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    • 5 Health Benefits of Oranges Beyond Vitamin C

      1 March 2021

      (Family Features) Healthful eating starts with the ingredients you use, so it’s important to use fresh, seasonal ingredients that pack a nutritional punch. One of the easiest ways to meet your daily nutrient needs is to eat a variety of whole foods like fruit (which about 80% of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough of, according to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans), because they provide a unique mix of beneficial nutrients that can’t always be found in a supplement.  

      Consider an option like delicious California Navel and Cara Cara oranges, which are in season and available nationwide, offering a wide variety of health benefits. Oranges are best known as an excellent source of vitamin C to support a healthy immune system, because one orange can offer 70-100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C depending on the varietal. However, oranges also offer other important nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, including: 

      • Phytonutrients (beneficial compounds produced by plant foods) like flavonoids, which can help mitigate cell damage and support brain and heart health. 
      • Citrus is the only type of fruit packed with hesperidin and naringin, two flavonoids that offer anti-inflammatory properties. 
      • Potassium, which the body can’t produce on its own, supports cell function, healthy blood pressure levels, bone health and hydration. 
      • California Navel and Cara Cara oranges are good sources of fiber, which supports gut health. 
      • Oranges are good sources of folate, which is particularly important to consume during pregnancy because of its role in cell growth, according to the Mayo Clinic. 
      Oranges are a versatile fruit, making them an easy addition to both sweet and savory dishes as well as beverages. Try incorporating oranges into your weekly meal plan with dishes like a lighter version of orange chicken or drinks like this Orange Moscow Mule Mocktail. To help maximize the flavor profile and nutritional benefits of California oranges, consider these tips:
      • Numerous parts of citrus can be consumed, including the flesh, juice, zest and peel, meaning a single piece of fruit can go a long way. 
      • Next time you use citrus in a beverage or as part of a meal, bring it to room temperature before cooking to help ensure you get the most juice. 
      • Because vitamin C is water soluble, it’s important to eat it fresh. When using as part of a recipe, use as little water as possible and avoid overcooking. 
      • For storage, it’s often best to keep oranges refrigerated to help them last longer and ensure freshness. 
      • Visit californiacitrusgrowers.com to find more information. 
      Orange Moscow Mule Mocktail
      Recipe courtesy of Gina Homolka of “Skinnytaste”
      Servings: 1

      1 California Cara Cara orange
      1 cup ice
      1 bottle (6.8 ounces) light ginger beer
      fresh mint leaves, for garnish

      Slice orange in quarters then cut 2-3 slices for garnish and set aside. Juice the rest of the orange and place in a copper mug (or any glass). Fill glass to top with ice. Add ginger beer and garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Snack Foods You Want in Your Pantry or Fridge

      1 March 2021

      Whether it’s just you at home or you live with an always-hungry mob, snacking is a serious pleasure. Having a stock of delicious and nutritious snack foods can go a long way toward satisfying cravings without adding empty calories.

      Besides having a variety of fresh fruits and cut-up veggies handy, nutritionists suggest keeping these snack foods readily available in your kitchen:

      • Nuts - An ounce or two of nuts each day can lower the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cognitive decline, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Most nuts pack lots of antioxidants, a few grams of protein and fiber, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that keep you full.
      • Popcorn - A high quality food at a budget-friendly price, popcorn is a satisfying, low calorie food that, while not loaded with nutrition, supplies trace amounts of B vitamins and minerals and satisfies the urge to munch
      • Whole Wheat Crackers - Providing a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, 100% whole grain crackers provide full flavor and crunchy crispiness right out of the box.  Top them with a bit of nut butter or hummus for a healthy snack choice. 
      • Dried Fruits - Dried fruits, like raisins, contain substantial amounts of minerals, such as iron, copper, magnesium and potassium, all beneficial to health. They are high in sugar, though, so limit portion size to a handful.
      • Almond Milk - Naturally creamy almond milk is a dairy- and lactose-free alternative to cow’s milk, whether or not you are trying to go plant-based or have issues digesting dairy. It’s significantly lower in calories and sugar than regular milk and it's an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin E.
      • Greek Yogurt - A cup of creamy Greek yogurt per day provides protein, calcium, iodine and potassium. It’s low in calories and contains probiotics to support a healthy bacterial balance in the gut. Try it with honey or topped with berries or granola.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Design the Perfect Dining Room

      1 March 2021

      The dining room is a special place in the home. While it may not be used each and every day, it’s often where families come together to celebrate holidays, milestones and more. If you want to ensure your dining room is a worthy setting for making memories, here are several tips for designing the perfect space to share special occasions with your loved ones. 

      Focus on Functionality
      First and foremost, your dining area should be functional. That means it’s able to accommodate groups of varying sizes and can easily be accessed from the kitchen to allow for seamless entertaining. You might also want to have a wet bar nearby so you can refresh drinks without having to leave the room.

      Identify Focal Points
      When designing your dining space, it helps to know what your main focal points will be. It could be a scenic view, a grand fireplace or an artistic chandelier that catches the eye as soon as one enters. Once these have been identified, you can design around your focal points to help them stand out and ensure your dining room is a memorable place to gather. If you need to make a large room feel more intimate, try adding layers, like stylish window treatments and an elegant rug, to visually fill out the space.

      Look to the Lighting
      It may take some work to get just the right lighting in your dining room. A balance between task and ambient lighting will often require designing a space with a chandelier or pendants above the table, as well as sconces on the walls. In order to have the flexibility for any type of occasion, it’s a good idea to have dimmers in your dining room. A smart lighting system, in particular, will give you complete control to match any mood.

      Optimize Acoustics
      Acoustics, of course, is an important consideration if you want everyone to be able to talk at a comfortable volume. If you have stone or hardwood floors, a rug can certainly help to absorb sound and make it easier to converse while everyone’s eating. Fabric wallpapers are another popular solution to reduce the reflection of sound waves in the dining room.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 10 Best Snacks to Boost Your Immunity

      26 February 2021

      Even without COVID-19, right now is the naturally occurring cold and flu season. While there’s a formula for staying healthy, nutritionists say these 10 snacks contain nutrients shown to help support the immune system and possibly reduce the duration or severity of flu symptoms:

      1. Raisins - Naturally sweet, raisins can satisfy a sweet tooth and provide potassium and fiber—nutrients associated with improved immune function. Sprinkle on a little cinnamon for an extra boost of antioxidants.
      2. Baked Sweet Potato - Tasty, tummy-warming and high in vitamins A and C, as well as antioxidants, a medium-sized baked sweet potato as an afternoon snack will keep you satisfied until dinner time for only the small price of about 100 calories.
      3. Bell Pepper With Hummus - Bell peppers provides a boost of vitamin C —and the hummus adds gut-friendly fiber to support the immune system.
      4. Fortified Cereal - It’s not just for breakfast. Whole grains fortified with zinc, iron, vitamin D and folate supply 100 percent of daily iron needs and 15 to 20 percent of daily zinc, vitamin D and folate needs.
      5. Sliced Apples and Peanut Butter - Eat the skins, which contain quercetin, a plant compound that helps reduce infection risk. Peanut butter is packed with protein, which the body uses to help fight off germs.
      6. Ginger Tea - A warming pick-me-up, tea contains polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants which may help keep your immune system strong. Grate in some ginger for anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties to help fight infections. 
      7. Sardine Toast - Sardines are rich in zinc, which boosts the production of immune cells, omega-3 fatty acids (which are associated with heart health) and vitamin D to help fight infection. Try mixing crushed sardines with a little lemon juice, olive oil and chopped onion, then spread it on toasted whole grain bread.
      8. Beef Jerky - This popular snack is very rich in zinc, which has been shown to support the immune system by fighting inflammation.
      9. OJ Smoothie - Using fortified orange juice will give your smoothie a healthy boost of vitamins C and D. 
      10. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries - Eight strawberries contain almost 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin C and fiber. The chocolate coating? Because chocolate is delish—and you deserve it! 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Improve Wellness With Affordable Bathroom Upgrades

      26 February 2021

      (Family Features) Wellness is at the forefront of nearly everyone’s mind, including keeping germs at bay and creating surroundings that promote mental and physical health. Even small, but important, spaces like the bathroom can benefit from changes with wellness in mind. 

      A bathroom can be one of the easiest rooms in your home to give a little extra TLC toward creating a healthier lifestyle. These cost-effective measures can turn your bathroom into a more practical, functional space that promotes your well-being. 

      Switch Up Surfaces
      The countertops in your bathroom, much like the flooring, must be able to withstand a lot of water. Nonporous vanity tops, such as those made from quartz, hold up to being wet constantly and can help keep germs from breeding. In addition to being easy to clean, a solid-surface option like quartz never needs to be sealed or polished, making it an aesthetically pleasing, long-lasting option. 

      Clean Green  
      Bathrooms are often hot and steamy places, and water vapors in the air can carry potentially harmful chemicals from cleaning products. Green cleaning products are made to control the spread of bacteria and viruses using safe and effective means. Not only are they helpful in preventing asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, but they are a low-cost way to improve overall indoor air quality.  
      What you use to clean yourself is just as important. Using green or organic personal care items can help reduce toxin exposure and lessen the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

      Reduce Humidity
      All that steam can affect your health in other ways, too, since it creates a humid environment that encourages mold and mildew. A heated towel rack is an inexpensive way to add a touch of luxury to your space while generating heat that helps reduce humidity and the growth of mold and mildew, therefore benefitting indoor air quality. 

      Heated towel racks like those from Amba Products come in a variety of finishes and styles to coordinate with your decor. For modest accommodations, the Radiant Small is a space-saving choice, and freestanding models are available if wall space is at a premium. Another advantage: Since the racks dry towels, they’ll stay mildew-free longer and don’t need to be washed as often, which helps save valuable natural resources. 

      Enhance Air Quality
      Creating a green, spa-like oasis with plants can bring wellness benefits that don’t break the bank.  Indoor plants help rid the environment of pollutants, and the energy and ambiance they add may have mental health benefits, too. Plants like mother-in-law’s tongue or peace lily are popular options to incorporate as natural air purifiers.  
      Explore Color

      A bathroom’s color palette can also play a role in your wellness goals. Warmer shades like red and orange enhance energy while cooler colors like green and blue can be calming. 

      Begin planning bathroom upgrades that improve your health and well-being with more tips and ideas at ambaproducts.com.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.