-hesitant loved ones about the shot

A runny nose, watery eyes, and a persistent cough are what you expect when allergies flare. But constant fatigue and sleepiness? Allergy experts say it’s more common than you think.

“Feeling congested, itchy, and uncomfortable can certainly be a nuisance when it comes to falling asleep and getting deep sleep,” says Sujay Kansagra, MD, an associate professor at Duke University Medical Center who specializes in sleep disorders. Other factors related to allergies can also come into play, he says, creating chemical and physical reactions that lead to chronic fatigue.

Left untreated, problems from a lack of sleep can be more disruptive than the allergy itself. Here’s what experts want you to know about the connection between allergies and sleep.

(Related: If You Have Winter Allergies, Here’s Why and What Experts Recommend)

What causes allergic reactions?

About 50 million people in the United States have allergies. That’s about one in every seven people, according to the American College of Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology. People are generally born with sensitivity to substances, handed down by their parents. However, some people develop allergies over time. Common allergens include pollen, mold, pet dander, or foods, which trigger an allergic reaction.

When people with allergies inhale or ingest these allergens, the body’s defense system kicks into overdrive. The immune system unleashes a flood of antibodies—immunoglobulin E (IgE)—to fight off the perceived enemy. “The [problem] is the allergen is not an infection that requires fighting, but an irritant that should be ignored,” explains James R. Haden, MD, president of the Asthma and Allergy Clinic of Fort Worth, Texas.

For someone with allergies, the immune system views a harmless speck of pollen the same as a deadly spore of botulism. The rush of antibodies unlocks histamines in the cells, which spring into action to rid the body of the allergens. Think of histamines as the chemical “security guards” in your bloodstream, quickly ushering out the threats. It’s this chemical storm of histamines that leads to coughing, sneezing, hives, rashes, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat—all signs of an allergic reaction.

(Related: Should Your Dog Be Sleeping in Your Bed?)

Do allergic reactions make people tired?

All immune responses require energy, says Dr. Haden, especially responses to actual infections and threats against the body. “But in the case of an allergic response, this energy is wasted in an unnecessary endeavor against an allergen incorrectly identified as a threat,” he explains.

The constant release of histamines and other chemicals aimed at fighting off the allergens wears the body down, leading to persistent fatigue.

Whether it’s pollen or bee stings, the source of the allergen is all equally likely to cause fatigue. “People are allergic to different things, so that means that people will have different primary causes for their allergen-induced fatigue,” says Dr. Haden, who serves on the staff for 10 Texas-based hospitals. He says allergy-related fatigue may vary in intensity throughout the year, especially for those who have seasonal allergies, like pollen and ragweed.

Why can’t I just catch up on sleep at night?

It’s not that you can’t sleep, it’s that allergies can cause both insomnia and very fragmented sleep, explains Dr. Kansagra, who serves as the director of Duke’s Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program. The inability to fall asleep, or period waking, is due mainly to irritation and discomfort. “Allergies may cause mucous buildup, and swelling and inflammation in the airway that can lead to sleep apnea, which is intermittent blockages in your airway while you sleep,” said Dr. Kansagra. “This leads to low quality of sleep.”

Remember, when allergies are triggered, your body is waging war against the allergens.

A meta-analysis in the Public Library of Science looked at the association between allergic rhinitis (seasonal allergies) and sleep. Researchers found that those with allergies reported higher incidents of “nocturnal dysfunctions,” including insomnia, restless sleep, sleep-disordered breathing, and snoring. The same research also found the nighttime issues led to “daytime dysfunction,” including difficulty waking up, daytime sleepiness, morning headache, and the use of sleep medications.

Even if you can’t remember waking up from your allergy symptoms during the night, you probably did, says Dr. Haden. “Even getting the recommended eight hours of sleep doesn’t mean that those were eight quality hours of deep sleep,” he adds.

(Related: 16 Tricks to Prevent Spring Allergies From Taking Over Your Life)

What are the dangers of sleep deprivation?

If your allergy-related fatigue is unresolved, the potential for negative outcomes rise, Dr. Kansagra warns. “Being tired affects all parts of your well-being, including your attention, mood, safety while driving, and many others,” he adds. Over a long period of time, brain function begins to diminish, along with immune function, cardiovascular health, and glucose tolerance.

“If you are sniffling, sneezing, coughing, itching, and draining all day from allergies, that in itself is fatiguing,” Dr. Haden says.

The fatigue carries into the daylight hours when you often need to be focused and productive. This is called “brain fog” which is the inability to concentrate experienced by many allergy sufferers. Routine tasks take more energy to complete because of the mental effort required to overcome fatigue.

“If allergies have gotten severe enough to have a prominent impact on your quality of life, it is time to speak with your doctor,” advises Dr. Kansagra.

Could my allergy medication be part of the problem?

Prescription medications can cause fatigue, but when used properly and managed well, they can help allergy sufferers battle through.

“The best treatment outcomes are always when the patient and physician work together to tailor a treatment plan to a particular patient’s allergies, lifestyle, and needs,” explains Dr. Haden.

Mississippi-based pharmacist Lori Elliott says to use caution when combining allergy medications with other prescription products that can cause drowsiness, including those for pain, anxiety, depression, and blood pressure. “People should take these medications at night,” says Elliott, who currently works as a pharmacist in Oxford and has worked as a pharmacist in Georgia and Mississippi for more than 30 years. “If drowsiness continues to affect quality of life, I recommend contacting your prescriber for a reduction in dose or a change in therapy.”

(Related: The Worst Canadian Cities for Allergies)

Are over-the-counter medications effective for allergies?

Yes, says Elliott. Allergy-targeted medications contain antihistamines to help reduce or block the histamines which cause your runny nose or itchy, watery eyes. They can, however, also add to your sleepiness. “The older, first-generation antihistamines, diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) often cause sedation as a side effect,” Elliott says.

If you’re looking for relief without fatigue, she recommends newer medications that are less likely to cause drowsiness. These include cetirizine (Zyrtec), fexofenadine (Allegra), or loratadine (Claritin) that you take daily throughout the allergy season. Over-the-counter steroid nose sprays, like fluticasone (Flonase) or budesonide (Rhinocort), can also help your nasal symptoms.

Dr. Kansagra says people with persistent symptoms should not rely completely on over-the-counter medications. “They may not be 100 percent effective,” he advises. “There are a variety of alternatives to over-the-counter allergy medications that your doctor can consider, including a referral to an allergy specialist.”

And just because it’s approved for sale, does not mean it’s risk-free. Dr. Haden points to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found the ingredient in Benadryl caused more driving impairment than alcohol. That’s another reason to take sleep-inducing medications only at night before going to bed, says Elliott.

Is there a medication alternative?

Dr. Haden says immunotherapy is the best option to break long-term dependence on medications. The process involves giving gradually increasing doses of the allergen, either by shots or pills under the tongue, to “train” the immune system to become less sensitive. “Immunotherapy provides the opportunity to have a lasting true reduction in being allergic,” says Dr. Haden. “It is the most natural and targeted treatment option with the fewest side effects.”

Good candidates for immunotherapy have side effects from allergy medication, or don’t want to constantly take medicine. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), allergy shots work best for environmental allergens such as pollen and dust mites. “Sublingual immunotherapy” is most effective for nasal allergies, such as dust mites and ragweed.

Neither method is approved for food allergies, although research is currently underway, according to the AAFA.

The bottom line is allergic reactions have been around for about as long as people have been around. The body’s natural defense against harm, the immune system, developed over the thousands of years of human existence (and survival): A study in Frontiers in Microbiology suggests the first allergies may be to parasites, to signal our ancestors not to eat rotten food.

Next, this is how to tell if you have a cold or allergies.

In traditional Chinese medicine, pressure points are believed to be spots on the body that can offer health benefits. It’s the idea that applying pressure to these points can help soothe stress, relieve pain, and even help you sleep.

(Related: Is Cosmetic Acupuncture Actually “Natural Botox”?)

Here are three pressure points to try:

For Stress, Try: The Palm

Make a loose fist. Press on the spot just below where your pinky touches your palm for five deep breaths.

For Sleep, Try: The Inner Wrist

With your palm facing up, place two fingers on your wrist, directly below your pinky finger. Apply pressure for five deep breaths.

For Headaches, Try: The Hand Valley

With your palm facing down, find the firm skin between your thumb and pointer finger. Apply pressure or massage the spot in small circles.

Next: Should You Try Amazon’s Popular Acupressure Mat?

Browse supermarket shelves for milk products, and you’ll see a lot more than the stuff from a cow. Not only are there enduring plant-based favourites like soy and almond milks, but new plant milks are cropping up all the time. One you may not have heard of: hemp milk.

It’s just one more option in a lineup of nondairy milks that includes coconut milk, oat milk, and rice milk. Like the others, it’s a good plant-based alternative for your coffee, tea, or morning bowl of cereal. With nutty and earthy tones, hemp milk adds a hint of flavour to whatever you’re drinking or eating. “Hemp milk tastes delicious in coffee, tea, hot chocolate, smoothies, and oatmeal,” says Michelle Routhenstein, a cardiology dietitian and owner of Entirely Nourished in New York City.

There are so many nondairy milk options to choose from these days that it can be hard to decide among them. To help you weigh your options, we’ve reached out to nutrition experts, who explain hemp milk’s health benefits and how to use it.

What is hemp milk?

Hemp milk is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, also known as Cannabis sativa. A blend of water and seeds creates a creamy texture and consistency. And we know what you’re thinking: Hey, doesn’t marijuana come from that plant? If that can get you high, can hemp milk? The answer is no. The hemp plant is a cousin of the Cannabis sativa plant known as marijuana, and it can only be legally grown if it contains no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that can get you high.

Although the plant’s leaves have minuscule amounts of THC, the seeds don’t naturally contain it at all. Drinking hemp milk won’t cause or produce the effects that marijuana can. So, no, people don’t drink hemp milk to get high. They drink it for its nutrition benefits. “Hemp milk is nutrient-dense and rich in plant proteins and healthy fats,” says registered dietitian Rachel Naar, a nutrition consultant in New York.

(Related: Hemp Hearts vs. Hemp Seeds: What’s the Difference?)

Hemp milk nutrition

There are a lot of reasons people might forego cow’s milk and choose a plant-based alternative instead. Vegans and vegetarians, in particular, rely on nondairy alternatives. But even people who make a habit of drinking dairy can appreciate the nutrition profile of hemp milk. “Hemp milk is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium,” says Danielle Gaffen, a registered dietitian nutritionist based in California.

Our bodies need magnesium for various biochemical reactions, such as energy production and membrane transport, explains Gaffen. There are plenty of vitamins and minerals in hemp milk, and some brands may fortify it with additional minerals, upping its health factor.

Nutrition facts

Here are the nutritional benefits and percentages of recommended daily value (DV) for one cup (eight ounces) of hemp milk:

  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 4.5 g (6 percent DV)
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg (0 percent DV)
  • Sodium: 110 mg (4 percent DV)
  • Carbohydrate: 0 g (0 percent DV)
  • Protein: 3 g (6 percent DV)
  • Calcium: 283 mg (20 percent DV)
  • Iron: 1.99 mg (10 percent DV)
  • Phosphorous: 317 mg (25 percent DV)
  • Potassium: 101 mg (2 percent DV)
  • Zinc: 1 mg (10 percent DV)

Hemp milk benefits

Hemp seeds are full of nutritional benefits. However, there haven’t been many studies conducted on hemp milk, so it’s not clear whether the beverage can actually improve your health. “While these foods have properties that may contribute to healthy skin and/or a healthy heart, more research is needed before making definitive conclusions about hemp milk for these conditions,” says Gaffen.

Its fatty acids help lower inflammation

Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, play critical roles in the the body, including in lowering inflammation. The downside: the body doesn’t produce them naturally, so we need to get them from food or supplements.

“Hemp milk contains a three-to-one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids,” says Gaffen. But the fatty acid profile isn’t the only reason hemp milk is considered an anti-inflammatory food. Hemp seeds contain important amino acids, such as arginine, which Routhenstein says can help lower inflammation in the body.

(Related: What You Need to Know About CBD and Inflammation)

The fatty acids boost heart health

Hemp seeds and hemp milk can be beneficial for your ticker. “Recent studies, mostly in animals, suggest that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seed can improve cardiovascular health,” says Naar. Inflammation can cause problems for the heart, arteries, and circulatory system. “When an individual has chronic inflammation in their blood vessels, it leads to a buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits in their arteries that causes narrowing of the arteries and increases their risk of heart attacks,” she says.

Anti-inflammatory properties in hemp seeds can aid the heart. Adding therapeutic anti-inflammatory components to your diet, like hemp seeds, can assist with keeping your heart healthy, says Routhenstein. But she’s quick to point out that incorporating one type of food or drink into your diet isn’t a cure-all. “Hemp milk can be a component to a heart-healthy diet, but it is not a cure or a magic pill,” says Routhenstein.

Hemp seeds are a complete protein

Amino acids are known as the building blocks of proteins and are fundamental for the body. Although there are 20 types of amino acids, nine are considered essential. Any food that contains all nine essential amino acids is considered a complete protein.

Most sources of complete protein come from animals, which makes getting enough complete protein tricky for anyone following a vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based diet. That’s why it’s such good news that hemp can fill in protein gaps. “The protein found in hemp is a complete protein, one of the few plant-based proteins that are complete,” says Gaffen.

It’s a good choice for people with allergies

While other milks can pose issues for people with certain food allergies, pretty much anyone can enjoy hemp milk. “Hemp milk is a great alternative for those with gluten, nut, and soy allergies,” says Gaffen.

It’s an alternative for people who can’t have dairy

If you are lactose intolerant, allergic to cow’s milk, or follow a diet that limits animal products, hemp milk can be a wonderful substitute.

The downside of hemp milk

While hemp milk is generally safe, there are some nutritional downsides to consider.

It has less protein than dairy milk

In head-to-head comparison with cow’s milk, hemp milk comes up short. Though it’s a source of complete protein, it doesn’t have a ton of it. “Hemp milk is great to add to your diet, but it does not contain adequate protein, so it shouldn’t be used as a comparable protein substitute for cow’s milk,” says Routhenstein. Not only is it low in protein, but it’s also low in minerals and vitamins that dairy milk has. “Hemp milk lacks certain nutrients that other milks have, such as calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12,” says Gaffen. “However, it is getting more common to find fortified hemp milk in stores.”

The bottom line: it’s a great alternative if you’re unable to drink cow’s milk, but don’t expect quite the nutritional punch. Check the label to see if it’s fortified with the nutrients that are important to you.

(Related: What Is Plant-Based Protein and How to Add More to Your Diet)

It might contain additives

When choosing different brands of hemp milk, it’s also a good idea to read the label so you know what other things you’re drinking. Not all plant-based milks are made the same way, and some may have additional (and unwanted) ingredients, such as added sugar, thickeners, and preservatives.

“Some hemp milks contain phosphorus additives, like disodium phosphate, and thickeners, like carrageenan, that may promote inflammation,” says Routhenstein. “Opt for versions that do not contain these ingredients for a heart-healthier version.”

How to use hemp milk

Drinking hemp milk or pouring it into beverages is a no-brainer. Just use it like dairy milk in coffee, tea, and smoothies. If you want to go beyond beverages, you’re in luck. Hemp milk can be used as cow’s milk substitute in recipes. Thanks to its nutty flavour, it pairs well with different meals. “I recommend trying hemp milk in savoury dishes, as its taste may be too strong for desserts or sweet dishes,” says Gaffen.

Consider adding it to curries or as a soup topper for a creamy finishing taste, says Routhenstein. “I love adding hemp milk to rolled oats with a scoop of protein powder, bananas, blueberries, and crushed walnuts for a nutty, creamy bowl of breakfast goodness,” she says.

Curious about using hemp milk? Try Gaffen’s delicious hemp milk latte recipe, below.

golden turmeric latte

Golden hemp milk latte

Serves: 1
Time: 7 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hemp milk
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Bring the hemp milk to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer.
  2. Add in the maple syrup, spices, and vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk until the spices are well incorporated.
  4. Serve immediately.

Next: Want to Add Hemp Seeds to Your Diet? Here’s What You Need to Know

The pandemic has messed our bodies up in all sorts of (strange) ways. Below is a partial list of pandemic problems and how to fix ’em.

(Related: 4 Ways the Pandemic Has Taken a Toll on Our Bodies)

Gluteal amnesia

Doctors could also refer to this condition as gluteus medius tendinosis, or they might call it by its far more memorable name—dead butt syndrome.

What happened

Sitting at a desk for far too long causes the muscles in your butt to weaken, so they no longer stabilize your hips and pelvis.

What to do

Moving your butt (so it remembers its function!) helps a bunch. So does doing 15 to 20 glute bridges, a popular yoga pose.

(Related: How to Treat the Most Common Aches and Pains Caused by Pandemic Life)

Quarantine constipation

You might be pooping less frequently, pooping less…voluminously or pooping with more effort.

What happened

Persistent stress, poor sleep, lack of exercise and changes in eating—aka the stay-at-home special—disrupts your colon, while excess sitting compresses your abdomen and jams up your digestive system.

What to do

Drink plenty of water and stock up on high-fibre foods like avocados, leafy greens, whole grains and beans. Also, get up and move every day.

(Related: Why Staying at Home Causes Constipation—and How to Get Relief)

Plantar fasciitis

It’s a painful irritation of your plantar fascia, the tissue that connects your heel to your toes along the bottom of your foot.

What happened

A hugely common running injury, plantar fasciitis can also result from walking around barefoot or in socks, which puts more stress on your arches, tendons and ligaments.

What to do

Even if you’re at home, slip on your shoes for at least a portion of the day—they’ll provide arch support and a solid base to help your feet work less hard.

Next, this is what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines and fertility

I don’t want to knock oatmeal—it’s filling and healthy—but I’m not the biggest fan of mushy porridge for breakfast. I make it ’cause it’s quick, but with a little planning, you can bake that oatmeal with peanut butter into a bar dolloped with your fave jam…now we’re talking. These are just the right amount of soft and chewy, and make another great grab ’n’ go brekky.

(Also, check out our other recipes for breakfast bites, balls, and bars.)

Baked Peanut Butter & Jam Oat Bars

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon golden flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour (can substitute arrowroot flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup natural crunchy or smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup favourite jam

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper by cutting two strips both 8 inches wide and crossing them in the pan to create clean edges. Trim the excess overhang, if needed.
  2. Combine the flax meal and water, and set aside to thicken, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, all-purpose flour, coconut sugar, tapioca flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
  4. In a large liquid measuring cup or another mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, nondairy milk, and vanilla with the thickened flax meal mixture until smooth. Add this to the mixing bowl of dry ingredients and fold together until fully combined.
  5. Spread the mixture evenly into the baking pan all the way to the edges. Take a dough cutter or knife and lightly score or mark every 2 inches across in each direction, creating the indented lines for 16 square bars. Do not cut through the pan of oat bars at this stage.
  6. Dollop about 1⁄2 teaspoon of jam on top of each square and gently press it with the back of the teaspoon into the top of each bar.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the bars look soft and raised. Cool in the baking pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes before lifting out by the parchment paper edges and placing onto the wire rack. Slice bars where you made the scores.
  8. Cool completely before storing leftovers in the fridge. You can warm slightly in the microwave for 30 seconds before eating. Consume within 7 days.

Hot Tip: If you don’t require these to be gluten-free, then you can use rolled oats that aren’t specifically labelled as such, and you can substitute 1¼ cups of all-purpose flour for the GF and tapioca flours.

Excerpted from Hot for Food All Day by Lauren Toyota. Copyright © 2021 by Lauren Toyota. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Next, try Lauren Toyota’s recipe for vegan pasta, which unexpectedly features Brussels sprouts.