Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
Over the last few days, there has been a sort of uproar over some news about sunscreen that has recently come to light. In fact, this news was surprising enough to trend on Twitter and be one the top searches on Google. The news is this: SPF may be misleading. In fact, dermatologists have recently found it difficult to distinguish the benefit of SPF 50 versus SPF 100. This may not surprise you at all. Admittedly, I wasn’t that surprised. My dad has always said, for as long as I can remember, that SPF 50 or higher wasn’t any different from an SPF 30 or 40. So, I was not really ruffled by this news, but it has many people worried that they have been hoodwinked by the makers of sunscreen.
The implication for buying a sunscreen that has a higher SPF is that it could keep you protected in the sun for twice as long as a sunscreen that has an SPF of 50. That isn’t true at all. In actuality, SPF 50 is only around 1% less effective than one with SPF 100. Both would need to be applied every few hours and after sun exposure or after being in the water. Some consumers may have been inclined to purchase a more expensive name brand that boasted misleading SPF rating rather than selecting the less expensive brands.
As a parent, I have purchased sunscreen for my child that has the highest SPF for the lowest price. Some sunscreen tends to be very expensive and may offer the same protection as a less expensive option. It seems to be proven that any sunscreen that has a rating of SPF 50 is as effective as you can buy.
It is also important that you are careful about selecting one that says that it is “waterproof”. No sunscreen can be truly waterproof and it is always a good idea that you reapply every few hours.
Ultimately, it is important that you select sunscreen that you trust. You can buy whatever SPF is best for your family, but make sure that everyone puts on another coat every few hours. There are lots of options–sweat proof, waterproof, sensitive, natural, etc. It may take a little research to find which sunscreen is best for your needs. And whatever SPF you choose, you are doing your skin a favor by protecting yourself from harmful rays.
Friday, May 17th, 2013
There is an underlying misconception that women can eat whatever they like when they are pregnant. People might say things such as, “Oh, you can eat that third piece of cake! You’re eating for two!” The truth is, there is never a more important time to eat the right way because your health directly effects the health of your unborn child.
Pregnant women need a host of vitamins on a regular basis, such as a prenatal vitamin with iron, folic acid, calcium, and other nutrients. Most of these are ingested in a well balanced diet, but most doctors recommend that pregnant women take a prenatal supplement. As always, consult with a doctor if you are concerned about your nutrition, even if you are not pregnant.
Fortunately, there are many things that you can add to your diet to further ensure your health and that of the baby.
Try at all costs to eat as healthy and fresh as possible. Cravings not withstanding, try to pass on fried foods and foods containing artificial dyes and flavorings. If you can afford it, meats that are naturally farmed and processed, with no added hormones, are best.
Probiotics can be a good addition to a pregnancy diet, especially if you are having tummy troubles that can pop up during pregnancy. There are many natural sources of probiotics if you wish to simply add them to your diet. They can be found in naturally fermented products such as kefir and yogurt. There are many options of probiotic supplements.
Healthy fats should be a part of every one’s diets, especially pregnant women. These healthy fats are found in butter, olive oils, avocados, nuts, eggs, and meats. Eating these are good for many systems, such the digestive system. It can also be beneficial for the development for baby’s brain and organ development.
Folate is necessary for baby’s development and is typically found in most prenatal supplements. It is a good idea to try to eat some of these good sources of folate as well, including: spinach, other dark leafy greens, liver, and some types of seeds and nuts.
It is not bad to give into the occasional pregnancy craving. Pregnant women should enjoy their growing appetites and bodies. It is important to eat mostly healthy foods, take such supplements as recommended by a doctor, and enjoy an occasional treat. These things should make for a healthy pregnancy.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
It is not an understatement to say that losing weight can be hard. I saw an inspirational poster recently that said something like the following, “It takes two weeks of diet and exercise for you to feel results. It takes four weeks to see the results in your own body. And it takes eight weeks or more for others to realize that you’ve been losing weight.” While that may sound discouraging, I don’t think it is. Personally, that is motivation for me to keep going and not to give into temptation. Especially, after I’ve taken a “break” from eating right and exercising!
I just returned from a wonderful vacation. I have a personal rule about trips; I will eat what I want, when I want to eat it, as long as I commit to myself to exercise and eat right the weeks before and after a trip. I am back home this week, trying to fight off the post-vacation weight gain. Here are some of my personal tricks to getting healthier after a trip:
1. Get back into a routine as quickly as possible. I like to get back to normal as quickly as possible after a trip. I immediately begin to eat my regular breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit to start my day off on the right track. I try to start exercising again as soon as possible, usually the day I return if I can.
2. I go to the grocery store at the first opportunity. By doing this, I can re-stock on healthy items such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I do not by any “special treats” right away, usually because I have been eating plenty of treats while I was away.
3. Plan for a very healthy menu for at least a week. I try very hard to plan nutritious, healthy meals for at least a week after we get home. We are typically only semi-strict with our meals, but we will spend a week “detoxing” from all the rich foods we have been eating.
4. Wake up early. I mentioned getting back into a routine, but I think it’s important to get your body adjusted to the correct time zone as soon as possible. When you are off schedule, you feel sluggish, are tempted to eat at odd times, and may reach for fattening snacks out of fatigue. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and keep loving. Pretty soon you will feel back to normal!
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Photo Credit health.howstuffworks.com
Is your body talking? No, I’m not talking about body language, I mean the signs and symptoms that your body uses to tell you that something is wrong. Do you have the same nagging issues on a regular basis? Even if they are minor, such as a small headache after lunch or excessively brittle nails, these little issues can be signs of other issues. Do not ignore your body–it may be talking to you!
In a recent article from Woman’s Day magazine, there are several signs that could be indications that there are other underlying issues. Some may surprise you!
-Regularly bad breath–If you find that you are constantly popping mints or reaching for gum, you may have an allergy. It sounds crazy, but if you are allergic to something that can cause nasal drainage, it may cause bad breath over time. You may want to consider asking a doctor for advice and possibly an allergy medication.
-Headaches that won’t go away–Nagging headaches that pop up on a regular basis, or seem to come around almost every day, could be a tell-tale sign that you need more exercise. Take a walk and see if the oxygen circulation helps you feel better. It could also mean that you are dehydrated and should drink more water.
-Continual cough–An annoying cough with no other symptoms of sickness could mean that you could have acid reflux. Try an antacid tablet, chew some gum, or seek a doctors help to resolve this simple issue.
-Always breaking a nail–Men may not notice this as often because iron deficiency is more common in women, but it can cause brittle nails. Have your iron levels checked if you are seeing this brittleness or consider using a multivitamin with extra iron.
-Body cramps, especially in feet–Believe it or not, buy that “Charlie horse” that you’ve been feeling could be caused by dehydration. The body does funny things when it needs water, so drink up!
–Embarrassing dandruff–If your scalp has been dry and it has been “snowing” on your suit, you could have a thyroid problem. When the thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can halt natural oil production in the skin. This causes flakiness. Consult with a doctor and use a dandruff shampoo.
As always, if your symptoms are severe or you have concerns about your health, seek the advice of a medical professional.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Summertime is a wonderful season. People go on vacation, kids are out of school, and the extra daylight hours allow more time to play and enjoy the great outdoors. Because of the increased heat, dehydration becomes a risk factor as does sunburn and tiredness. The good news is that being healthy in the summer season is not difficult to do.
Drink lots of water to stay well hydrated. By drinking an increased amount of water during the summer, you may be able to combat the headaches and sluggish feeling that comes along with the higher temperatures. Drink at least sixty-four ounces of water per day and see if that helps you feel better and have more energy.
Summer is berry season and many varieties of delicious berries will be cheaper at your neighborhood grocery store. Stock up on these and enjoy the bounty of the season. There is a good reason that these types of fruits are in season during the hottest months of the year. These berries are chock full of antioxidants which can aid several systems in the body. So eat up!
Another way that you can be healthier in the summer is to protect yourself from the sun as much as possible. This can mean avoiding being outside during the hottest hours of the day. If you must be outside during this time, adequately apply a sunscreen with a high SPF to prevent sunburn and stave off certain types of skin cancers. Also, a good pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful sun damage that can occur from exposure to harmful rays from the sun.
Make sure that fear of sun damage doesn’t keep you from being outside and enjoying the sun. People that spend enough time outdoors are healthier. The longer days means that you can have several hours in the afternoons and evenings, when the temperatures have cooled off, to run, jog, hike, garden, or take a walk. Just be sure to take proper sun protection precautions and you can have peace of mind while enjoying the outdoors.
The summer may be the best time of year if you take care of your health during the hot months. The produce during this time of year is fresh and less expensive, so eat for better health while enjoying the wonderful weather. Staying healthy is the key to enjoying each season, especially the summer months!
Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
You might be working out on a regular basis, eating well, and drinking lots of water but still not seeing the desired results. In a article (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/04/3 … r-workout/) from Fox News Health, it is pointed out that the issue may not be what you are eating, but when you are eating it.
If you eat a pre-workout snack before you head to the gym or out for a walk, try to eat a minimum of an hour before you exercise. Do not eat too much because it may upset your stomach during a workout. Drink lots of water leading up to exercise because hydration should start before you start working out. In fact, if you are not properly hydrated, you may not see the results that you wish to see. Lots of water is good for many areas of your body, including your physique.
For those wishing to increase muscle mass, eat lean proteins and healthy fats before you work out. Almonds, avocado, and lean meat are good examples of a pre-workout meal. Caffeine is also good before a workout, but try not to drink soda because the carbonation may upset your stomach during a rigorous workout.
Carbs and sugars are not good pre-workout for many reasons. They may make you feel sluggish and tired instead of energized. Stick to coffee or tea, lean protein, and lots of water to prime your body for a good workout. These are good choices overall, even if you aren’t working out.
Post workout you may consider a drink or a small meal to feed your muscles. Stick to good carbohydrates and lean protein. A good ratio is one gram of protein for every gram of carbohydrates post workout. Also, by adding in greens, such a kale or a spinach smoothie with berries is a good addition to lean protein after a hard workout.
If you want to focus primarily on fat loss, work out first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten. Eat breakfast after the workout and eat lean protein and good vegetables throughout the day. This is a great way to jump start your fat loss if that is man goal of your workout routine.
By eating well and in the correct ways, you can get a more out of your workout.
Monday, May 6th, 2013
I have long been a fan of chiropractic medicine. I have a “bowed” lower back and have experienced back pain since I was very young. My parents had a family friend who is a chiropractor and I made regular visits to him growing up. There are some who are skeptical about the benefits of chiropractic medicine but I am here to tell you, beside feeling great, there are some proven benefits to having your back manipulated.
Regular visits to a chiropractor can ease back pain and can reduce unhealthy stress on certain muscles. Besides this, it can also reduce your stress and elevate feelings of happiness, well-being, and overall health. When your back is properly aligned, it can lead to a more active lifestyle simply because of feeling better and having more energy.
A chiropractor can also help with certain types of joint pain and many practices offer therapeutic massages for additional relief. By easing the pressure in your neck and back, a chiropractic doctor can help relieve chronic headaches, neck pain, back aches, and stiff joints or joint pain.
If you sit at a computer for extended amounts of time, you could benefit from an adjustment from the chiropractor. If you are an athlete that exposes your joints and back to impact from running, you could benefit from a chiropractor. If you are having regular pain in your back, consider a visit to a chiropractor for an invasive treatment that could help you avoid surgery or prolonged therapy.
My pre-existing back pain coupled with pregnancy left me in a state of constant back pain. A few regular visits to the chiropractor made the last few months of my pregnancy bearable. This special kind of doctor can offer you advice on sleeping positions and the best mattress and pillows for your neck and back. They can also advise you on certain types of homeopathic solutions to certain health issues. These doctors are well-educated and must attend school and receive extensive training before they can treat patients. So rest easy, a chiropractor is well-suited to treat many health issues.
Seriously consider a visit to a local chiropractor for back pain and muscle aches and pains. A visit is short, completely non-invasive, and painless. Besides the immediate relief that you should feel, you can save money and precious time by trying this first before considering more invasive means of treatment.
Friday, May 3rd, 2013
“The Dirty Dozen” may sound like something out of a mobster movie, but it’s actually referring to the produce aisle. Specifically, it refers to the twelve fruits and vegetables that have the highest concentration of pesticides and other harmful chemicals and bacteria. This list is frightening because most of these fruits and vegetables have been eaten in my home recently, as I’m sure many of yours also. This list, while being a little scary for grocery shoppers, can actually empower the shopper so that we can make the best and healthiest choices available.
Here is a list of the Dirty Dozen fruits and veggies:
• Cherry tomatoes
• Hot peppers
• Nectarines, imported
• Sweet bell peppers
These have been found to have the highest number of chemicals and pesticides, mostly because of their delicate skin or crevices. It is recommended that to combat some of these harmful chemicals, you might consider buying these food items only if they are organically grown. I understand what it is like to grocery shop on a budget, and buying everything organically may not be an option. If you cannot buy these fruits and veggies organically, consider washing them very well before consumption, peeling the skin, or soaking them in a water and vinegar solution to “clean” them.
If you cannot buy organic, you may consider some of these options that have been found to contain the lowest concentration of harmful pollutants. The “Clean Fifteen” fruits and vegetables are:
• Sweet corn
• Sweet peas (frozen)
• Sweet potatoes
These fruits and veggies found on the “Clean Fifteen” list contain many great options that the whole family can enjoy. If you cannot shop organically, you can put these choices in your shopping cart knowing that they are relatively clean and pesticide free.
In this world of chemicals and unnaturally produced food supply, it is best to be well-informed when making food choices. By arming yourself with knowledge about the food that you are choosing, you can make the healthiest choices for you and your family. It should also be noted that there are many farmers markets and organic food growers that are excellent sources of naturally grown food.
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
When I was in high school I saved up enough money to head to the tanning salon a few times, namely before prom or a summer trip. I never went to a tanning bed during college, mostly because I was too broke, but headed back to get a nice glow before my June wedding. At the time, it was extremely important to have that nice glow that is so hard to get naturally. However, looking back, I’m not sure even those seldom trips were worth the risk of indoor tanning.
We are fast approaching summer and when school lets out, many people will be headed to the beach or somewhere that might make one feel self-conscious about being pale. This leads to many women (and some men) headed to their local tanning salon to get a nice “base tan” before headed off to the tropics. Even summer clothing that shows more skin might inspire a visit to the indoor tanning salon, but it is simply not worth it.
There are plenty of risks associated with indoor tanning and many of them are serious. One single session in the indoor tanning salon will increase your chance of developing melanoma, a certain type of skin cancer. This risk increases by just 20% the first visit. That percentage increases with each subsequent visit.
Contrary to some myths, you cannot get vitamin D from a tanning bed. Your body will only produce this nutrient when it is exposed to real sunlight, from the naturally emitted UVB rays. The rays that come from the tanning beds are actually the harmful kind that do damage to the skin. These rays not only increase your risk for skin cancer, but also increase wrinkles, increase the appearance of aging, and promote other skin issues.
Those that use a tanning bed to get a base tan will be disappointed to know that while it can prevent you from burning, it will not actually protect your skin from harmful rays from the sun. Your skin cancer chances actually increase if you visit a tanning salon before prolonged sun exposure.
While visiting a tanning salon can be tempting, especially for the ladies, it might be important to evaluate if it is really the best way to get a healthy glow. With the health risks, good old-fashioned sunlight is better for your health and is free. Use a good sunscreen and go outside if you want that sun-kissed summer glow!
Monday, April 29th, 2013
If you’ve been exercising and implementing a good diet and still can’t lose weight, you have have some sneaky culprits in your diet that are to blame. There are many foods that seem healthy, and may be in certain uses, but are ultimately responsible for your scale being stuck.
Cooking spray and olive oils may seem harmless in their own right. Truthfully, cooking sprays are considered “calorie free” but when used in excess, they can add extra calories to your diet. Olive oil is a heart healthy option in cooking and salad dressings. It may seem harmless, but when poured in excess, it can pack extra fat grams and calories into a dish. Use a measuring spoon when cooking with olive oil to help control the amount used.
Diet soda can be a better alternative that drinking loads of sugar laden beverages. However, these drinks may be sabotaging your diet if you are drinking too many. Packed with sodium and artificial sweetener, diet sodas are fine in moderation, but they can send false triggers to your brain. The sweetness of the drinks can spark cravings for sugars and carbohydrates and trick your blood sugar levels. Choose flavored water or throw a slice of lemon or lime into plain water. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day and it could help move the needle on the scale in the right direction.
There have been studies into the benefits of drinking coffee with it’s antioxidant benefits. By itself, coffee is an excellent choice when it is not laden with sugars and coffee creamers. Choose your coffee condiments carefully and skip the coffee blended drinks, which can pack hundreds of calories per serving. One sugar and cream filled coffee drink can undo all of the other healthy choices that you have been making. Choose black coffee or only have these type of drinks as an occasional treat.
Dieting is hard work. It is very rewarding and any steps taken toward a healthier life are well worth it. It can be very discouraging when you are working hard and not seeing results. If that is the case for you, don’t quit! It could simply be a few sneaky culprits crashing your diet. Write down everything that you’re eating and watch your portion sizes. You may be surprised of the extra calories that are sneaking into your daily diet routine.