Facts About Flax Seeds You Might Not Already Know

If you’re trying to improve your health and maintain a healthy diet, you may want to start incorporating flax seeds into your meals. These tiny seeds are said to be great for digestion and vascular health, and they may even help to prevent certain types of cancers. Here are just a few fun facts about flax seeds that you might not know.

  1. Flaxseeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than any other foods in the world. These acids remain stable for up to three hours in the oven, which means that you can bake flaxseeds into breads and muffins without losing the omega-3s.
  2. Flaxseeds have the highest amount of lignans of any other food. Lignans are fiber-related polyphenols that offer benefits similar to antioxidants and fibers, and they are beneficial to all humans.
  3. Flaxseeds provide support to the intestinal tract through their mucilage, or “gum” content. This water-soluble gel improves nutrient absorption into the small intestine.
  4. Flaxseeds are proven to reduce metabolic syndrome. Studies show that people who eat 30 grams of flaxseeds each day had a 20% decrease in metabolic syndrome over a 12-week period.
  5. By eating more flaxseeds, you can improve your cardiovascular system. These powerful seeds help prevent excessive inflammation in the blood vessels, keeping your blood pumping and keeping the body safe from diseases.

Flaxseeds [Vegetarian]
What's New and Beneficial About Flaxseeds [The World’s Healthiest Foods]
Flax for Consumers [Ameriflax]

What’s In Season? Your Guide to Spring Produce

Spring is a bountiful time of the year when it comes to fresh produce, but it always helps to know exactly what’s in season. If you want to purchase only the freshest, most flavorful fruits and veggies and ensure that they last as long as possible in your fridge, use these helpful tips for understanding spring produce.

  1. Artichokes. Whether you use them on pizzas or add them to your salads, artichokes are a great way to add flavor and nutrients to your meals. Their main harvest takes place during the springtime, so look for artichokes with close, compact leaves and clean-cut stems.
  2. Asparagus. This popular veggie is found in a number of high-end restaurants, but you can easily prepare it at home if you purchase it fresh in the springtime. The thickness doesn’t necessarily indicate tenderness, so don’t overlook thinner or thicker spears at your grocery store.
  3. Carrots. While carrots are commonly found in grocery stores year-round, they taste best during the spring season. Only purchase bundles that are firm to the touch for maximum freshness.
  4. Leafy greens. Nutrient-rich veggies like chard, kale, and other cooking greens tend to turn bitter during hot summer months, so purchase them in the spring for the best taste.
  5. Fennel. If you’ve never cooked with fennel, experiment with this green (a relative of celery) when it comes into season during the warmer springtime.
  6. Grapefruit. Create a nutritious breakfast by adding grapefruit, which starts to become plump and juicy in January.

Spring Produce: Your Guide to Picking the Best [Greatist]
What’s in Season? Spring [Fruits and Veggies More Matters]
Fresh Spring Fruits and Vegetables [About Food]

Tackle Spring Cleaning With These Helpful Tips

The change from winter to spring is typically accompanied by a desire to have a bright, clean home. You're tired of the dingy, cold effects of winter snow and ice, and everything just feels a bit less than fresh. If you’re planning a spring cleaning routine but don’t know where to begin, these seven tips will help you get started.

  • Set all clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Change the batteries in things like smoke detectors, remote controls, and alarm clocks.
  • Flip or rotate your mattress to ensure that it lasts for years to come.
  • Protect hardwood floors against scratches by adding padded, adhesive discs to the legs of chairs and tables.
  • Clean the refrigerator using a few teaspoons of baking soda diluted in hot water. Also be sure to toss out expired or unused food items.
  • Wash pillows to prevent seasonal allergens common in the springtime from accumulating inside.
  • Re-stock cleaning supplies to prepare yourself for any number of household messes and spills that come with the spring season.

Spring Cleaning [Martha Stewart]
28 Spring Cleaning Tips [Country Living]

Cool and Unusual Uses for Fabric Softener Sheets

While you likely already know that you can use fabric softener sheets for, well, making your fabrics softer, you may not know that there are a number of other uses for these handy household items. Here are just a few smart and surprising things to do with your dryer sheets.

  • Wipe up fine, powdery spills like flour or makeup using dryer sheets, because the anti-static properties help to pick up these hard-to-scoop messes.
  • Likewise, dryer sheets also make great DIY dusters for shelves, television screens, and baseboards.
  • Freshen up musty places by placing dryer sheets inside of your smelly winter boots, gym bag, or in a musty closet.
  • Remove pet hair from just about any surface (including your clothing) by wrapping a dryer sheet around your hand and gently running it over the surface.
  • In the summertime, stuff dryer sheets in your pockets to repel mosquitos.
  • Remove hard water stains from faucets and the door of a shower by running a dry dryer sheet over the surface.
  • End static on your hair and clothing in the winter by running a dryer sheet all over yourself.

10 New Uses for Dryer Sheets [Real Simple]
20 Household Uses for Used (Yes, Used) Dryer Sheets [Apartment Therapy]
25 Alternative Uses for Fabric-Softener Dryer Sheets [Curbly]

How to Get Your Home at ARK by Korman Blue Bell Ready for Houseguests

The next time you host guests in your home, prepare in advance by setting a game plan well ahead of time. These smart and stress-free tips will show you exactly how to get your home ready for houseguests, even if you don’t exactly have a separate guest wing to work with.

  1. Create a designated space. Everyone likes to have a feeling of privacy and a place to decompress, which you can easily create for your guests even if you don’t have a closed-off guestroom. Simply give them free run of a living room or den, or create your own guest quarters by investing in a room divider.
  2. Test out the bed. Since you don’t normally sleep in the guest bed (or air mattress, or sofa…), it’s always smart to test it out first to ensure its comfort. If it’s not up to snuff, add a foam mattress topper, more blankets, or other affordable improvements.
  3. Create an overnight kit. Stock a small caddy with shower supplies, water bottles, pain relievers, and snack bars, as well as anything else that your guests might ask for.
  4. Change the linens. Be sure to put clean, fresh-smelling sheets on the bed and provide enough clean towels for all of your guests.
  5. Feel out their schedules. Once they arrive, work around their schedules to prevent stepping on any toes.

Make Your Overnight Guests Feel at Home [Southern Living]
Hosting Overnight Guests [Life Your Way]
Real Life Advice: Hosting Guests Without a Guestroom [Apartment Therapy]
Getting Ready for Overnight Guests [Real Simple]

Boost Energy and Fight Cramps with These Potassium-Rich Foods

If you engage in high levels of activity, you already know that potassium from foods like bananas prevent cramps and stabilize your energy supply. Potassium is a vital mineral that also helps prevent hypertension and can be found in many other foods. Here are two other foods that are high in potassium:

  1. Potatoes. Grab a few spuds to get a huge boost of potassium. Red, white, or sweet, they make great sources of this nutrient. One medium potato contains 751 milligrams of potassium.
  2. Yogurt. This quick and delicious snack contains 531 milligrams of potassium in a mere eight ounces. For the healthiest choice, go for plain yogurt to avoid extra sugar hidden in the fruit.

Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium [Healthaliciousness]
15 Foods That Are High In Potassium [Health]
Food with More Potassium than a Banana [Huffington Post]
Potassium and Your CKD Diet [National Kidney Foundation]

Calling All Bibliophiles: These Pinterest Boards Are for You!

Pinterest is a great way to organize your favorite recipes or browse for home decor ideas, so why not use it to pay homage to your favorite books as well? If you’re an avid bibliophile who hates wandering aimlessly around the bookstore feeling overwhelmed by the endless selection of books, these boards will help you to bookmark ideas for new reading material and connect with other readers.

Book Lovers
Whether you’re looking for the best new releases or you simply want to share your love of reading with other pinners, this board is packed full of literary quotes, book recommendations, and peeks inside of some of the most impressive books stores in the world.

Reading Quotes
If all you’re searching for is a bit of inspiration on a tough day, this board pulls quotes directly from your favorite books to offer some words of wisdom straight from the authors’ mouths. From Annie Dillard and Theodore Roosevelt to C.S. Lewis, the Reading Quotes board has quotes for everyone.

Libraries
There are few places more relaxing for an avid reader than a beautiful library, and this board offers a virtual tour of some of the most impressive libraries in the world.

Need-to-Know Facts About Energy and Energy Consumption

Driving a car, turning on a light, heating or cooling our homes and offices—it all takes energy. But where does this energy come from? Read on to find some fun facts about energy.

1) Energy has many sources. Most of the energy we use is sourced from fossil fuels, nuclear power, or renewable sources like the sun. New sources, like biofuel, are being developed to help with the growing demand for energy sources.

2) Electricity is not a primary source of energy. Instead, it's considered a secondary source of energy, and it comes from primary sources that include coal, wind, and natural gas.

3) Electricity is a hot commodity in modern America. The demand for electricity in the U.S. is predicted to increase by 26 percent by 2030. Electricity is the second-most used energy source in American homes, second only to natural gas.

4) Heating our homes in the winter consumes the most energy. Space heating consumes the biggest chunk of energy in residential homes, ahead of large appliances such as laundry machines, computers, dishwashers—even refrigerators!

5) The U.S. sources 84 percent of its energy from fossil fuels. What's more, the U.S. consumes 20 percent of the world's total energy. To help with our growing energy needs, many companies have made an effort to cut back on energy usage. Large household appliances are becoming more energy efficient, and the government has mandated that in 2020, all new cars must average 35 miles per gallon. The automobile industry has also been focusing on creating electric cars to help decrease the use of energy.

For more information on energy, read What You Need to Know About Energy on The National Academy of Sciences website.

Feel a Cold Coming On? Load Up on These Surprising Vitamin C-Rich Foods!

If you feel a cold coming on, there are few better natural remedies than to eat foods that are high in Vitamin C. Orange juice is a popular option, but you can also take advantage of the high levels of Vitamin C in a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables. Here are just a few of the best sources of Vitamin C for the next time you’re feeling a bit under the weather.

  1. Papaya. Papayas are just as sweet and refreshing as oranges, and they contain 95.6 milligrams of Vitamin C in just one small fruit. Papayas are also rich in Vitamin A and dietary fiber. To get even more of this valuable vitamin, mash enough papaya to fill one cup; it provides about 140 milligrams of Vitamin C.
  2. Broccoli. Whether you toss it into a stir fry or eat it raw as a snack, broccoli is another great source of beneficial Vitamin C. One 148-gram serving provides about 132 milligrams of C vitamins that boost your immune system and prevent illness.
  3. Kale. Kale isn’t just a trendy so-called “superfood,” it actually does provide a whole slew of health benefits. Just two cups of chopped kale offers 160.8 milligrams of Vitamin C, as well as large amounts of Vitamins A and K, phytonutrients, and fiber.

Surprising Sources of Vitamin C [Berkeley Wellness]
7 Surprising (and Delicious) Sources of Vitamin C [Care2]
7 Foods With More Vitamin C Than an Orange [Huffington Post]

Must-Know Tips When Shopping for Furniture on a Budget

With sofas costing upwards of $1,000 and many discount furniture stores sacrificing quality for a lower price tag, it may seem impossible to furnish your home on a budget. If you know what to look for, however, you can afford to invest in some new furnishings without breaking the bank. Here are some smart tips for budget-savvy furniture shopping.

  • Consider the time of year. Most furniture stores release their new collections in February and August, so they’ll likely try to clear out their old inventory in January and July. As long as you don’t mind having last season’s styles, you can usually find a great price around this time.
  • Check online. You can often find better deals on furniture by shopping clearance websites like Overstock.com and Amazon. You also might get free shipping by spending more than a certain amount.
  • Buy secondhand. Another person’s mistake might be your gain when it comes to furniture. Check sites like Craigslist to find brand new sofas, beds, and other items that didn’t work in someone else’s home.
  • Check consignment stores. If you don’t mind gently used furniture, thrift shops and consignment stores often have great deals on fairly modern styles. Check back often, as you never know what they’ll have from day to day.

How to Choose Furniture on a Budget [Overstock]
4 Tips for Finding Budget-Friendly Furniture [U.S. News]
Best Places to Find Budget Furniture [About Home]

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