Bedtime Habits That Ruin Your Sleep

We make bad habits that can set the mood of how we’re going to sleep through the night. Most of these habits, we don’t notice. Who wouldn’t want to get a good night’s sleep? A good night’s sleep doesn’t only improve looks, but it can also make us smarter the next day.

Unfortunately, most of us still don’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night.

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Below you will see reasons why we don’t always get the good night’s sleep that we want.

  1. You eat too much dinner.

Many of us still snack before bedtime or eat our dinners way too late. Large dinners take hours to digest, making it hard to fall asleep. It’s at night where our body shuts down and rests. When you have too much food in your stomach, this can interfere and interrupt with your sleeping pattern. Make lunch your main meal of the day, and limit dinner to fewer than 500 calories.

  1. You have no set bedtime.

It’s important to make rules for yourself and for your body. Even if it’s just “going to bed”, it’s still advisable to  create your own “power-down hour”: You set an alarm for 60 minutes right before you plan to go to sleep. You spend the first 20 minutes finishing up whatever it is you have to finish, and then the next 20 minutes on sleep hygiene such as showering, brushing your teeth. For the last 20 minutes left, relax your mind – you can meditate, read a book, then turn the lights out.  This is an effective way to cool down and unwind your body right after a long day.

  1. You sleep differently on weekends.

The power-down hour includes weekends, unfortunately. Your body would love you if you sleep and wake up at the same time every single day. Your body craves consistency.

  1. You take too much caffeine throughout the day.

Don’t underestimate the power of caffeine. Caffeine lingers in your system for up to 12 hours, so that after-lunch coffee can leave you wide-eyed at bedtime. Caffeine doesn’t always come in coffee – it could also be in your soda or tea. If you plan to drink some tea before bed, make sure it doesn’t have caffeine.

  1. You use your device and other electronics before bed.

Checking your mail, watching too much TV, chatting with your friends online – these are the culprits. What’s worse, these things are done when the lights are off. So the gleaming light of your tablet, smartphone or television are hurting your eyes. All that can prevent your brain from shutting down and can promote insomnia.

You don’t have to deprive yourself from these things, all you have to do is try to limit them little by little. 

We know that bad habits are hard to break, but if you’re consistent and firm about understanding its long-time effects on your health, you can help yourself break them.

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Foods For The Flu

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Feeling under the weather?

Sick with the flu?

Got the sniffles?

Getting your flu shot isn’t the only way you can put a stop to the flu.  Don’t underestimate the importance of good nutrition when it comes to your immune system! But first, you need to find out what foods can do you good.

Ward it off with a flu diet.

Here are what good foods to eat when suffering from the flu:

  1. Citrus Fruits and Juices

Water is optimal, but many people don’t like the basic taste when sick. If you’re one of those, mix it with pure and fresh fruit juices. Add chunks of oranges, lemons, or limes to flavor you water. Citrus fruits contain a powerhouse of nutrients. These fruits can also help flush out the toxins in your body and shorten the duration of your colds.

  1. Milk

Warm milk is soothing when you have the flu. The vitamin D found in milk can build strong bones, and defend against heart disease. To sum it all up, vitamin D can strengthen our immune system. Getting your daily dose of vitamin D may keep colds at bay.

  1. Dark Chocolate

You’re lucky if you love dark chocolate! Nutrition experts agree that dark chocolate deserves a place in healthy diets. It deserves to be in eaten when you’re sick! High doses of cocoa support your immune system to defend against infection. Plus, it can boost happy hormones, it will make you feel better.

  1. Almonds

This is also one of the best snacks out there, not only when you’re sick. Heart-healthy almonds provide the immune-boosting antioxidant vitamin E, which can reduce your chance of catching colds. If you’re feeling very sick, you’ll need more serving of almonds for your daily dose though.

  1. Chicken Soup

The all-famous cure for coughs and colds – don’t forget about chicken soup. It’s not a myth. Studies have proven many times throughout the years that chicken soup really does have healing properties. A steaming bowl of soup (yum!) “reduces mucus and facilitates coughing it up.” Add some vegetables in it to get the anti-inflammatory and other health benefits of produce too! When you’re sick, believe in soup!

When you’re sick, you just want to make ways on how to get better. While it’s always important to consume a well-balanced diet with plenty of colorful fruits and veggies, lean protein, fiber-rich grains, and some low-fat dairy foods, consider these foods too! It’s particularly important to support recovery from illness – and these might just do it for you.

Men’s Health: Best Foods For Men

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You know how women need particular vitamins and minerals during pregnancy and protection for breast cancer? Men, too – have their particular nutrient requirements that can help them maintain muscle strength; prevent prostate cancer, and more.

These are foods for men to become stronger, healthier, and leaner than ever!

Here are the four best foods for men

  1. Wild-Caught Salmon

Vitamin D deficiency may have a say to erectile dysfunction (ED). Men need their vitamin D to get help minimize the risk for ED by helping to reduce vascular damage caused by inflammation. Also, they have omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against heart disease, the top killer of men in the U. S.

  1. Oysters

Oysters, the food of love, it’s true that just a few oysters each day will deliver a full day’s supply of the antioxidant mineral zinc. Zinc is involved in hundreds of body processes, from producing DNA to repairing cells. Some men need to add zinc to their diet, why? Because sperm count is linked to your diet. Low zinc levels translate into lowered sperm counts. Zinc can enhance that.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are good for all human beings. Men can get more than enough energy and strength from bananas since they are rich in potassium. So enjoy a banana each day, at breakfast on your whole grain-cereal or before your workout at the gym.

  1. Coconut water

Coconut water is part of the list because it helps maintain electrolyte imbalance, reduces risk of hypertension and stroke, helps replace fluid loss and helps prevent diarrhoea its enriched with magnesium, potassium, manganese & Vitamin C. It’s said to be an ultimate sports drink.

Being human needs a lot of maintaining and avoiding to do.

As women may have their own disease, men may theirs too – erectile dysfunction, muscle recovery after exercise, depression, cognitive impairment, infertility, loss of sperm and more — include these foods to  help protect you from men’s health issues. No matter how old you are, both men and women have to do their part in keeping healthy.

Athletes: Foods That Should Be Avoided

Athletes see each meal as an opportunity to recharge and refuel – while the best foods for athletes aren’t obvious, the worst foods are harder to identify. There are some foods that athletes should never eat because they know the wrong foods can affect their performance. A disastrous diet is more likely to set you back and have a negative effect.

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These are the most common foods that athletes won’t touch.

  1. Sodas

Whether it may be a coke diet or a coke zero, sugar-sweetened beverages are something to keep to a minimum. Not only do they offer no health benefits, but consuming artificially sodas and some carbonated drinks can even cause them to gain weight – and that’s the last thing they want.  

  1. White Bread

It has been known for a long time that white bread and refined grains in general aren’t nutritious. This is because refined white flour is made from stripping the fiber, wheat germ, and essential B vitamins from the wheat kernel, leaving nothing left but just a highly processed food product. It’s also very low in fiber.

  1. Alcohol

No athlete would excessively consume alcohol. An occasional drink is fine for special occasions, but not when someone is serious about their training. Muscle health is the key to flourishing athletic performance, and studies have shown that alcohol can rob you of your hard work in the weight room. Too much booze slows muscle recovery, impairs motor skills, and decreases strength and sprint performance.

  1. Protein Bars and Energy Bars

You may be thinking, “isn’t that what they need?” Well, nope. Protein bars and energy bars are quick and convenient, but are highly processed. Don’t think that these bars can do for your bodies, because they’re won’t – as some protein bars contain as much as 8 grams of saturated fat. There are many other foods that can be sources of protein and energy.

  1. Cereals

A healthy cereal should supply you with a bowl full of nutrition: low calories, high fiber, high protein and packed with vitamins and minerals. Some cereals contain immeasurable amounts of sugar. Too much sugar also causes a spike in insulin, priming your body to store more fat.

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An active person’s diet should contain generally contain whole foods, such as lean meats, low-fat dairy, different types of fish, fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. It doesn’t mean that you should never eat what’s written on the list above, but what’s important is that the majority of your diet should be based around nutrient-dense foods.

Your eating habits and diet dictate how you perform, and there are certain foods you should avoid for optimal performance.

Athletes: Foods That Athletes Should Eat

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Elite athletes aren’t always as strong as they are because of the training they do. Sometimes, it’s the food they eat that put them right at the peak.

Athletes are always moving in full force, strength, and energy – from basketball, to volleyball, swimming, triathlons and marathons – if you work out, or if you’re someone who lives a physically active lifestyle – you’re part of the list. A good diet can vastly fuel endurance in highest intensities. The quality and quantity of the food you consume is important. For short, certain foods are needed for athletic performance – what you eat and drink has its effects.

Here are the best foods for athletes before they start doing what they do:

  1. Oatmeal

Every athlete needs their oats! If you’re an athlete, you need complex carbohydrates and protein. Oatmeal here, has a high soluble fiber content and complex. It’s also a good source of protein and has a low glycemic index, providing a sustained release of energy into the bloodstream.

  1. Pasta

Pasta for athletes? Yes. We are taught to hate carbs – but carbs are an athlete’s main fuel. Protein is important for building muscle, and carbohydrates are still the single most important component of an athlete’s diet. Using whole wheat pasta definitely increases your fiber intake and helps to regulate blood sugar.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are one of the best pre- and post- workout snacks. At about 100 calories a piece, bananas are a great source of easy-to-digest sugar and natural electrolytes. Bananas are a perfect fuel for athletes because they not only provide the carbs your muscles need they have the antioxidants that may help speed recovery.

  1. Eggs

Eggs, along with oatmeals, can be a great breakfast dish for athletes. Eggs are easy to blend, cook and scramble with other foods, and are high in fat-soluble vitamins, choline, folate, selenium, lecithin, iodine, and omega-3 fatty acids (3). One large egg provides about 6 grams of protein, and two egg whites contain about 7 grams of protein, according to the USDA.

  1. Water

Of course, water is probably the most important. Athletes should be consuming .5 to 1 ounce of H2O per pound of body weight every day. Water regulates your body temperature and lubricates your joints, helping it transport needed nutrients for energy. Whether you’re a serious athlete or a recreational exerciser, it’s important to make sure you get the right amount of water before, during, and after exercise.

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These top foods for athletes have been proven and tested to give them better endurance at their performances. Diet and discipline are keys in achieving of optimal performance.

Athletes must fuel their bodies with the appropriate nutritional foods to meet their individual energy requirements.

The human body, like any machine, needs high quality fuel in order to function at its very best.

How about you? What do you like to eat during your work outs, marathons, or games? We’d love to hear it! Comment below to share your thoughts.

Bad Breath: Do Not Eat These!

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It’s not surprising to know that some foods can cause and even worsen bad breath. 

Bad breath can directly affect the people around you, and no one wants to be the one with unpleasant breath. There are some other tips that can help control bad breath. Bad breath, clinically known as halitosis, can be caused by a number of foods and ingredients. There are foods that promote good oral health, and there are those that do not.

Everyone knows about the effects foods like garlic and onions (which is why, of course, they are on the list) have on our breath. Here are the top foods that can cause and worsen bad breath:

  1. Garlic

What else could be on the top list? Garlic does good to our food, but not to our breath. Garlic is traditionally the king of stinky foods. When your body digests garlic, it absorbs allyl methyl sulfide into your bloodstream, which is transferred to the lungs and then to the air straight away surrounding the person you’re talking to. The smell is even harder to get off even after brush.

  1. Tuna

Tuna is the fishiest of all fishes and one of the most pungent things people eat. For many people, tuna fish is a delightful treat. That sour, fishy smell happens when seafood starts to oxidize – a common result of canning processes.

  1. Onions

It’s no surprise that onions are also on the list! Onion contains a special sulfur-like acid, that contributes to  bad breath. Just like garlic, when raw onion is digested, the odor molecules reach the lungs via the bloodstream, and give rise to foul onion breath when you exhale.

  1. Curry

While curry might be one of the healthiest and most scrumptious spices in the world, it’s also the offender behind so many cases of halitosis.

  1. Coffee

We all know a cappuccino can leave a strong taste in the mouth. But it’s the dehydrating effect of the caffeine, combined with milk remains fermenting in your mouth, which causes the stink. It has effects that decrease saliva, allowing bacteria to flourish inside your mouth.

  1. Alcohol

Alcohol, for the most part: beer, can cause some serious stinky breath. Alcohol dries out your mouth which opens up the opportunity for bacteria to breed. Moreover, alcohol goes in your blood, seeping through your pores and sweat glands, giving you an attractive alcohol aura for all to smell.  It also doesn’t simply go away by brushing teeth.

To battle bad breath after eating any of the above foods, try drinking lots of water to fuel up both saliva production and help to rinse away lingering bacteria or food that’s causing the smell. 

Along with being aware about the causes and the prevention of bad breath, avoiding these foods can also help you in the long run of fighting and avoiding it.

Bad Breath: Fight It With Food!

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There are many causes of bad breath – and it’s no surprise that certain foods can keep your mouth fresh.  Bad breath is something we can take steps to prevent, by cleaning our mouths and being careful of the foods we eat but basically, a combination of diet and dental hygiene is the best defense against bad breath.

Again, you may want to take a look at your diet.

Here’s a compiled a list of the best foods that will help you fight away halitosis.

1. Strawberries

Strawberries, like many other fruits, are high in water content, and will put off dry mouth. They’re also very high in vitamin C, and will create an environment hostile to those bacteria and germs that cause halitosis. In addition to that, the fast healing process of Vitamin C will boost our immune system, too.

2. Parsley and Basil

Parsley and basil help kick garlic breath (and worse breaths). Combine garlic and either basil or parsley in the same dish, such as making a pesto dish or salads, so the the polyphenols (compounds that act like antioxidants) in these two herbs will pwoerfully break down the sulfur compounds in bad breath.

3. Ginger

Ginger is an ancient remedy for upset stomachs and morning sicknesses, which can lead to halitosis. While it’s great for settling the stomach, ginger also has the powerful effect of neutralizing bad breath.  There’s almost nothing a ginger can’t do when it comes it to health!

4. Tea

Suffering from bad breath… Try a cup of tea. Studies suggest that drinking unsweetened black or green tea may help ward off bad breath. Both types of tea contain antioxidants called polyphenols (also found in parsley and basil as mentioned above) that can help destroy the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.

5. Lemon

Chew a piece of lemon for a mouth- freshening burst of flavor. The citric acid will stimulate the salivary glands—and fight bad breath. Or you can squeeze lemon juice into a glass of water, using it as a mouth wash.

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Incorporating nutritious foods into your diet will help eliminate bacteria in your mouth as well as flush out the toxins from your body, but along with a practice of good oral hygiene, you are bound to get the quickest results.

In rare cases, bad breath can be attributed to stomach disorders, so it’s best to talk to your doctor if the problem persists after making some of these diet changes.

Bad Breath: Ways To Prevent It

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Previously discussed, the causes of bad breath are not mysterious: poor dental hygiene, some food and drinks, dental cavities, gum disease, crash dieting, and smoking are among the most common.

For many people, grabbing a mint or a piece of gum is their go-to solution, as it rapidly masks the problem. But in some cases, no matter how a person tries to clean and brush their teeth, the bad breath just stays.

The reality is that bad breath can be caused by some health conditions, foods and even habits.

Did you know that bad breath can be treated with the help of some natural remedies? Some of them may even be readily available ingredients from your kitchen cupboard. Keep reading to find out below.

  1. Water

Believe it or not, dehydration is one of the most common causes of bad breath. Water can also contribute to warding off bacteria when drinking sufficient amounts. In order for your body to produce enough bacteria-fighting saliva, you must be drinking plenty of clean, fluoride-free water throughout the day.

  1. Salt Water Gargle

Gargling and thoroughly rinsing one’s mouth with a strong salt solution can work wonders for bad breath symptoms. This combination helps get rid of bacteria even from your throat and tonsils,

  1. Peppermint

Ever noticed how many types of toothpaste contain peppermint? Peppermint has the ability to give the mouth a fresh, clean feeling. Essential oils from peppermint (real peppermint, not flavoring) does much more than create a fresh feeling.

  1. Eucalyptus

Also being used for different types of toothpastes, eucalyptus was found to eliminate mouth malodor by significantly reducing volatile sulfur compounds (the ones that make your breath wretched). [10] The success of eucalyptus in this study demonstrated that its cleansing effects worked both in the lab, as well as in practice.

  1. Baking soda

Yep, baking soda knows the trick, too. Try rinsing your mouth with water and baking soda in the morning or at any time you would like to freshen your breath. Considering that it is a famous “mopper-upper” of bad or persistent odours, baking soda rinses (while less inexpensive than salt) should have a similarly or even stronger positive effect.

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These herbal  and natural remedies have been used medicinally for centuries and most likely have done none to very little harm. So the only thing you have to do is see if it works well on you, since our bodies all vary from each other. Trial and error is a matter of patient and determination on treating bad breath.

If you have really bad breath, it’s very likely that your body has reached toxic levels. You might want to consider a colon cleanse and then move on to doing a liver cleanse, or better yet, consult your general physician.

Bad Breath: What Causes It?

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It’s a myth that as long as you brush your teeth, you shouldn’t have bad breath.

Bad breath, or halitosis, is characterized by an unpleasant odor of the mouth. Bad breath can be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other insanitary lifestyle habits.

Bad breath odors vary, from person to person, cause to cause. You see, some people worry too much about their breath even though they have little or no mouth odor, while others have bad breath and don’t know it. Because it’s difficult to assess how your own breath smells,

Bad breath can be embarrassing and tough on those around you, it can affect your self-esteem as well as your self-confidence.

So what causes bad breath? Here are some factors that may be its underlying cause:

Poor dental hygiene. The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth and if not brushed away, plaque can aggravate your gums (gingivitis), contributing to bad breath. Also, dentures that aren’t cleaned on a regular basis or don’t fit as it should be can cause bad breath.

Food and drinks. Eating strongly flavored foods – namely garlic, onions and spices – is likely to make your breath smell – but it doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Same goes with strong-smelling drinks – such as coffee and alcohol. Bad breath caused by food and drink is usually momentary, and can be avoided by not eating or drinking these types of food and drink too often. Good dental hygiene will also help.

Dry mouth. Saliva helps rinse out your mouth, removing particles that may cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and is made worse if you sleep with your mouth open.

Crash dieting. Fasting and low-carbohydrate diets can also cause bad breath. These cause the body to break down fat, which produces chemicals called ketones that can be smelt.

Smoking. The smoke itself that is put into your mouth already makes it obvious that it can affect your breath. Smoking can also stain your teeth, irritate your gums and lessen your sense of taste.

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Maintaining good oral health and limiting things that aren’t good for it are necessary to reducing and prevent bad breath. Make sure to also schedule regular dental visits for a dental cleaning and checkup but it’s you who must turn to your food and lifestyle to completely address this condition.

Brush thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, and brush your tongue, too.

Talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about bad breath.

References:

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/bad-breath/article/ada-03-what-causes-bad-breath

http://articles.mercola.com/bad-breath.aspx

The Health Benefits of Meditation

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Meditation is like a seed. When you cultivate a seed with love, the more it blossoms.

The thought that mindfulness and meditation can bring compassion, focus, and joy is thousands of years old. Thankfully, experts have bounced back to it.

We’ve all heard that “meditation is good for you”, but good in what terms?

Meditation, in a way, is like exercise for our mind. It’s been known to assist in mental health maintenance, improve our memory, empathy, and sense of self — similar to how exercise boosts our resilience, muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and blood pressure/cholesterol. It’s almost like our minds have their own bodies, which need to be exercised too.

Here’s what exercising the mind can do to our body:

Immunity

Relaxation boosts immunity in recovering cancer patients. Progressive muscular relaxations, when practised daily, abridge the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Relaxation exercises boost natural killer cells in the elderly, giving them a greater resistance to tumors and to viruses.

Blood Pressure

Meditation lowered blood pressure by making the body less receptive to stress hormones, in a similar way to blood pressure-lowering medication.

Emotional balance

Emotional balance means to be at no cost of all the neurotic behavior. This is very hard to achieve fully, but meditation surely is the way to cure such neurosis and unhealthy emotional states.

Calmness

The simple difference between those who meditate and those who do not, is that for a meditative mind the thought occurs but is witnessed, while for an ordinary mind, the thought occurs and is the boss.

Other benefits also include:

  • Meditation helps reduce symptoms of panic disorder
  • Mindfulness meditation helps treat depression in mothers to be
  • Meditation improves your focus, attention, and ability to work under stress
  • Meditation improves learning, memory and self-awareness
  • Meditation relieves pain better than morphine
  • Mindfulness practices decreases depression
  • Meditation helps manage ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Meditation helps reduce alcohol and substance abuse
  • Meditation prevents you from falling in the trap of multitasking too often
  • Meditation improves your mood and psychological well-being
  • Meditation reduces stress and anxiety in general
  • Meditation prepares you to deal with stressful events
  • Mindfulness training decreases inflammatory disorders
  • Meditation and meditative prayer help treat premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms
  • Meditation helps us allocate limited brain resources

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Meditation can wipe away the day’s stress, bringing with it serenity and resilience. Inner peace does so much more for our body than we think.

Meditation can help to resolve the deepest of neuroses, fears and conflict which play their part in causing stress and ill health.

If you’re a beginner, practicing meditation will be easier if you’re in a silent spot with a few distractions, including no television, radios or cellphones. From there, you can center all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.

You can experiment, and you’ll likely find out what types of meditation work best for you and what you enjoy doing.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858?pg=2

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation/objectives.aspx