Health and Beauty en-US Dementia Sucks: Keep Your Brain Strong With These 10 Things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dementia-sucks-keep-your-brain-strong-with-these-10-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man holding apple" title="man holding apple" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="">brain is the most powerful processor in the world</a>. Weighing in at an average of just three pounds, your brain uses 20% of the total oxygen in your body. It generates enough energy to power a 20-watt light bulb. And it can process information at around 270 mph. It is, to say the least, an astonishing part of the human body. But it needs to be taken care of. Treat it right and feed it well, and it will look after you. From vitamins to oils and even juggling, here are 10 easy ways to strengthen your brain. (See also: <a href="">Natural Ways to Change Your Brain and Be Happier</a>)</p> <h2>1. Indulge in Hot Chocolate</h2> <p>The next time you feel a little guilty about your nightly cup of cocoa or hot chocolate, remind yourself that Harvard researchers believe it to be very beneficial for your brain. It seems as though two cups a day of the delicious <a href="">chocolate beverage improves blood flow</a> to the working areas of the brain. The study was done at Harvard Medical School in Boston and recruited 60 people (with an average age of 73) who did not have dementia. Each participant was given two cups of hot chocolate per day. After 30 days, the results were significant. Not only was blood flow increased, but results on memory tests vastly improved &mdash; from 167 seconds down to 116. Of course, there will be side effects of drinking a sugary drink twice a day, so look into low-fat, low-sugar options. (See also: <a href="">15 Reasons to Eat More Chocolate</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get Your Fish Oils</h2> <p>Many of us take fish oil and omega-3 supplements regularly as they are a good way to lower triglycerides. But that old wives tale about fish being good for your brain is not a myth at all. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid found in fish like tuna, trout, and mackerel, and it is <a href="">essential nutrition</a> for <a href="">the brain and eyes</a>. Currently dieticians recommend at least two servings of fatty fish per week, but more if you really want to get the benefits. And if you just can't stomach fish, there are capsules that are guaranteed never to repeat on you. Those fishy burps are a thing of the past.</p> <h2>3. Learn to Juggle</h2> <p>If you thought juggling was just for circus performers and party tricks, think again. Juggling is an exercise requiring excellent hand-eye coordination, and your brain is working overtime to keep all the balls or bowling pins in the air. Scientists recently took 24 non-jugglers and trained half to juggle. After three months, the <a href="">new jugglers had an increase in gray matter</a> in the areas of the brain involving visual and motor skills. So, long story short&hellip; learn to juggle, and you'll impress more than just a few friends at the next get-together.</p> <h2>4. Get More Sleep</h2> <p>Easier said than done for most of us, but it's essential for a better brain. Yes, it's absolutely vital to rest your body with six to eight hours of sleep every night, but it's also important for brain function. Your brain does not shut down like a computer when you sleep; dreams are a clear indication of that. But sleeping improves the ability to make connections between concepts that would otherwise stay apart. When someone tells you to &quot;sleep on a problem,&quot; they're giving you good advice. After sleep, people are 33% more likely to <a href="">create connections among seemingly unrelated ideas</a> (advertising creatives, take note).</p> <h2>5. Take Coconut Oil</h2> <p>Coconut oil is a very useful gift from Mother Nature. It's used in Thai food, it's great as a skin lotion or make-up remover, and it can even support thyroid function. But now it has been revealed that four tablespoons of <a href="">coconut oil taken daily can improve brain function</a>&nbsp;and possibly prevent Alzheimer's. The key to this research lies in ketone bodies, an alternative fuel for your brain that your body actually creates while digesting coconut oil. Ketones are a byproduct of the body's process to convert fat (not glucose) into energy. A primary source of these ketones are the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) found in &mdash; you've guessed it &mdash; coconut oil. Time to stock up.</p> <h2>6. Top Up Vitamin D Levels</h2> <p>It seems that vitamin D is becoming something of a wonder-supplement. We are told to take it to prevent <a href="">cancer, depression, and cardiovascular disease</a>, and to boost the immune system and, of course, bone health. Now, you can add increased brain function to the growing list. Studies have shown that there are receptors for vitamin D throughout the central nervous system and hippocampus. And these same studies proved that people with lower-than-average vitamin D levels suffered from <a href="">decreased cognitive function</a> and information-processing speed. If you didn't have a reason to stock up on vitamin D capsules, this should sway you.</p> <h2>7. Play Mind Games</h2> <p>No, not the kind that men and women have been playing on each other since the dawn of time. Actual mind games, like Sudoku, lateral thinking puzzles, crosswords, brainteasers, and even chess are excellent ways to keep the brain fit and healthy. It's a case of use it or lose, and considering how much you have to lose, it should be paramount that you put aside at least 15 minutes of every day to think. There are apps and websites, like <a href="">Lumosity</a>, that can make this very easy for you. Play the games, and <a href="">you can avoid Alzheimer's</a>&nbsp;and other degenerative brain disorders. (See also: <a href="">10 Apps That Make You Smarter, Stronger, Happier</a>)</p> <h2>8. Take Vitamin B12</h2> <p>Along with vitamin D, it's also worth investing in vitamin B12. It's a popular supplement for vegetarians and vegans, as B12 is primarily found in meats, fish, and dairy products. Patients suffering from dementia have been found to have high levels of homocysteine in their blood, and B12 can <a href="">naturally lower homocysteine levels</a>. It's also good for heart health and energy too, so what's there to lose?</p> <h2>9. Learn to Play Music</h2> <p>While it is no easy task to just pick up a guitar and belt out a tune, or sit at a piano and channel Mozart, playing <a href="">music has significant benefits to brain function</a>. No one is suggesting that you invest in lessons and become the next big music star, but even buying a cheap acoustic guitar and practicing chords for 15 or 30 minutes per day can have positive effects on the brain. If you have children at age seven or under, get them interested in music now, through school, or on their own volition. The benefits are even greater if you start young. (See also: <a href="">The Perks of Learning the Guitar</a>)</p> <h2>10. Put Blueberries and Almonds to Work</h2> <p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture says blueberries and almonds are two of the best <a href="">foods you can eat to boost brain power</a>. Blueberries are very high in antioxidants, and even frozen, they work wonders. Almonds are a great source of omega-3 acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. Perhaps the easiest way to get both daily is to pop some onto your breakfast cereal or yogurt every morning. They taste great, and they're great for brain function. What better way to start the day?</p> <p><em>What are you doing to strengthen your brain? Exercise it a bit in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Dementia Sucks: Keep Your Brain Strong With These 10 Things" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty brain building brain training brains Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:36:18 +0000 Paul Michael 1135242 at These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-at-home-exercises-will-give-you-a-gym-quality-workout-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="man exercising" title="man exercising" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to be somewhat of a gym rat. And by that, I mean I used to have a lot more expendable income and free time on my hands. These days, I have to be more creative because these things &mdash; time and money &mdash; are at a premium.</p> <p>I haven't had a gym membership in a while and fully admit working out at home can be difficult motivation-wise. I still have my struggles. However, with some planning and a few handy tips, you can enjoy gym-quality workouts for free &mdash; often without leaving the comfort of your living room! (See also: <a href="">10 Exercises to Do at Work</a>)</p> <h2>Make a Plan</h2> <p>When I used to frequent the gym, I'd have days I'd focus on cardio and others I'd do strength. This same approach applies at home and can keep your mind and body guessing in a great way. What you do is up to you, but as an example, I try to do around 5-6 days of between 30 minutes to an hour of cardio and then 2-3 days of strength with one day of stretching.</p> <p>Here are some ideas to get you started that are either cardio, strength, or a blend of the two.</p> <h3>Simple, Effective Circuit</h3> <p>This awesome <a href="">Body Weight Cardio Circuit</a> consists of about every bodyweight exercise I can think of. There are ample burpees, squats, push-ups, dips, and jumping jacks to keep even the most fit person entertained. Still have energy? Repeat the sequence again! (See also: <a href="">Great Body Weight Exercises</a>)</p> <h3>Fat-Burner</h3> <p>If you're looking to get in some cardio, try this <a href="">37-Minute Fat-Burning Workout (Video)</a>. There's no equipment required, and I love the metrics on the video which detail information about time left per move as well as approximate calories burned.</p> <h3>Quickie</h3> <p>Running low on time? This <a href="">No-Running At-Home Cardio</a> takes only 20 minutes to complete. Simply do each exercise at a steady pace and resist resting in-between for the best impact.</p> <h3>Long-Term Goal</h3> <p>The <a href="">Couch to 5K</a> running plan is a favorite of mine because it gives non-runners a major boost of confidence. Sure you might not have jogged in years (or ever!), but we all have to start somewhere. If you've ever dreamed of running a 5K, this plan's got you covered with the basics.</p> <h3>Outside the Box</h3> <p>Think you've seen them all? Think again. These <a href="">105 Bodyweight Exercises using Zero Equipment (Video)</a> give even seasoned athletes some new moves to try at home. I like the &quot;Spiderman Climb With Reach&quot; around minute 2:55.</p> <h3>Super Challenge I</h3> <p>One of the very first workouts I tried at home? This <a href="">100 Pushups Challenge</a>. It's great to have a lofty goal in mind, and I loved seeing my strength progress over the weeks until my final challenge. (And &mdash; yes! I did complete 100 pushups!)</p> <h3>Super Challenge II</h3> <p>This one's new to me, but it's the same concept as above. Try the <a href="">200 Squats Challenge</a>. It targets your lower half in a challenging way. Over time, those squats will lift and strengthen your best assets.</p> <h3>Deceptive Dynamo</h3> <p>Don't be fooled! This <a href="">10-Minute Fat Burning Circuit</a>, in the words of its hosts, is &quot;very brutal [and] very effective.&quot; You don't need lots of time or fancy equipment to see some major results. (See also: <a href="">Fight Fat With These 5 Foods</a>)</p> <h3>Watchdog</h3> <p>If you quit the gym, that also means you aren't working with a certified trainer. So, take some time to <a href="">correct your form for popular bodyweight moves</a>. You could be making some simple mistakes. Little tweaks will make you less prone to injury &mdash; all while showing you the best results for your time investment.</p> <h3>Inhale, Exhale</h3> <p>I absolutely love yoga, but I don't have the budget right now to keep me in regular practice at a studio. So, I turn to YouTube channels like <a href="">At-Home Yoga</a>. This channel features videos with specific moves to entire full-length classes &mdash; all free. And there's super soothing music to boot! (See also: <a href="">Yoga Tricks to Help You Relax</a>)</p> <h3>Dancing Queen</h3> <p>I suggested this <a href="">Zumba in Your Living Room</a> to my mother. She's getting back into shape and loves to dance, but doesn't have the time or desire to go to Zumba classes at the local gym. It's a great way to try out this workout if you're new to it without feeling self-conscious!</p> <h3>Total Package</h3> <p>If you're looking for the whole package, check out these <a href="">Total Body Blasting Workouts (videos)</a>. The channel is divided by target area, including abs, lower body, arm and shoulder, quick workouts, and many more.</p> <p>And if you're looking for more inspiration, YouTube and Pinterest are your new best friends. Use search terms like &quot;at-home,&quot; &quot;zero equipment,&quot; &quot;bodyweight,&quot; or even &quot;free workout&quot; to find some creative moves to try. If you're doing more than basic moves, give more weight to those sequences designed by certified trainers rather than random bloggers. Always ease into new stuff slowly to avoid injury.</p> <p>Basically, you need to treat your workouts at home just as seriously as you would if you were at the gym. Since the equipment isn't laid out in front of you, it requires a little imagination. But having a goal and roughing out a plan for yourself will help you decide if it's a night to take a walk around the block, do some challenging bodyweight strength moves, or stretch out with yoga.</p> <h2>Set the Stage</h2> <p>Another thing that's difficult in my house is finding the right mental space. Going away to a gym where everyone else is concentrated on working out is much easier than dodging toys on a cluttered floor while you listen to your toddler scream. I even found myself once in a downward facing dog and then one of my cats jumped on my back. That was interesting.</p> <p>Find a quiet time when the members of your household will respect your workout. It might mean getting up earlier in the morning than you're accustomed to or fitting it in later at night. It might mean you swap childcare duties with a neighbor a couple times a week.</p> <p>A little cleaning can go a long way, even if it means stashing a laundry basket nearby to toss in rogue items that clutter the carpet. If you live in a small space, moving furniture temporarily can free up floor space for wider range of motion moves like jumping jacks. And if you're really stuck, you can always head outside &mdash; just make sure you dress for the weather.</p> <p><em>Have you quit the gym? How do you keep fit at home on a budget?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> General Tips Health and Beauty fitness home workouts workouts Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:24:25 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1135086 at 25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-healthy-recipes-for-lazy-people" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is lazy the correct word? We're all so rushed these days; it's probably more apt to say &quot;25 Healthy Recipes for Normal People!&quot; But whether you're short on time or just want a few more hours to spend with the kids, the pets, a good book, or your favorite TV show, these recipes can be made quickly and easily. And they're just as good for your health as they are your schedule. (See also: <a href="">Slow Cooker Recipes for Busy (or Lazy) Vegetarians</a>)</p> <p>Let's start with the most rushed meal of the day.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <h2>Breakfast</h2> <p>They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But, it doesn't have to be the most time-consuming. In fact, these little wonders can be prepared in minutes, and they're way better for you than a bowl of cereal or a pre-packaged granola bar. (See also: <a href="">Make-Ahead, Freezable Hot Breakfasts</a>)</p> <h3>1. Southwestern Egg and Bean Wrap</h3> <p>The beans are optional in this quick <a href="">breakfast wrap</a>, and if you're counting calories you can always remove them (or another ingredient of your choice). At only 245 calories though, it's filling and delicious.</p> <h3>2. Kale Egg Bake</h3> <p>The buzzword of the moment seems to be kale. It's everywhere, and with good reason. It's versatile (try making kale chips; even the kids love them), and it's full of flavor. This <a href="">baked egg and kale dish</a> is very easy to prepare, and if you make several you can reheat them for days after. (See also: <a href="">Easy Kale Recipes</a>)</p> <h3>3. Quinoa Breakfast Bake</h3> <p>Quinoa for breakfast? Sure, why not? And this <a href="">breakfast quinoa recipe</a> is actually more like oatmeal, flavored with cinnamon, allspice, maple syrup, and berries. Very simple to make, it bakes for an hour (it'll be ready right after you finish the Sunday crossword), and it is delicious. Leftovers taste even better.</p> <h3>4. Quick Breakfast Burrito</h3> <p>Mmmm, burritos. They are up there with sandwiches as a very versatile and easy-to-make meal. Fill them with fruits, meats, vegetables&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;you name it. This </span><a href="" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">breakfast burrito recipe</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;"> calls for the traditional blend of eggs, tomatoes, and chilis. And it's delicious.</span></p> <h3>5. Egg in a Frame</h3> <p><a href="">Egg in a Frame</a> was introduced to me by my wife when I first moved to America, and I had a hard time believing it had taken me 26 years to try it. It's also one of the simplest breakfasts to cook, and you can vary the recipe by adding a little bacon, spinach, or different types of bread. You can even use raisin bread for a sweet and salty treat.</p> <h3>6. Bacon and Apple Fast Wrap</h3> <p>This <a href="">very quick and easy breakfast wrap</a> uses bacon, cheese, and a whole wheat tortilla. You can also vary the ingredients, substituting or adding avocado, lettuce, tomato, and banana peppers. (See also: <a href="">Easy Breakfasts for People on the Go</a>)</p> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <h2>Lunch</h2> <p>Forget the fast-food trap&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;it's loaded with calories and costs can really add up if you go daily. Most of these can be prepared at home quickly and easily.</span></p> <h3>7. Apple Curry Turkey Pita</h3> <p>Anything with curry in it gets my vote. In fact, did you know that curry has the same addictive qualities as chocolate, and releases the same endorphins? Try this <a href="">curried turkey with apple</a> for a sweet and tangy lunch. Add a little mango chutney for extra sweetness.</p> <h3>8. Shrimp-Filled Sweet Potato</h3> <p>This recipe for a <a href=",,10000001046787,00.html">baked sweet potato</a> contains as much protein as four slices of turkey breast. But the flavor far exceeds anything turkey could ever bring to the table, thanks to the kielbasa and tangy shrimp. (See also: <a href="">45 Sweet Potato Dishes</a>)</p> <h3>9. Chicken Satay</h3> <p>What's better than meat on sticks? Well, some would say meat in a cone, but I think sticks have it beat. <a href="">Chicken Satay</a> is delicious, very easy to make, and low in calories.</p> <h3>10. Spicy Couscous Soup</h3> <p>More Indian flavors come to the party, this time in a vegetarian dish that takes little preparation and cooking time. As with most Indian food, the flavors are bold and complex, but the recipe isn't. Enjoy this <a href="">very filling soup</a> that's low in calories</p> <h3>11. Chili-Spiced Salmon Salad</h3> <p>Make use of your blender or food processor to whiz up a <a href="">tasty sauce for this salad</a>, which can be assembled in minutes. And the flavors are well worth it.</p> <h3>12. Whole-Wheat Chicken Panini</h3> <p>At 570 calories per serving, this <a href="">chicken panini</a> proves that tasty food doesn't have to be fattening. If you don't have a panini press, you can get the same results from a hot pan. (See also: <a href="">Best Panini Presses</a>)</p> <h3>13. Prosciutto and Fig Panini</h3> <p>The wonderfully complex but complementary flavors in this <a href="">lunch panini</a> are well worth the shopping trip. You will need to pick up Fontina cheese and the best prosciutto you can find, but your taste buds (and your waistline) will thank you. And all it takes is 10 minutes.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <h2>Dinner</h2> <p>It's probably the trickiest meal of the day to prepare. Everyone's home, and everyone's got different tastes (especially the kiddos). These ideas should keep even the fussiest family members happy and healthy. Some of these recipes are for one person, so increase according to servings required. (See also: <a href="">Easy Make-Ahead Dinner Party Dishes</a>)</p> <h3>14. Chicken Florentine</h3> <p>This delicious and <a href="">healthy version of the classic chicken Florentine</a> dish takes a little time, but it's not complicated at all. And when you're done, you will hardly believe this can be good for you.</p> <h3>15. No-Bake Macaroni and Cheese</h3> <p>Who needs the hassle of baking a mac 'n' cheese dish? This <a href="">simple crowd-pleaser</a> takes just 25 minutes to create, and it's both healthy and delicious. The addition of broccoli gives it a more well-rounded flavor than traditional mac 'n' cheese, but the kids should be fine with it. After all, everything's covered in a tasty cheese sauce.</p> <h3>16. Turkey Chili</h3> <p>Chili is all about good spices and long simmering. Although this <a href="">turkey chili</a> is ready in just thirty minutes, if you want the best flavors, let it simmer on low for a few hours.</p> <h3>17. Healthy Chicken Nuggets and Blackberry-Mustard Sauce</h3> <p>You don't have to feel guilty about serving up chicken nuggets. These <a href="">chicken nuggets</a> are not deep-fried, but simply flipped in a pan with a little hot oil. And the cornmeal gives them a great crunch!</p> <h3>18. Creamy Avocado Pasta</h3> <p>You'll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can throw together a <a href="">tasty pasta dish</a> &mdash; just 15 minutes, a little over the time it makes to boil the pasta! And the results are worth sharing.</p> <h3>19. Zesty Stir-Fried Shrimp</h3> <p>The reduced fat and reduced salt ingredients in this <a href="">zesty stir-fried shrimp recipe</a> keep it healthy, but the tangy lemons and shrimp keep it a treat for the tastebuds. It's easy and impressive. (See also: <a href="">70 Shrimp Recipes</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" alt="" src="" /></p> <h2>Dessert</h2> <p>Finally, dessert. Many of these recipes are also low calorie, so you can splurge a little. And thankfully, these ideas are also just as good for your body as well as your hectic schedule. (See also: <a href="">Single-Serving &quot;Fake&quot; Desserts</a>)</p> <h3>20. Cantaloupe Granita</h3> <p>If you're looking for a healthier alternative to ice cream, this <a href="">cantaloupe granita</a> is perfect. It takes about an hour to set, but only requires about 10 minutes of actual work.</p> <h3>21. Light Peach Parfait</h3> <p>Take just 10 minutes out of your busy day to prepare a <a href="">dessert parfait</a> everyone will love. Make sure you use fresh peaches (grilled really makes a difference, too) and fat free topping.</p> <h3>22. Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries</h3> <p>A favorite around Valentine's Day, there is no reason not to enjoy this <a href="">decadent little treat</a> after any meal. As the main ingredient is fresh strawberries, you're being good to yourself, too.</p> <h3>23. Instant Apple Crisp</h3> <p>Rolled oats are the secret to this family favorite. But unlike traditional apple crisp, this <a href="">quick apple crisp</a> will take just 10 minutes and won't be a guilty pleasure.</p> <h3>24. Baby Tiramisu</h3> <p>It's not often you see the word <a href="">tiramisu</a> on a list of quick and/or healthy desserts, but this one is the exception to the rule. It takes just 15 minutes to make, and it's delicious.</p> <h3>25. Instant Rice Pudding</h3> <p>Well, instant may be a strong word, but it's very quick. The addition of fresh fruit and the smart use of cooked rice (use brown for an even healthier version) makes this <a href="">rice pudding</a> a winner.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite easy, healthy dishes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Healthy Recipes for Lazy People" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty cheap recipes easy meals healthy meals quick meals Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:36:46 +0000 Paul Michael 1133368 at 10 Surprising Benefits Of: A 10 Minute Walk <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-benefits-of-a-10-minute-walk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="family walking" title="family walking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A lack of time is the most common excuse people give when asked why they don't exercise. Here's the truth &mdash; we don't need a lot of time to exercise. All we need is 10 minutes and the will to be healthier. Walking is the perfect way to get started. Here's a list of ten reasons why walking is our best partner for overall good health. (See also: <a href="">15 Ways to Exercise in 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h2>1. It Promotes Heart Health</h2> <p>Walking has tremendous benefits for the heart: it drops blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and lowers cholesterol, which are all risk factors of heart disease.</p> <h2>2. It Improves Brain Function</h2> <p>Ever notice how walking clears the mind? It's more than just a figure of speech. Walking might not raise your IQ, but it does help to <a href="">improve concentration, focus, and attention span</a>. Exercise increases the level of <a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">BDNF</a>, brain-derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF has been shown to preserve the health of existing neurons and create new ones.</p> <h2>3. It Eases Depression</h2> <p>The best way to turn a frown upside down is to hit the streets with our feet. Exercise in general, and walking in particular, <a href="">releases endorphins</a>, &quot;feel-good&quot; chemicals, in the brain. (See also: <a href="">Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Happier</a>)</p> <h2>4. It Improves Bone Health</h2> <p>One of the best ways to <a href="">improve bone health</a> is to do weight-bearing exercises such as walking. Weight-bearing exercise is any exercise that requires the body to work against gravity. (See also: <a href="">How to Get Stronger Bones Without Eating Dairy</a>)</p> <h2>5. It Burns Calories</h2> <p>It's no secret that all exercise burns calories. What's surprising is how many calories we burn just by walking briskly for 10 minutes. On average, we burn about <a href="">50 calories for every 10 minutes</a> of brisk walking (depending on your weight).</p> <h2>6. It Helps You Breath Easier</h2> <p>When we exercise, our bodies need more oxygen. This means our lungs have to work harder to deepen and quicken the breath. The more we require of our muscles, the stronger they get. This is also true for the lungs. With regular walking, <a href="'s-effects-on-the-lungs.html">we increase our lung capacity</a>, and that makes for easier breathing.</p> <h2>7. It Increases Mindfulness</h2> <p>Walking helps clear the mind. It also helps to increase our awareness. When we step outside, we activate all of our senses. We feel the sun and breeze on our faces. We notice scents. We constantly change the scenery in our field of vision as we walk. Rather than letting the world pass us by, we can take time on a walk to be present and notice our environment. This practice will enrich all of our moments, even after the walk is over.</p> <h2>8. It Reduces Stress</h2> <p>As mentioned above, walking increases endorphin levels in the brain and gives us the ability to take fuller breaths. These two benefits also help us to rid the mind and body of stress. Exercise of any kind drops our level of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. (See also: <a href="">Easy Ways to Banish Stress</a>)</p> <h2>9. It Improves Gait and Balance</h2> <p>We master what we practice. If we practice walking, we strengthen our legs and feet. Strong legs and feet make up the physical foundation of improved gait and balance. The better our gait and balance, the less likely we are to fall and the more likely we are to keep moving. When it comes to physical health, we're part of a use-it-or-lose-it game. Walking regularly puts the odds of winning this game in our favor.</p> <h2>10. It Reduces Pain</h2> <p>A lot of our physical aches and pains come from underuse, not overuse. When muscles, ligament, tendons, and fascia aren't used, they get tight. The less they're used, the tighter they get and that tightness causes a lot of pain, particularly in the <a href=";id=18129">lower back</a> and joints. Walking is a gentle way to get moving and keep moving so our bodies stay limber, flexible, and pain free.</p> <p>Now that you know the benefits of even a short walk, celebrate <a href="">National Walking Day</a> on April 2, 2014. A program of the American Heart Association Day, National Walking Day is a day when all Americans are encouraged to set aside 30 minutes to get up, get out, and get moving. Grab a friend, family member, or your dog and hit the road. It does a body, mind, and spirit good!</p> <p><em>How much do you walk everyday?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprising Benefits Of: A 10 Minute Walk" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty fitness quick workouts walking Mon, 31 Mar 2014 09:48:51 +0000 Christa Avampato 1133231 at 7 Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Tubs According to the Experts at ThermoSpas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-health-benefits-of-hot-tubs-according-to-the-experts-at-thermospas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The phrase &quot;hot tub&quot; makes most of us think of relaxation, but for the folks at ThermoSpas, hot tubs also hold a <a href="">surprising number of health benefits</a>. In fact, hydrotherapy &ndash; also known as &ldquo;the use of water for therapeutic needs&rdquo; &ndash; has a long history, going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.</p> <p>In the Victorian era, hydrotherapy became popular again, with public &quot;Turkish Baths&quot; springing up first in England. Meanwhile, in Austria, doctors promoted their &quot;Cold Water Cure&quot; for nearly every conceivable ailment. A similar water cure, which treated a similarly fantastic range of illnesses, was promoted in North America via The Water Cure Journal. More recently, <a href="">hydrotherapy has come back into vogue</a> for the treatment of a variety of ailments, including arthritis and muscle soreness.</p> <p>Today's hydrotherapists have more research behind their treatments. These days, they are interested in water because of several of its properties: buoyancy, pressure, specific heat capacity and resistance. By taking advantage of those properties, especially heat capacity, doctors have developed a variety of beneficial therapies, all requiring little more than a visit to a hot tub.</p> <h2><b>7 Surprising Benefits of Hot Tubs According to ThermoSpas</b></h2> <h3>1. Relief From Arthritis Pain&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</h3> <p>Moist heat such as the heat from a hot tub alleviates pain, improves circulation to muscles and joints, and relieves muscle stiffness and muscle spasms. For long-term management of stress associated with chronic pain, some <a href="">researchers suggest a variety of approaches</a>, including muscle relaxing techniques such as a soak in a hot tub. Some hot tubs are designed specifically for arthritis sufferers and include features such as ease of entry and specialized seats.</p> <h3>2. A Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes</h3> <p>It's well known that regular exercise is an effective therapy for type 2 diabetes. Preliminary research has shown that immersion in hot water <a href="">can simulate some of the effects of exercise</a> in diabetics -- in fact, one study participant was able to reduce his dose of insulin by 18 percent. Test subjects also reported better sleep and an improved sense of well-being (more on that below). The researchers surmised that the blood sugar improvements were due to increased blood flow to skeletal muscles.</p> <h3>3. Improved Sleep</h3> <p>A hot bath can help you get a good night's sleep &ndash; and so can a dip in a hot tub. However, it's not the heat that makes you sleepy, it's the drop in body temperature afterward. The key to this technique is to climb out of the tub 90 minutes to two hours before bedtime, which gives your body time to shed the heat of the tub and for you to feel the pull of drowsiness. ThermoSpas notes that a hot bath or hot a soak in the tub can be part of a nighttime routine that reduces stress and primes mind and body for a good night's sleep.</p> <h3>4. Relieve Muscle Pain</h3> <p>For most muscle aches and pains, doctors advise a two-part strategy of cold and heat. Cold should be applied right after the onset of injury or pain to reduce inflammation and swelling (and to reduce intensity of the pain). A day or so later, apply heat &ndash; such as soaking in a hot tub &ndash; it improves circulation and blood flow to beleaguered muscles and joints and relieves pain.</p> <h3>5. Relieve Cold and Flu Symptoms</h3> <p>Stuffed up nose? Muscle and joint aches and pains? Moist heat is great for loosening up clogged sinuses. It's also great for sore muscles and joints. ThermoSpas recommends combining the hot tub visit with a cup of hot green tea &mdash; which can slow the advance of certain viruses &mdash; for a hot water cure inside and out.</p> <h3>6. Deep Relaxation</h3> <p>It should be no surprise that hot tubs are great at helping you relax. Heat is the key here, first as a muscle relaxant and pain reliever and second because heat opens up our blood vessels (vasodilation) and improves blood flow. But a hot tub has other relaxing properties beyond heat as well &ndash; buoyancy contributes to the sense of relaxation we feel, as does the weight of the water itself, as water pressure and warmth seem to embrace us. What might be surprising is that this so-called deep relaxation may have significant health benefits, including stronger immune systems, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol.</p> <h3>7. Aquatic Exercise</h3> <p>Low impact aquatic exercise takes advantage of buoyancy to support body weight while using water resistance to deliver workouts that strengthen muscles, bones, and joints. While most aquatics take place in pools, there are exercise routines and equipment that bring aquatics to the home hot tub.</p> <p><a href="">Hydrotherapy</a> has come a long way. Today's hydrotherapy is backed by medical science and its benefits are enjoyed by millions of Americans daily, says ThermoSpas.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="7 Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Tubs According to the Experts at ThermoSpas" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lynn Truong</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty Fri, 28 Mar 2014 03:26:29 +0000 Lynn Truong 1133404 at 10 Ways to Get Stronger Bones Without Eating Dairy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-get-stronger-bones-without-eating-dairy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="running" title="running" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bone health is something we all must consider long before we become seniors. Most people reach their <a href="">maximum bone mass between ages 25 and 30</a>. By age 40, we begin to lose bone mass. The loss of bone mass leads to osteoporosis &mdash; a condition that makes bones more brittle and susceptible to breaks. The good news is we can stave off bone loss with healthy lifestyle choices including nutrition and exercise. (See also: <a href="">Great Ways to Get Calcium</a>)</p> <p>One of the key minerals for healthy bones is calcium. Healthy bones also need vitamin D, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin K. While dairy is a wonderful way to make sure we get the calcium and vitamin D we need, there are also many other ways to protect our bone health.</p> <h2>1. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies</h2> <p>Many fruits and vegetables are rich in calcium and the other <a href="">minerals that comprise healthy bones</a>. Calcium is abundant in dark leafy greens (especially kale, collard, dandelion, mustard, and turnip greens) okra, Chinese cabbage, and broccoli. Spinach, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and raisins have healthy doses of magnesium and potassium.</p> <h2>2. Go Fish</h2> <p>Fish are also a great source of calcium and vitamin D, <a href="">though only certain species</a>. The best bets are the fatty fish varieties: sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna. These are even better if they are wild as opposed to farm raised. (See also: <a href="">How to Buy and Prep Fresh Fish</a>)</p> <h2>3. Find Fortified Foods</h2> <p>Many foods are now fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Check your grocery store for fortified juices, cereals, and bread.</p> <h2>4. Try Weight-Bearing Exercise</h2> <p>Exercise is good for our overall health. For exercise to be of maximum benefit to our bones, <a href="">it must be weight-bearing</a>. Walking, jogging, and yoga are weight-bearing exercises, meaning we use our own weight to strengthen the body. Swimming is not a weight-bearing exercise, so it's less helpful for bone health than other options.</p> <h2>5. Cut the Salt</h2> <p>Too much <a href="">sodium leeches calcium from the bones</a>, so limit your intake to less than 2,400 mg or less of sodium per day. As a general rule, avoid foods that have 20% or more of the recommended daily sodium intake. Salt is one of those ingredients that is hidden in a lot of packaged foods, so whole foods you prepare at home can go a long way toward cutting excess sodium from your diet. (See also: <a href="">4 Ways to Eat Less Salt</a>)</p> <h2>6. Supplements</h2> <p>While our bodies most effectively process nutrients in their natural form in food, <a href="">supplements can help</a>, too. Vitamin D and calcium supplements are readily available at most drug stores. Always consult your doctor before beginning a supplement routine.</p> <h2>7. Strengthen Muscles</h2> <p>Our skeletons support our muscles. The <a href="">stronger we keep our muscles</a>, the less stress they place on our bones. Weight-bearing exercise and adding strength building with weights to our workouts can help us keep our entire body strong. (See also: <a href="">Body Weight Exercises</a>)</p> <h2>8. Improve Flexibility</h2> <p>In addition to strength building, <a href="'s-effects-on-bones-and-muscles.html">flexibility also helps maintain bone health</a> by improving our balance and reducing our risk of falls. While many people assume they are either flexible or not, flexibility can be improved over time with practice. Stretching after a workout and yoga are great ways to increase flexibility.</p> <h2>9. Here Comes the Sun</h2> <p>The best way to increase our vitamin D level is to get some sun. In as <a href="">little as 15 minutes</a> a day of sun exposure, your body can produce all the vitamin D it needs.</p> <h2>10. Limit Alcohol, Caffeine, and Cola</h2> <p>Alcohol, caffeine, and cola <a href="">interfere with calcium absorption</a>, so even if we're eating right for bone health, consuming large amounts of these three beverages could negate the nutritional benefits. Limit alcohol intake to no more than two to three drinks per day, drink no more than three cups of coffee or tea per day, and drink cola only in moderation.</p> <p>While our bone density and health has a genetic component, our choices in diet and exercise also have a strong impact on bone strength. By making these changes above, we can stop, and in some cases even reverse, bone loss.</p> <p><em>What are you doing to promote healthy bones? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Ways to Get Stronger Bones Without Eating Dairy" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Christa Avampato</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty bones dairy exercise fitness Fri, 21 Mar 2014 10:36:16 +0000 Christa Avampato 1131913 at 9 Foods That Will Keep You Satisfied for Longer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-foods-that-will-keep-you-satisfied-for-longer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman eating" title="woman eating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the toughest things about working to maintain or lose weight is the constant feeling of hunger. You try to eat less throughout the day, but find yourself <em>starving</em> by the time your next meal comes around. So then you end up snacking, or eating too much when you shouldn't. (See also: <a href="">How to Trick Yourself Into Eating Less</a>)</p> <p>The key to avoiding this problem is to eat foods that help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.</p> <p>Nutritionists and dieticians refer to something called &quot;satiety.&quot; In essence, it's how full a food makes you feel, and how long it takes to digest. Foods with higher satiety factors will prevent you from feeling hungry too soon and will help you cut down on snacking, or overeating at your next meal.</p> <p>The &quot;<a href="">Satiety Index</a>&quot; was created by researcher and nutrition author Susanna Holt, who rated food satiety on a scale with white bread receiving a baseline score of 100.</p> <p>In general, foods that are high in protein tend to have a higher satiety. A little bit of fat also helps. Some of this is common sense. We all probably know from experience that an apple will last longer in your stomach than a donut will. (Guess which one will last longer around your waist.) But there are some foods with staying power that you may not have considered. Here's a good list of foods that will keep you feeling full. (See also: <a href="">Tasty, Frugal Protein</a>)</p> <h2>Potatoes</h2> <h3>Satiety: 323%</h3> <p>I love the versatility of the potato. Have some home fries or hash browns for breakfast and you'll last until noon, no problem. A baked potato for lunch will sustain you until dinner. According to Holt's study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a 240-calorie portion of a boiled potato is more than three times more satisfying than a similar portion of white bread, making it one of the highest-rated foods on the satiety index.</p> <h2>Fish</h2> <h3>Satiety: 225%</h3> <p>The health effects of fish are well known. Lots of vitamins and Omega-3s, while being low in saturated fat. But did you know <a href="">fish will also help you feel fuller</a>, longer? In one study performed by researchers in Sweden, people who ate fish for lunch ate 11% less at dinnertime than other test subjects who ate beef. (See also: <a href="">How to Buy and Prepare Fresh Fish</a>)</p> <h2>Oatmeal</h2> <h3>Satiety: 209%</h3> <p>A big canister of quick oats can be your best friend in the morning. I eat oatmeal every day, and it usually sticks with me all the way to lunch. Add some raisins or even nuts for some extra staying power. Oatmeal has a satiety score of more than 200, meaning it's twice as satisfying as bread.</p> <h2>Beef</h2> <h3>Satiety: 176%</h3> <p>Doctors say you should limit your intake of red meat, but the occasional small steak or burger won't kill you. Beef takes some work for the stomach to digest, so you'll feel nice and full for a while after a meal.</p> <h2>Eggs, Particularly If They Are Boiled</h2> <h3>Satiety: 150%</h3> <p>Packed with protein, eggs can be a great start to your day. You can leave out the yolk and still have about 4 grams of protein in one large egg. I find that if you hard-boil or soft-boil the egg, it will take longer to digest and you won't feel hungry for a while. (See also: <a href="">Perfectly Cooked Eggs</a>)</p> <h2>Beans</h2> <h3>Satiety: About 150%, depending on the bean</h3> <p>Legumes like black beans, lima beans, and kidney beans are filled with protein and fiber, so they'll take a while to digest. A great three-bean salad can be a very satisfying lunch. Beans are inexpensive and filled with other nutrients, too. What more can you ask for?</p> <h2>&quot;Brown&quot; Food</h2> <h3>Satiety: 132% (brown rice), 154% (whole grain bread), 188% (brown pasta)</h3> <p>If you want to eat bread, go for whole wheat or whole grain bread. Brown rice will assuage your appetite better than white rice. And brown pasta will last longer than white pasta.</p> <h2>Cheese</h2> <h3>Satiety: 146%</h3> <p>It's high in fat, so you don't want to eat too much. But higher fat, combined with its high protein, means it will take longer to work its way through your digestive system. (See also: <a href="">5 Easy Homemade Cheeses</a>)</p> <h2>Fruit, Especially Apples and Oranges</h2> <h3>Satiety: 115-200%, depending on the fruit</h3> <p>Fruit is usually packed with protein and fiber that takes a while to digest. But not all fruits digest at the same rate. According to the satiety index, apples and oranges are your best bet. Bananas are hugely healthy, but won't stick with you as long.</p> <p><em>What foods fill you up? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="9 Foods That Will Keep You Satisfied for Longer" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Tim Lemke</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty eating filling food healthy food weight loss Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:30:34 +0000 Tim Lemke 1130859 at Here's the Best Reason to Eat More Chocolate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-the-best-reason-to-eat-more-chocolate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cocoa" title="cocoa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when we gave you <a href="">15 Reasons to Eat More Chocolate</a>? Well, here's an additional reason to snack on cocoa for your health. Chocolate contains polyphenol compounds called &quot;flavonoids,&quot; which are powerful antioxidants found in certain plant nutrients. They work magic by &quot;scavenging <a href="">oxygen-derived free radicals</a>&hellip; [and provide] anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antiviral, and anticarcinogenic properties&quot; to the body. (See also: <a href="">Foods to Add to Your Diet</a>)</p> <p>In simple language, this means they can help detoxify your system. Flavonoids also fight disease and repair any cell damage that has already occurred. And the sources in our diets are innumerable. These rich antioxidants are found in many <a href="">plant-based foods</a>, including blueberries, green tea, grape juice and wine, most vegetables, and &mdash; yes &mdash; delicious chocolate.</p> <h2>Cocoa Content and Recommendations</h2> <p>Experts haven't reached a tried-and-true recommendation for flavonoid intake. They generally suggest consuming anywhere between <a href="">100 to 500 mg a day</a>. Before you grab the nearest chocolate bar, though, it's important to note that not all cocoa products are created equally with regard to their antioxidant content. Some contain much higher concentrations than others, and it can be tricky deciding which chocolates to choose. (See also: <a href="">Health Benefits of Tea</a>)</p> <p>In a <a href="">Database of Flavonoid Content</a> created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we learn that unsweetened baking chocolate packs an impressive 206 milligrams of flavonoids per 100 gram portion. From there, levels decrease somewhat significantly. Dark chocolate contains a little over half that amount (108 milligrams), with flavanol content dropping down to just 15 milligrams in standard milk chocolate.</p> <h2>General Estimates for Popular Cocoa Products*</h2> <ul> <li>Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: 271 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Unsweetened Baking Chocolate: 206 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dark Chocolate Candies: 108 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (processed with alkali): 96 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Dark Chocolate Candies (purchased in Netherlands): 53 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cocoa Mix (powder only): 55 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Milk Chocolate Candies: 15 milligrams<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Chocolate Milk (reduced fat): 1 milligram<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Cocoa Mix (prepared with water): 1 milligram</li> </ul> <p><em>* Totals are the mean Flavan-3-ols and Flavonols combined per 100 grams of edible portion.</em></p> <h2>Choosing Chocolate for Health</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but the raw data tastes a little too technical for my palate. To put this information more simply, the darker the chocolate the better. By far, the easiest way to determine higher flavonoid content is to look at the percentage of cocoa on your food labels. This will allow you to suss out your best nutritional bets, whether it's a general 10% for milk chocolate or 90%+ for the darkest varieties. (See also: <a href="">Turbo-Charge Your Nutrition With Superfoods</a>)</p> <p>Perhaps not surprisingly, &quot;<a href="">processing significantly decreases</a> the amount of healthful antioxidants and flavonoids.&quot; So, those dutch process or alkalized chocolates contain lower amounts of flavonoid than their non-processed counterparts. They'll still work wonderfully in brownie and cake recipes, but not enhance your health terribly much.</p> <p>Want to sneak in the nutrition and chocolatey goodness without all the fat and calories? Try scooping a heaping tablespoon of unprocessed, unsweetened cocoa powder (one of the more flavonoid-rich options) into smoothies, oatmeal, or even Greek yogurt. Alone, the flavor of cocoa can be quite bitter, so I sweeten with a bit of maple syrup or honey to taste. For snacking and dessert, I like dark chocolates with 85% or more cocoa content paired with some red wine (another great source of flavonoids!). (See also: <a href="">Great Reasons to Drink Wine</a>)</p> <p><em>Are you getting enough flavonoids?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Here&#039;s the Best Reason to Eat More Chocolate" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty chocolate cocoa healthy chocolate Thu, 20 Mar 2014 10:09:06 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1131541 at 10 No-Sweat Workouts Perfect for the Workplace <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-no-sweat-workouts-perfect-for-the-workplace" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="exercise" title="exercise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Think you don't have time to get in a good workout today? Think again. Even short exercise sessions of 10 minutes, sometimes less, add up to something big in the end. So, if you're regularly skipping the gym and those longer stints on the treadmill, all is not lost. Try some of these simple moves than can be done in the privacy of your office (or anywhere else you might find yourself during breaks and lunch time). (See also: <a href="">Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h2>Pushups</h2> <p>The cheapest and simplest exercises you can do at work involve your own body weight and nothing else. Start up a basic pushups routine during breaks or lunch, and even motivate yourself to meet a certain number. This <a href="">100 Pushup Challenge</a> is a popular option. (See also: <a href="">20 Body Weight Exercises</a>)</p> <h2>Kettlebells</h2> <p>When done at the gym, kettlebell workouts blast major calories and can leave you pretty sweaty. At the office, you might consider a <em>lighter</em> approach. Pick up a <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008R5HZZI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">10 to 15 pound kettlebell</a> (you can find them in a number of stores &mdash; even the big boxes) and try these <a href="">simple moves</a> that target your whole body.</p> <h2>Core</h2> <p>Bodyweight strikes again with this quiet, but important workout. Our core muscles are responsible for stability and posture, yet we often neglect them. Here are <a href="">6 Core Strengthening Exercises</a> that allow you to stay mostly in place. The best part? The routine can be completed in just 15 minutes! (See also: <a href="">5 Ways to Improve Your Posture</a>)</p> <h2>Yoga</h2> <p>Toss your mat in your car tomorrow and stow it somewhere in your office. You can strike a few of your favorite poses and get in some stretching and strengthening &mdash; as well as some much-needed meditation &mdash; in the middle of a busy workday. If you don't have an office or liberty to wear stretchy pants, consider trying this <a href="">calming chair sequence</a>.</p> <h2>Pilates</h2> <p>If you keep that mat at your desk, you can also do some Pilates moves. This <a href="">core-blasting routine</a> looks tough, but it's totally doable. Again, if you don't have space to do traditional mat work, try this 10-minute <a href="">Pilates chair sequence</a> instead.</p> <h2>Light Weights</h2> <p>Hand weights are another great office exercise tool that you can find most anywhere on the cheap. This <a href="">targeted workout</a> promises tank top arms and takes just 10 minutes to complete. Focus on lower weight (think <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B003P90K58&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">5 to 10 pounds</a>) and good posture to keep soreness at bay.</p> <h2>Biking</h2> <p>No, really. You can actually &quot;bike&quot; inside your office if you pick up one of these handy <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002VWJYSE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">exercise peddlers</a>. The device is simple and discrete, yet allows you to move your body all day long if you wish. And if you have some foot or leg injury, you can also use it as a hand peddler, which gets your blood pumping more than you might think.</p> <h2>Resistance Bands</h2> <p>You can strengthen your entire body using <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0000AJ050&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">resistance bands</a>, making them a perfect option for the office. Here are <a href="">four beginner moves</a>, including flutter kicks, woodchoppers, squats, and bicep curl. A little of everything to keep your muscles guessing.</p> <h2>Stairs</h2> <p>If you'd rather venture out away from your desk, consider heading to a quiet stairwell &mdash; I used to work in a university library, and we had quite a few. That space is just asking you to try this <a href="">awesome stairway circuit</a>. To avoid getting sweaty, take the moves slow, but concentrate on form and engaging your muscles.</p> <h2>Walking</h2> <p>What I love most about walking is that you can find excuses to walk <em>while</em> on the job. Invite a colleague to a walking meeting or take a stroll to ask that question of your coworker in person versus shooting him an email. If you're searching for more cardio, you can sneak in an hour, maybe more, of walking into your day between breaks, lunch, meetings, etc. And recent studies have shown that <a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">sporadic bursts of activity</a> throughout the day might be more effective than steady gym sessions. (See also: <a href="">Why You Should Get Out of Your Office Chair</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you sneak exercise into your workday?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 No-Sweat Workouts Perfect for the Workplace" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty exercise fitness quick workout workout Wed, 12 Mar 2014 11:36:43 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1129552 at 4 Ways to Eat Less Salt Without Losing Flavor <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-eat-less-salt-without-losing-flavor" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cooking" title="cooking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're a foodie or just eating to live, the amount of salt we all use in cooking can easily creep higher and higher over the years. And with <a href="">so many varieties</a> from which to choose, it can be hard to limit sodium whether for certain health conditions, like hypertension, or just as a preventative measure. This isn't new information, but it's an issue many of us, if we're honest, choose to let slide. (See also: <a href="">Healthy Changes You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <p>Now, we all do need <em>some</em> salt in our diets to help our body perform basic functions. However, according to the CDC, the <a href="">latest recommendations</a> state that individuals only <em>need</em> some 1500 mg of sodium per day. Most individuals over the age of two, however, consume 3400 mg of the stuff &mdash; far higher than the recommended upper limit of 2300 mg per day.</p> <p>Monitoring salt content need not be difficult, nor totally disastrous or demoralizing to home cooks. In fact, there's some good news here: Much of the salt intake cited above comes from foods we eat <em>outside</em> the home versus those we make ourselves. With that in mind, here are some tips for gaining more control over the sodium in your diet, all while keeping your meals flavorful and appetizing. (See also: <a href="">Cheap Ways to Add Big Flavor</a>)</p> <h2>1. Use Whole Foods</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, a lot of the salt that creeps into our diets isn't coming from plain table salt itself. Instead, it's the packaged ingredients we use in cooking that contain high concentrations of sodium. Next time you're at the store, flip around those canned soups, vegetables and beans, and other boxed goods to look at their salt content. You might be surprised with what you find &mdash; there's added salt, and lots of it &mdash; in seemingly everything we buy.</p> <p><strong>Suggestion:</strong> A swap with fresh or frozen produce, homemade mixes or other add-ins, and a shift away from using convenience foods (packaged rice mixes, flavor packets, etc.) in cooking will help tremendously. (See also: <a href="">Foods You Should Make Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>2. Swap with &quot;Low-Sodium&quot; Products</h2> <p>If you can't make the switch entirely, even low-sodium counterparts can be a good option and allow you to better gauge the salt content in your meals. For example, I recently took a look around my grocery store and discovered that conventional vegetable broth contains 800 mg of sodium per serving (1 cup) versus its low-sodium counterpart that contains just 140 mg. That's a notable difference. We use a lot of vegetable broth for slow cooker meals, so switching has made a big impact on my family's intake &mdash; and with little sacrifice when it comes to flavor.</p> <p><strong>Suggestion:</strong> Take a stroll around your grocer's aisles and choose the lower-sodium options that meet your nutritional needs. Regular or less salt, be sure to rinse these ingredients before using them to gain even better control over the culinary situation.</p> <h2>3. Sprinkle Spices and Herbs</h2> <p>Fine-tuning dishes goes way beyond salt. Some of the best meals rely more heavily on spices and herbs for their flavor and heat. If you're new to cooking with these tasty add-ins, you'll be pleased to learn that many packaged spices (not to be confused with flavor mixes or packets, which often contain lots of salt) come with recommendations for use. If you're still stuck, check out The Kitchn's handy <a href="">Quick Guide to Every Herb and Spice in the Cupboard</a>.</p> <p><strong>Suggestion:</strong> Stock up on shelf-stable spices and herbs like curry, paprika, coriander, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek, cayenne, black pepper, dried thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, dill &mdash; just to name a few. That way, you'll always have them in a <em>pinch</em>. Venture into fresh territory for a few special meals each week (they tend to be more expensive) and when certain herbs are bountifully in season.</p> <h2>4. Cook More</h2> <p>As tough as it may sound, making more flavorful foods with less salt may have less to do with the actual ingredients than you think. If you start cooking more at home versus going out and ordering sodium-loaded entrees at restaurants, your palate &mdash; with time &mdash; will adjust. The same idea applies to your favorite salted home-cooked favorites. Experts admit that we, as individuals, aren't entirely responsible &mdash; that our salt addiction is culturally induced from decades of more and more processed foods. It can be difficult to kick the routine, so a gradual approach might be the best for long-term change. (See also: <a href="">10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a>)</p> <p><strong>Suggestion:</strong> Aim to dine out one less time this week. Next week, try two fewer meals out. Keep going. Not only will you eat more wholesome, healthy meals, you'll also be saving money to purchase higher-quality ingredients to stock your kitchen (or to use as you please!). The same approach can help your cooking, too. Aim to use less salt each week and, eventually, it won't seem so different anymore.</p> <p><em>Are you making an effort to lower your sodium intake? What are your tips?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="4 Ways to Eat Less Salt Without Losing Flavor" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty reduced salt salt seasoning food Fri, 07 Mar 2014 11:36:32 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1129220 at The 6 Most Important Health Appointments You Must Stop Avoiding <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-most-important-health-appointments-you-must-stop-avoiding" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="eye exam" title="eye exam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Between work, family, and every other personal obligation, you might forget to take good care of yourself. Too many unhealthy foods may creep into your diet; workouts might become few and far between; and doctor visits might be the furthest thing from your mind &mdash; at least until you start to feel sick. (See also: <a href="">How to Feel Better Fast</a>)</p> <p>However, the time to think about your health isn't after you suspect a problem. Just about every medical condition has an early stage, and an early diagnosis can be the key to long-term health and longevity. Not that you should obsess about healthcare or schedule needless doctor visits; but there are appointments that you should make every year.</p> <h2>1. Annual Wellness Checkup or Physical</h2> <p>There is no hard and fast rule regarding how often <a href="">we should get an annual physical</a>. Some in the medical field suggest yearly checkups for everyone, yet others feel that annual physicals aren't necessary until the age of 50.</p> <p>But even if your doctor says that you can go two or three years between physicals, there is no harm in an annual trip. Our health can change quickly and a physical exam can possibly detect hidden illnesses before symptoms develop.</p> <p>For example, your doctor will listen to your heartbeat during the physical, and any irregular sounds might suggest a heart murmur or another cardiac issue. He'll also check your blood pressure and order a series of blood tests which can evaluate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and determine whether your organs are functioning properly. (See also: <a href="">Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a>)</p> <p>Additionally, annual physicals conducted by a primary physician can include gender-specific examinations, such as a clinical breast exam, a Pap smear, and a pelvic exam for women, and a testicular exam for men. This is also your chance to discuss any issues or concerns with your doctor.</p> <h2>2. Eye Exam</h2> <p>If your vision is perfectly clear and you don't have any eye problems, you can probably schedule an <a href="">eye exam every two to four years</a>. However, if you wear corrective lenses, have a known eye problem, or a history of diabetes or high blood pressure, yearly examinations are important for keeping your prescription up-to-date and assessing the health of your eyes.</p> <p>Some eye diseases that cause complete vision loss are treatable if caught early. For example, with an early diagnosis your doctor may be able to slow the progression of age-related <a href="">macular degeneration</a> and perhaps reverse vision loss. The same is true for glaucoma, which is the<a href=""> leading cause of blindness in the United States</a>. The longer it takes to diagnose an eye disease, the greater the risk for permanent damage.</p> <h2>3. Skin Exam</h2> <p>A survey conducted by the Skin Cancer Foundation found that 42% of those polled received a <a href="">sunburn at least once a year</a>. And since it only takes &quot;one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence to double a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life,&quot; annual skin exams by a dermatologist are crucial for diagnosing melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers early. (See also: <a href="">7 Ways to Protect Your Skin</a>)</p> <p>And don't think you're safe just because you've never experienced a sunburn. There is still a risk if you have a family history of skin cancer, or if you have several sizable moles on your body.</p> <p>During the appointment, your dermatologist will examine your body from head to toe and check for suspicious moles &mdash; and if necessary, remove and biopsy questionable skin marks.</p> <p>Although the <a href="">majority of moles are harmless</a>, you shouldn't hesitate to make an appointment with your dermatologist if you're worried about a skin spot, or if a mole changes in size or appearance.</p> <h2>4. Dental X-Rays</h2> <p>Dental cleanings every six months contribute to your oral health. But in addition to regular cleanings, you should schedule dental<a href=""> X-rays about every one to three years</a>, depending on the overall health of your teeth and age. (See also: <a href="">How to Avoid Expensive Dental Problems</a>)</p> <p>For example, adults and adolescents with a low risk for decay can go 18 to 36 months between X-rays, yet it's recommended that those with a higher risk for decay schedule annual X-rays.</p> <p>Dental X-rays are painless and quick. They can help your doctor identify decay that's not visible from an oral examination, as well as reveal bone loss and other abnormalities.</p> <h2>5. Flu Vaccination</h2> <p>You might view the flu as nothing more than a severe cold, but it's much more. (See also: <a href="">Frugal Ways to Treat a Cold</a>)</p> <p>This <a href="">virus is responsible for nearly 36,000 deaths</a> and 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year. And although flu-related complications are higher in young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with a compromised immune system, the virus can kill healthy adults as well.</p> <p>The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone over the age of six months, and it <a href="">offers 90% protection</a>. Although a vaccination is optional, an annual shot can potentially save your life or the life of someone you love.</p> <h2>6. Mammogram</h2> <p>The recommendations for breast cancer screening vary, with some organizations like the National Cancer Institute advocating <a href="">mammograms every one to two years starting at the age of 40</a>.</p> <p>Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast examination every one to three years by a primary care physician or gynecologist, reports Susan G. Komen.</p> <p><em>Are there other annual appointments that you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 6 Most Important Health Appointments You Must Stop Avoiding" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Health and Beauty medical appointments Fri, 07 Mar 2014 10:48:21 +0000 Mikey Rox 1129219 at 10 Surprising Benefits of: Caffeine <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-benefits-of-caffeine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman holding mug" title="woman holding mug" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a society with puritanical roots, and underlying much of our health philosophy is that anything pleasurable is surely bad for our health, our souls, or both. (See also: <a href="">Reasons to Drink Coffee</a>)</p> <p>Especially if it's a drug. In the immortal words of South Park's school counselor Mr. Mackey, &quot;<a href="">Drugs are bad.</a>&quot;</p> <p>So it's no surprise that many of us think of our morning cup of java as a guilty pleasure. It contains a drug: caffeine. The thing is, there's not much to be guilty about, unless you held up a barista to get that latte. Multiple studies have shown that caffeine &mdash; in moderation, of course &mdash; is good for you in a whole host of ways.</p> <h2>1. Caffeine May Ward Off Disease</h2> <p>Studies have linked coffee drinking to the prevention of <a href="">alcohol-related liver disease</a>, <a href="">Parkinson's</a> and <a href="">type 2 diabetes</a>. (See also: <a href="">Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a>)</p> <p>However, not all studies have been able to positively link coffee's benefits to the caffeine. There are lots of other things in coffee, like antioxidants.</p> <p>That said, one study specifically pegged caffeine levels in the blood to Alzheimer's disease; subjects over age 65 with the most caffeine in their bloodstream were the <a href=";CultureCode=en">least likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's</a> or dementia.&nbsp;Even in this study, most of the subjects got their caffeine from coffee, so it still seems possible that the anti-dementia power ascribed to caffeine here could come from some other ingredient in coffee.</p> <p>The well-known Nurse's Health Study, which followed health professionals for 22 to 24 years, found that men and women who consumed more caffeine (mostly from coffee) were <a href="">less likely to develop skin cancer</a>.</p> <h2>2. Caffeine Can Boost Brain Function</h2> <p>Caffeine can't make you smarter, but it can improve focus and increase brain activity. One study showed that <a href="">subjects did better on a memory test</a> after a caffeine dose. Another study used an MRI machine to detect <a href="">higher levels of brain activity after a dose</a>. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Improve Your Memory and Get Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>3. Caffeine Combats the Effects of Sleep Deprivation</h2> <p>Getting enough sleep is important, and you can't completely make up for lost sleep with caffeine. Yet, a jolt of the drug does more than help you stay conscious &mdash; sleepy test subjects really perform better on all kinds of tests after they've had it.</p> <p>A <a href="">military research psychologist remarked</a> that in sleep-deprived subjects, &quot;pretty much anything you measure will improve: reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Caffeine Helps You Stay Awake</h2> <p>You thought I'd forget that one, did you? Although sleep is one of the most important things we need to stay healthy and sane, in some limited circumstances, the most important thing you can do is not sleep. You're on a long night drive? You're a soldier manning a checkpoint? You're a student teacher with 200 exams to grade by 9 a.m. tomorrow? Caffeine is there to help. (See also: <a href="">How to Survive the Graveyard Shift</a>)</p> <p>How does it work? <a href="">Caffeine blocks the chemical adenosine</a>, whose job it is to make you drowsy. Without adenosine to slow them down, your neurons keep right on firing, and you don't feel like shutting down.</p> <h2>5. Caffeine May Fight Depression</h2> <p>Consuming <a href="">caffeine cuts the risk of suicide by 50%</a>, one study found, probably because the drug &quot;may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline,&quot; according to the Harvard Gazette. Researchers were able to link this benefit specifically to caffeine, not just to coffee drinking in general.</p> <h2>6. Even If You're Not Depressed, Caffeine Elevates Your Mood</h2> <p>A biologist's study in 2000 found that test subjects' <a href="">mood improved after a morning cup of coffee or tea</a>. (Your research dollars at work!)</p> <p>Perhaps counterintuitively, <a href="">mild caffeine consumption can even help calm anxiety</a>.</p> <h2>7. Caffeine Charges Up Your Body, Too</h2> <p>When asked about the baseball steroids controversy of the 1990s, Joe DiMaggio said that all he had ever used was &quot;half a cup of coffee&quot; from the clubhouse. It may not be banned in baseball, but caffeine has been shown in study after study to boost both endurance and short-term athletic performance.</p> <h2>8. Caffeine Can Be Medicine</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Caffeine is included in a number of over-the-counter analgesics because it enhances and speeds up these drugs' effectiveness.</p> </li> <li> <p>Caffeine can combat common headaches, which are usually caused by constricting blood vessels around the brain. Caffeine dilates those blood vessels, and research shows this effect <a href="">cures headaches better than ibuprofen</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>The same dilation effect has landed caffeine a spot in <a href="">over-the-counter migraine drugs as well</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Caffeine in combination with painkillers have been proven to <a href="">cure hangover symptoms in rats</a>. Caffeine blocks alcohol byproduct acetate.</p> </li> <li> <p>Parkinson's Disease patients have a slightly easier time <a href="">controlling their movements after taking caffeine pills</a>, one study showed.</p> </li> <li> <p>Theodore Roosevelt is said to have started his &quot;gallon a day&quot; coffee habit to counteract his childhood asthma, and indeed, caffeine has been clinically proven to modestly <a href="">improve lung function in asthma patients</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p>Like other stimulants, caffeine has been shown to have a <a href="">positive impact on ADHD symptoms</a>.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>9. Caffeine Might Help You Lose Weight</h2> <p><a href="">Caffeine stimulates thermogenesis</a> &mdash; the process of burning food for calories &mdash; but the effect probably isn't enough to produce significant weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic. The jury is still out on whether caffeine's appetite suppressing effects actually help people lose weight. (See also: <a href="">Foods That Help You Fight Fat</a>)</p> <p>But hey. When you're trying to eat less and exercise more, ingesting a hot cup of coffee might help you feel satisfied without taking in calories, and if it gives you the energy to hop on your bike and burn calories, all the better. On the other hand, beware of calorie-laden caffeinated drinks like colas, and remember that sleep deprivation causes weight gain.</p> <h2>10. Caffeine Is a Slug-i-Cide</h2> <p>Plants such as the coffee bush use caffeine as a natural insecticide, so it shouldn't come as a shock that researchers in Hawaii found success using a weak caffeine solution to control slugs. But be warned: Too much coffee, tea, or other caffeine-containing liquids can hurt plants, so use with care.</p> <h2>Counterpoints and Caveats</h2> <p>Not everyone agrees that caffeine is a net benefit, and there can almost always be too much of a good thing.</p> <ul> <li> <p>While most caffeine users report various mental and physical boosts due to the drug, it could be that test subjects might have <a href="">developed caffeine dependency</a>&nbsp;and need the drug to return to normal abilities.</p> </li> <li> <p>And the Mayo Clinic says that although the association between caffeine and heart disease for the general population has been wiped away by research, <a href="">the drug can still cause heart problems for some individuals</a>. <a href="">Pregnant and nursing women</a> are advised to limit their consumption of caffeine as well.</p> </li> <li> <p>Probably the biggest danger associated with overuse of caffeine is sleep disturbance. Research is linking <a href="">lack of sleep to more and more health problems</a>, from heart disease to weight gain to depression. So if your caffeine use interferes with your ability to get a good night's sleep, the benefits probably aren't worth that one big drawback.</p> </li> </ul> <p><em>What's your favorite thing about caffeine?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Surprising Benefits of: Caffeine" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty caffeine coffee tea Mon, 03 Mar 2014 11:24:18 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1128214 at 13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-cheap-ways-to-lower-your-blood-sugar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="blood sugar level" title="blood sugar level" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being diagnosed with Type II diabetes can be a bummer, and it can be a struggle to keep blood sugars under control.</p> <p>Sometimes, you may find yourself with blood sugar levels that are higher than normal (let's say around 150, for example), but not excessive enough to necessitate taking more medication. You don't feel very good with the higher blood sugar, but taking medication can make your blood sugar TOO low.</p> <p>So what can you do to lower your blood sugar up to 40 points without taking more medication? Try the following these 13 tips and see if you can lower your blood sugar naturally. (See also: <a href="">How to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes</a>)</p> <p><em>Health Disclaimer</em></p> <p>As always, you need to be careful to monitor your sugar levels so as not to become hypoglycemic (that's when your blood sugar is too low, which is dangerous). Talk to your physician before making any changes to your diet. And remember, these 13 tips for lowering blood sugar may work for many people, but they won't work for everyone.</p> <h2>Carb Intake</h2> <p>Carbs are basically sugar, and everybody should make an effort to control their intake, especially diabetics.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>1. Cut Back the Carbs</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Immediate</p> <p>Your diet is something you want to talk to your physician about, but the simple fact is that a lower carb diet makes it easier to maintain stable blood sugar levels. It's part of why you're hearing so much about the <a href="">Paleo Diet</a> these days.</p> <p>Carbohydrates are found in starchy foods &mdash; root vegetables, grains, rice, and legumes &mdash; and all of their derivatives, like bread, pasta, sushi, French fries, mashed yams, and even lentil soup. As someone who has been diabetic for nearly 20 years, I can attest that eating a diet low in carbohydrates, but rich in leafy greens, nuts, dark fruits like berries, and lean meats has had an amazing effect on my blood sugar control. I get all of the nutrients that I need without consuming grains. It takes a lot more effort to choose low-carb snacks over something as delicious as pie, but it makes a huge difference in the way that I feel. (See also: <a href="">12 Cheap and Healthy Snacks</a>)</p> <h3>2. Spread Out the Carbs</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Immediate</p> <p>For the carbohydrates that you do eat, try to spread them out evenly throughout the day. For instance, if you really love apples, but eating an entire apple raises your blood sugar, simply eat your apple wedge by wedge over the course of a few hours, rather than all at once. The apple will likely raise your blood sugar, but not in a huge spike. If you can keep your blood sugar levels more steady (without big jumps and drops), you'll feel less hungry and grumpy.</p> <h2>Move Around</h2> <p>Exercise helps in the short term by immediately lowering blood sugar, and in the long term helps your body burn glucose more efficiently.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>3. Get Some Light Exercise</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 1 hour</p> <p>Light exercise can lower your blood sugar level, often within minutes. I'm talking about a brisk walk or bicycle ride &mdash; not a long run or weight lifting. I've personally lowered my blood sugar by 40 points with a 20-minute walk. Light exercise is my go-to technique for lowering my blood sugar. (See also: <a href="">Ways to Exercise in Under 5 Minutes</a>)</p> <h3>4. Weight Training</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Long term</p> <p>Strength training may temporarily raise your blood sugar, but over time, it will help you build the kind of muscle that can <a href="">burn glucose more efficiently</a>.</p> <h2>Drink These</h2> <p>Several beverages can bring your blood sugar down quickly, too.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>5. Unsweetened Tea</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 30 minutes</p> <p>Unsweetened black, white, and <a href="">green tea can help lower your blood sugar</a> within as little as a half hour. Green tea supplements also have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. (See also: <a href="">Types and Benefits of Tea</a>)</p> <h3>6. A Glass of Red Wine</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 1 hour</p> <p>Many kinds of alcohol have the effect of lowering overall blood sugar levels (beer may have the opposite effect because of the total carbohydrate content). <a href="">Red wine lowers your blood sugar</a> by preventing the absorption of glucose by the intestines. Keep in mind that alcohol is not an effective long term blood glucose control, because it can contribute to the build-up of liver fat. (See also: <a href="">Best Wine Openers</a>)</p> <h2>Take a Supplement</h2> <p>Lots of people take supplements for long term health benefits, but these will bring down blood sugar relatively quickly.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>7. Cinnamon Pills</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 1 hour</p> <p>Cinnamon has been shown to <a href=";dbid=68">reduce blood sugars</a>, although not effectively in <a href="">post-menopausal women</a>. In order to take enough cinnamon to lower your blood sugar, take it in capsule form. I take approximately 3,000 mg at each meal.</p> <h3>8. Chromium Picolinate</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 1 hour</p> <p>Chromium picolinate has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in Type II diabetics in many studies. Go easy on this particular supplement, though &mdash; it can do damage to your liver if you take too much.</p> <h3>9. Green Tea Extract</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 1 hour</p> <p>If you're not a fan of drinking tea, you can also take green tea extract in pill form.</p> <h3>10. Fenugreek Powder</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within 1 hour</p> <p>Fenugreek is a seed that is used in the production of artificial maple syrup flavors. It's often prescribed to new mothers to help with the production of breast milk. It also slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Although studies showing the <a href=";activeIngredientName=FENUGREEK">fenugreek lowers blood sugar</a> test the actual seed soaked in hot water, I've personally used fenugreek powder capsules to lower my blood sugar. Fenugreek is a laxative, so don't take too much. (See also: <a href="">Guide to Buying Herbal Supplements</a>)</p> <h3>11. Apple Cider Vinegar</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Within several hours</p> <p>Apple cider vinegar has been shown to <a href="">help control blood sugar levels</a> in both pre-diabetic and Type II diabetics. If you don't want to drink a couple tablespoons of it, it also comes in an extract, which can be easier to tolerate. Note that apple cider vinegar takes longer to lower blood sugar levels than other supplements, and may be more effective as a preventative measure than as a reactive one.</p> <h2>Chill Out</h2> <p>And if you can't get your hands on any of the foods, beverages, supplements, and exercise equipment noted above, take a chill pill.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="" alt="" /></p> <h3>12. Scale Back on Stress</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Long term</p> <p>Stressful situations can <a href="">release hormones that will raise your blood sugar</a>. If you are feeling anxious, try relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing to lower your blood sugar. Or go sit in your car and scream until you feel better. (See also: <a href="">Easy Ways to Get Calm Now</a>)</p> <h3>13. Get More Sleep</h3> <p><strong>Effects seen:</strong> Long term</p> <p><a href="">Getting adequate sleep</a> is a good way to help lessen your body's insulin resistance. You might even notice that you have higher blood sugar when you don't get enough sleep. Actually, bad sleep and high blood sugar is a bit of a vicious cycle &mdash; once your <a href="">blood sugars get too high, you don't sleep well</a>, and when you don't sleep well, your blood sugars keep climbing.</p> <p>If you can manage it, scale back on whatever it is that keeps you up late, like watching TV or drinking too much caffeine.</p> <h2>A Quick Note on Internet Diabetes Advice</h2> <p>There are some shockingly irresponsible articles on the Internet (I won't link to them because they don't deserve the clicks) that suggest eating foods like oranges and grapes to lower your blood sugar.This is patently false information. Not only will eating an orange <em>not</em> lower your blood sugar, eating an orange will <em>raise</em> your blood sugar (possibly requiring medication to lower it).</p> <p>Remember, there are no miracle foods that will cure diabetes.</p> <p><em>What do you do when you need to lower your blood sugar?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Natural and Easy Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Health and Beauty articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks Health and Beauty blood sugar diabetes lower blood sugar Thu, 20 Feb 2014 10:36:14 +0000 Andrea Karim 589 at 15 Reasons You Should Eat More Chocolate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-reasons-you-should-eat-more-chocolate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="chocolate" title="chocolate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thanks to Valentine's Day, I definitely find myself snacking on more chocolate than usual (thanks, sweetie!). Do you? It's OK to indulge from time to time. I've discovered that if I choose my desserts wisely, I can take advantage of a variety of little-known benefits that chocolate, particularly dark varieties, provides. (See also: <a href="">14 Valentine&rsquo;s Day Desserts</a>)</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are 15 reasons to eat chocolate for your health!</p> <h2>1. Chocolate Protects the Heart</h2> <p dir="ltr">Researchers became particularly interested in a group of individuals living on the San Blas islands of Panama because they had remarkably <a href="">low incidence of high blood pressure</a> and heart disease. Through experimentation, the scientists discovered their cocoa consumption &mdash; increasing their intake of polyphenols &mdash; was to thank.</p> <h2>2. Chocolate Nurtures Pregnancy</h2> <p dir="ltr">Furthermore, snacking on <a href="">chocolate could help pregnant women avoid preeclampsia</a> by as much as 69%. The &quot;density of theobromine&quot; (a chemical which lowers hypertension) is at play here, which is more concentrated in dark chocolates than in milk chocolates. (See also: <a href="">5 Best Parenting Books</a>)</p> <h2>3. Chocolate Reduces Inflammation</h2> <p dir="ltr">Chocolates that are at least 70% or higher cacao <a href="">contain anti-inflammatory power</a> from chemicals like resveratrol. Less inflammation means a happier, healthier body and mind. (Pairing your treat with some red wine can help even more!)</p> <h2>4. Chocolate Lowers Cholesterol</h2> <p dir="ltr">The antioxidants in chocolate can help <a href="">lower &quot;bad&quot; cholesterol</a> say experts at Cleveland Clinic. However, cocoa in more processed and less concentrated forms often contains saturated fats, which could work against this advantage and actually <em>increase</em> cholesterol levels.</p> <h2>5. Chocolate Regulates Blood Sugar</h2> <p dir="ltr">A widespread myth is that eating chocolate leads to diabetes. While too much (of anything) might not be a good thing, chocolate and other anti-inflammatory foods can actually<a href=""> increase resistance to insulin</a> and aid blood sugar regulation. In some cases these benefits can work to <em>prevent</em> type 2 diabetes. (See also: <a href="">Cheap Ways to Lower Your Blood Sugar</a>)</p> <h2>6. Chocolate Focuses Concentration</h2> <p dir="ltr">Chocolate contains caffeine, which, in moderate amounts, can help with concentration. Experts suggest <a href="">pairing dark chocolate with nuts</a> rich in vitamin E &mdash; another brain-protector for long-term memory loss &mdash; to get the maximum benefit. (See also: <a href="">How to Improve Memory and Get Smarter</a>)</p> <h2>7. Chocolate Fights Depression</h2> <p dir="ltr">The jury is split on this one. Whereas some studies show that chocolate and depression go hand-in-hand, others claim that cocoa has a &quot;<a href="">chemical similarity</a> to a widely used prescription mood-stabilizing drug.&quot; It's a good idea to speak with a professional before self-medicating in any form.</p> <h2>8. Chocolate Wards Off Dementia</h2> <p dir="ltr">Scientists are now thinking that chocolate, particularly hot cocoa, can <a href="">stimulate the brain by increasing blood flow</a>. In a month-long study, seniors who consumed two mugs of hot cocoa each day did &quot;better on thinking and memory tests than those who didn't.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Chocolate Improves Athletic Performance</h2> <p dir="ltr">According to researchers, darker chocolates contain a plant-based compound called epicatechin. This compound &quot;<a href="">stimulate[s] muscle growth</a> in a similar way to vigorous activity such as jogging.&quot; When combined with exercise, chocolate has shown to improve athletic performance by up to 50%.</p> <h2>10. Chocolate Lowers Cortisol</h2> <p dir="ltr">Feeling stressed? Swiss researches have discovered that <a href="">dark chocolate can lower those stress hormones</a> responsible for making you feel crappy. And you only need a moderate amount to do the trick. The chocolate used in the study contained 75 percent cocoa and participants only snacked on 40 grams (about 4 squares from a large bar) each day. (See also: <a href="">20 Free Ways to Relieve Stress</a>)</p> <h2>11. Chocolate Shields Skin</h2> <p dir="ltr">With all those flavonols, chocolate can even help your skin with nasty UV rays. In fact, regularly munching on dark chocolate (the kind richest in antioxidants) provides &quot;<a href="">significant photoprotection</a>&quot; &mdash; though, personally, I wouldn't toss the sunscreen just yet.</p> <h2>12. Chocolate Enhances Libido</h2> <p dir="ltr">Better sex may be in your kitchen cabinet! Dark chocolate &quot;contains a compound called phenylethylamine that releases the <a href="">same endorphins triggered by sex</a>.&quot; Even a 100 calorie serving can help get things going in the bedroom.</p> <h2>13. Chocolate Prevents Cancer</h2> <p dir="ltr">Chocolate also <a href="">packs a dose of cancer-fighting polyphenols</a>. Researchers studied bowel cancer in mice and found notable differences in the extent of the disease with mice fed a diet rich in cocoa. However, experts recommend sticking to modest portions to avoid excess fat and calories, which can actually <em>increase</em> cancer risks.</p> <h2>14. Chocolate Aids Weight Loss</h2> <p dir="ltr">French nutritionist Jean-Michel Cohen says snacking on small bits of <a href="">chocolate can help dieters achieve better weight loss</a> results, all while consuming those healthy flavonoids. In order for this method to work, individuals are encouraged to eat small portions of dark chocolate (10 grams at most &mdash; only a couple pieces) with a bit of bread. (See also: <a href="">Foods That Help You Fight Fat</a>)</p> <h2>16. Increases Longevity</h2> <p dir="ltr">With all these benefits at play &mdash; lessened inflammation, cancer prevention, weight loss, lowered blood pressure, insulin resistance, and more &mdash; chocolate, especially the dark stuff, has been shown to increase life-span overall. So, eat up and live long!</p> <p><em>What's your favorite healthy reason to nibble on chocolate?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Reasons You Should Eat More Chocolate" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Marcin</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty chocolate dark chocolate healthy snacks Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:48:38 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1125542 at 5 Foods That Help You Fight Fat <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-foods-that-help-you-fight-fat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="almonds" title="almonds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Want to know a simple, straightforward way to shed those unwanted pounds? Is your exercise program not getting you the results you want? Try focusing on the food you're eating. After all, what you <em>put into</em> your body is just as important as what you <em>do with</em> your body. (See also: <a href="">12 Foods You Must Add to Your Diet</a>)</p> <p>So here are five foods you should add to your diet in order to fight the fat.</p> <h2>1. Quinoa</h2> <p>Quinoa is a grain that's actually more like a vegetable. It's high in vitamin B12, which is crucial for weight loss. In fact, if you don't get enough B vitamins, weight loss can slow down. That's because your body won't be able to combine nutrients as efficiently.</p> <p>Quinoa's also high in fiber and is a complete protein. And because it's a complete protein, it can be substituted for meat in your diet. (Many meats are high in saturated fat, and saturated fat is a &quot;bad&quot; fat.)</p> <p>Together, the protein and fiber in quinoa can make you feel fuller, which will make you less likely to splurge on fatty junk food. (See also: <a href="">Cheap and Healthy Filler Foods</a>)</p> <p>Finally, quinoa is also low on the glycemic index, which means it won't cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar level. This prevents the overflow of insulin, which tells your body to store extra sugar in your bloodstream as body fat. In other words, stable blood sugar and insulin levels lead to fewer hunger cravings and fewer calories being stored as fat.</p> <h2>2. Soybeans</h2> <p>Soybeans, also known as the &quot;greater bean,&quot; are native to East Asia. They carry several of the same fat-fighting benefits as quinoa.</p> <p>For instance, soybeans are also a complete protein, and recent studies have shown that soy protein helps you <a href=";dbid=79">feel less hungry</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;fuller longer.</p> <p>In other words, eating soy may help you lose weight by causing your stomach to send &quot;I'm full&quot; messages to your brain. This helps you fight the urge to snack late at night &mdash; a major cause of weight gain.</p> <p>Soy, like quinoa, is low on the glycemic index.</p> <h2>3. Almonds</h2> <p>You probably know that almonds are high in fat. So how can they actually help you <em>fight</em> fat? (See also: <a href="">Fat-Filled Foods you Should Stop Avoiding</a>)</p> <p>The answer is not clear, although researchers suggest that a combination of &quot;good&quot; monounsaturated fats, fiber, and protein work together to leave people <a href="">feeling fuller, longer</a>. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which are a &quot;good&quot; fat. An often cited study of 65 obese and overweight people found that a low-fat diet enriched with almonds can help weight loss. The results suggest that an almond-enriched, low-calorie diet can help overweight individuals shed pounds better than a low-calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates.</p> <p>In fact, after six months, those on the almond-enriched diet had greater reductions in not only their weight, but also in their waistlines and their body fat as well.</p> <h2>4. Sweet Potatoes</h2> <p>Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, high in water content, and low in calories &mdash; a triple whammy that'll help you fight fat.</p> <p>Fiber is bulky, taking up a lot of room in your stomach. This keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, which prevents overeating. And of course, by not overeating, you lower the chances of weight gain and increase your ability to fight fat.</p> <p>The high amount of water that is found in sweet potatoes also helps you lose weight. That's because other than bones and fat, your body is mostly made up of water. And your body responds positively when you eat foods that contain lots of water.</p> <p>How?</p> <p>Like fiber, water takes up a lot of room in your stomach. So eating foods that contain a lot of water will make you feel full, which prevents overeating. This helps both in fighting the fat now, and keeping the fat from coming back.</p> <h2>5. Garbanzo Beans (AKA Chickpeas)</h2> <p>Known as the main ingredient in hummus, these beans have long been valued for their fiber. New research has taken things a step further by suggesting that the <a href=";dbid=58">fiber benefits in garbanzo beans</a> may exceed the fiber benefits in other foods. In a recent study, two groups of people received about 28 grams of fiber per day. One group received fiber mainly from garbanzo beans. The other group got their fiber from several different sources. (See also: <a href="">10 Frugal Chickpea Recipes</a>)</p> <p>What was the result? The garbanzo bean group had better blood fat regulation, among other benefits.</p> <p>Also, recent studies have shown a positive relationship between garbanzo beans and weight management. Study participants consumed fewer calories when supplementing their diet with garbanzo beans. They were also found to report greater food satiety, experiencing reduced appetites and increased food satisfaction.</p> <p>The good news with all of these foods is that they are inexpensive, are easy to prepare, and can be readily found at your local grocery store. So now you have no excuses for not including them in your fight against fat.</p> <p><em>Are any of these fat fighters in your diet? Will you be adding some?</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="5 Foods That Help You Fight Fat" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Darren Wu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Food and Drink Health and Beauty fat nutrition weight loss Thu, 13 Feb 2014 11:24:23 +0000 Darren Wu 1125122 at