10 Reasons Why You Might Need Iron Supplements

Iron is a mineral that’s vital to your health. All of your cells contain some iron, but most of the iron in your body is in your red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen from your lungs to the organs and tissues throughout your body.

1. You Have Iron Deficiency Anemia

If you have iron deficiency anemia, there’s not enough iron in your body for your red blood cells to effectively provide oxygen to your cells and tissues.

Symptoms of anemia include:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • difficulty concentrating

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common form of anemia in the United States. Almost five million Americans have it.

Common causes of anemia include:

  • menstruation, particularly if flow is heavy or prolonged
  • peptic ulcer disease
  • cancer in the digestive tract
  • blood loss from trauma or blood donation
  • gastrointestinal bleeding from prolonged use of medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen
Did You Know?
Cooking in a cast iron pan can give a big boost to the amount of iron in food you eat.

2. You’re Pregnant

Women who aren’t pregnant or nursing need to15-18 mg of iron daily. Women who are pregnant need significantly more iron. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of iron for pregnant women is 27 mg daily.

3. You Have an Infant

Babies build stores of excess iron from their mothers while they’re in the womb. These stores are needed during their first six months of life when they’re nursing. This is because their mother’s milk is doesn’t contain enough iron.

Most pediatricians recommend using a formula that’s fortified with iron if you bottle-feed your baby. Premature babies who haven’t had time to build their iron stores are likely to need supplemental iron as well. Always check with your pediatrician before supplementing your infant with iron.

4. You Menstruate

Menstruation depletes iron stores. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 percent of women and girls between 12-49 have an iron deficiency.

Toddlers At Risk for Low Iron
  • Young children are more likely to be low in iron because of their rapid growth. 14 percent of children under the age of three don’t get enough iron.
  • Iron deficiency and anemia have been associated with reduced academic performance and place children at risk of cognitive delays.

Some research indicates that the incidence of anemia is influenced by ethnicity. Fully 19 percent of African-American and Mexican-American Women are anemic, compared to 9 to 12 percent of non-Hispanic white women.

5. You Exercise

People who do regular intense exercise may need up to 30 percent more iron than less active adults, according to the NIH. The reason for this isn’t clear. One theory is that iron cycles through the body more rapidly in people who exercise vigorously.

6. You Experience Regular Blood Loss

People who experience excessive blood loss frequently need supplemental iron. Regular blood donors and people who have gastrointestinal bleeding because of medications or conditions such as ulcers and cancer are at risk. Donating blood on a regular basis isn’t recommended if you’re consistently low in iron.

7. You’re On Dialysis

Many people who are on kidney dialysis need extra iron. This is because you lose a small amount of blood during dialysis. Dialysis diets also often limit iron intake. Some medications that people on dialysis take can use up iron or interfere with the body’s ability to absorb it.

8. You Take Iron-Depleting Medications

Certain medications can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb iron. These include over-the-counter antacids and some antibiotics, like quinolones and tetracyclines. Other medications that can deplete your iron include:

  • ranitidine and omeprazole (for ulcers, heartburn, and other stomach problems)
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (for high blood pressure)
  • colestipol and cholestyramine (cholesterol-lowering bile acid sequestrants)
Did You Know?
Conditions such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and autoimmune diseases also can affect your body’s ability to absorb iron.

9. You Have ADHD

Research has shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may benefit from taking iron supplements. In one study, 89 percent of children who had ADHD were low on iron, compared to just 18 percent of children who didn’t have the disorder.

10. You Have ACE Inhibitor-Associated Cough

Doctors prescribe ACE inhibitors to treat a number of conditions, including:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • type 2 diabetes
  • mild kidney disease

They may even help prevent kidney disease in those with type 2 diabetes.

An annoying, dry cough is a common side effect of the medication. Research shows that iron supplements may significantly reduce the frequency of coughing in people who take ACE inhibitors.

8 Calcium-Rich Foods That Are Natural Fat Burners

1. Sesame Seeds

Sesame Seeds

Calcium level: 277 mg, 28% Daily Value

2. Bok Choy

Bok Choy

Calcium level: 158 mg, 16% Daily Value

3. Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese

Calcium level: 98 mg, 10% Daily Value

4. Kale


Calcium level: 93 mg, 9% Daily Value

5. Almonds


Calcium level: 75 mg, 8% Daily Value

6. Broccoli


Calcium level: 62 mg, 6% Daily Value

7. Spinach


Calcium level: 60 mg, 6% Daily Value

8. Watercress


Calcium level: 40 mg, 4% Daily Value


10 Benefits of Milk That You Never Knew Even When You Drink It Every Day

1. Amazing Complexion

Cleopatra knew what she was doing when she took baths in milk. Milk helps to keep your skin supple, soft, and glowing. This is thanks to the many vitamins and nutrients that are essential to skin health. We’re not saying you need to fill a tub with milk and relax, but drinking at least two glasses per day will provide you with this benefit.

2. Strong Teeth

Milk is the best source for calcium, and that’s exactly what your teeth need. In addition, milk helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. The calcium can only be absorbed by your body when vitamin D is around, so make sure that the milk you drink is fortified with vitamin D.

3. Healthy Bones

It’s true that kids need to drink milk to increase bone health, in order to improve proper growth. It’s also true, however, that adults can benefit from drinking milk to help keep their bones strong, which will reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis. Again, this benefit comes from calcium found in milk, and your body does need vitamin D to absorb the calcium.

4. Muscle Growth

Milk is also great at improving muscle growth. This is due to the protein found in milk. Many athletes drink milk following a workout, as it provides the body essential nutrients needed to recover. In addition, milk helps to prevent muscles soreness and replenishes the fluids that were lost during physical activity.

5. Weight Loss

Studies have proven that women who drink milk daily are more likely to lose weight than women who do not drink milk. If you’re in search of a healthy snack, or fulfilling appetizer, drink a glass of milk. It’s also recommended that you have a glass during dinner or when eating fruit.

6. Reduce Stress

Thanks to the many vitamins and minerals that are in milk, it can work as a stress reliever. After a long, hard day at the office, sit down and drink a warm glass of milk. This helps to relieve muscle tension and soothe your nerves.

7. Alleviate PMS Symptoms

Many women suffer from PMS symptoms. Milk has been proved to relax the body and reduce the negative effects that women experience during their menstrual cycle.

8. Energy Booster

Milk is great for many things, but did you know it’s also great for boosting your energy? When you’re struggling to get through the day and you need a little pick-me-up, reach for an ice cold glass of milk. You will feel revitalized in no time.

9. Heartburn Eliminator

There are many foods that contain acids that cause people to experience heartburn. One of the simplest – and yummiest – ways to alleviate this pain is drinking a glass of milk. The cooling sensation and the thick consistency of milk helps to coat the esophagus and stomach lining to prevent heartburn.

10. Disease Fighter

Over the last few decades, researchers have found that milk helps prevent many different diseases. This includes its ability to help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes. In addition, milk has the ability to reduce the production of cholesterol by your liver, and helps improve eyesight. There are some researchers who believe that milk can also reduce the risk of developing certain forms of cancer. Now that you know that there are way more benefits to drinking milk than you thought, you might be wondering if it matters what kind you drink. The short answer is no. You can choose skim milk, low fat milk, 2% or whole milk. All will provide the same benefits, just with different levels of fat and calories. So what are you waiting for? Go get a tall glass of milk and take advantage of milk’s amazing benefits!

The 7 Best Pineapple Juice Benefits

1. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Pineapple is the only major dietary source of bromelain. While it’s found in the greatest concentration within the core of the fruit, it is also found throughout the sweet parts and in the juice. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in the treatment of sports injuries and the pain caused by them.

2. Anti-Cancer Properties

Studies show that bromelain has the potential to act as an effective cancer-fighting agent. Specifically, claims suggest that it works in unison with chemotherapy to suppress the growth of cancer cells. It also contains beta-carotene, which can protect against prostate cancer and possibly colon cancer. As far as treatment goes, the American Cancer Society says that further research is needed.

3. Heart Benefits

The vitamin C in pineapple juice may also help to protect against heart disease. A number of studies — including one from Finland and another from China — show that higher vitamin C intake causes a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Also, like cancer, heart disease risk is reduced with a high-fiber diet.

4. Cataract Prevention

Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in protecting vision. A recent study showed that higher intake of vitamin C reduces the risk of cataract, which is cloudiness of the lens that can interfere with vision. The authors even suggest that it should be used as the primary preventive.

5. Fertility Perks

Pineapple juice contains several beneficial vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, beta carotene, copper, zinc, and folate. Many of these can help boost fertility in both men and women. While there is anecdotal evidence that pineapple juice may affect sexuality in other interesting ways, there is no scientific evidence to support these theories yet.

6. Asthma Prevention

Pineapples are also a good source of beta carotene, which is converted into active vitamin A during digestion. While the research is still in the early stages, a number of studies indicate that beta carotene may reduce the risk of exercise-induced asthma.

7. Osteoarthritis Treatment

Credited to the anti-inflammatory properties of bromelain, some research suggests that pineapples could be useful in the treatment of osteoarthritis.

8 Amazing Health Benefits of Watermelon


Watermelon is by far, one of the most powerful, body-healing fruits out there! The amazing health benefits of watermelon cover everything from your brain all the way to the cells in your feet.

The best time to indulge in this fresh, succulent, juicy melon, is summertime, when they are in season and deliver an array of nutrients, vitamin and minerals.

Watermelon is incredibly hydrating (up to 92% water!) and is naturally low-fat. Make this melon a part of your daily diet and you will reap amazing benefits that range from improving cardiovascular health to nourishing your eyes and revving up your immune system! Read below and see for yourself!

Cardiovascular & Bone Health

The lycopene in watermelon is especially important for our cardiovascular health and is now being recognized as an important factor in promoting bone health. Consuming large amounts of watermelon has also been correlated with improved cardiovascular function because it improves blood flow via vasodilation (relaxation of blood pressure). Dietary lycopene (from foods like watermelon or tomatoes) reduces oxidative stress which normally reduces the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts (the two major bone cells involved in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis) – this means stronger bones for those consuming lycopene-rich foods. Watermelon is also rich in potassium which helps to retain calcium in your body, resulting in stronger bones and joints.

Reduces Body Fat

The citrulline in watermelon has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Citrulline is an amino acid which converts into arginine with help from the kidneys. When our bodies absorb citrulline it can take the step of converting into arginine if so required. Citrulline, when consumed, has the ability to (through a series of steps) block the activity of TNAP (tissue-nonspecific alkaline phosphatase) which makes our fat cells create less fat, and thus helps prevent over-accumulation of body fat.

Anti-inflammatory & Antioxidant Support

Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids. The carotenoid lycopene in watermelon is particularly beneficial in reducing inflammation and neutralizing free radicals. The tripterpenoid cucurbitacin E is also present in watermelon, which provides anti-inflammatory support by blocking activity of cyclo-oxygenase enzymes which normally lead to increased inflammatory support. Make sure you pick ripe watermelons, because they contain higher amounts of these beneficial phenolic compounds.

Diuretic & Kidney Support

Watermelon is a natural diuretic which helps increase the flow of urine, but does not strain the kidneys (unlike alcohol and caffeine). Watermelons helps the liver process ammonia (waste from protein digestion) which eases strain on the kidneys while getting rid of excess fluids.

Muscle & Nerve Support

Rich in potassium, watermelon is a great natural electrolyte and thus helps regulate the action of nerves and muscles in our body. Potassium determines the degree and frequency with which our muscles contract, and controls the excitation of nerves in our body.


Watermelons have an alkaline-forming effect in the body when fully ripe. Eating lots of alkaline-forming foods (fresh, ripe, fruit and vegetables) can help reduce your risk of developing disease and illness caused by a high-acid diet (namely, meat, eggs and dairy).

Improves Eye Health

Watermelon is a wonderful source of beta-carotene (that rich red hue of watermelon = beta carotene) which is converted in the body to vitamin A. It helps produce the pigments in the retina of the eye and protects against age-related macular degeneration as well as prevents night blindness. Vitamin A also maintains healthy skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

Immune Support, Wound Healing & Prevents Cell Damage

The vitamin C content in watermelon is astoundingly high. Vitamin C is great at improving our immune system by maintaining the redox integrity of cells and thereby protecting them from reactive oxygen species (which damages our cells and DNA). The role of vitamin C in healing wounds has also been observed in numerous studies because it is essential to the formation of new connective tissue. The enzymes involved in forming collagen (the main component of wound healing) cannot function without vitamin C. If you are suffering from any slow-healing wounds, up your intake of vitamin C heavy fruit.

Running and jogging – health benefits

Jogging or running is a popular form of physical activity. About one in five Australians try running (or jogging) at some stage in their life. Running is an appealing exercise because it doesn’t cost a lot to take part and you can run at any time that suits you.

Some runners choose to participate in fun runs, athletics races or marathons. If you are interested in competing with other runners, contact your local running club.

Health benefits of running and jogging

Regular running or jogging offers many health benefits. Running can:

  • help to build strong bones, as it is a weight bearing exercise
  • strengthen muscles
  • improve cardiovascular fitness
  • burn plenty of kilojoules
  • help maintain a healthy weight.

Running versus jogging

The difference between running and jogging is intensity. Running is faster, uses more kilojoules and demands more effort from the heart, lungs and muscles than jogging. Running requires a higher level of overall fitness than jogging.

Both running and jogging are forms of aerobic exercise. Aerobic means ‘with oxygen’ – the term ‘aerobic exercise’ means any physical activity that produces energy by combining oxygen with blood glucose or body fat.

Goal setting for running and jogging

Think about what you want to achieve from running or jogging. Issues to consider may include:

  • Getting fit – if you’re a beginner, you should start with brisk walking, progress to jogging and work up to running. This should take a few months.
  • General fitness – mix your running with other forms of exercise (such as swimming or team sports) to maximise your overall fitness.
  • Weight loss – adjust your diet to include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, wholegrain cereals and low-fat dairy products. Cut back on dietary fats, takeaway foods, soft drinks and sugar.
  • Companionship – you could run with a friend or join a local running club.
  • Competition – running clubs may offer competitive events. Most clubs have sessions designed for beginners through to advanced runners. You can pit your running skills against others in fun runs or marathons. Many community-based running events cater for people of all ages and abilities. Join a local orienteering club to combine running with the challenge of navigating through various environments.

Running and jogging for beginners

Some general tips for beginners:

  • See your doctor for a check-up before you start a running program. This is especially important if you are over 40 years, are overweight, have a chronic illness or haven’t exercised in a long time.
  • Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of a experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or ‘safety net’ to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you. Print a copy of the pre-exercise screening tool and discuss it with your doctor or exercise professional.
  • Start with brisk walking. Aim for 30 minutes per session. Allow a minimum of six weeks to build up to regular running. Aim to increase your jogging time each session, and alternate between walking and jogging.
  • Make sure you warm up and stretch thoroughly before you head out. Cool your body down with light stretches when you return.
  • Make sure you have plenty of fluids and take a water bottle with you on your run. Try to drink plenty of water before, during and after any activity.
  • Allow at least two complete rest days per week to avoid overtraining, which may cause injury. Consider other low impact activities, such as swimming, at least once each week.
  • Plan your route. If possible, choose flat, grassy areas rather than hard or loose (such as sandy) surfaces to reduce the risk of injury.
  • Avoid running near roads. This is especially important if you have a pre-existing condition such as asthma. Vehicle exhaust fumes can increase your risk of various cardiovascular and respiratory complaints or illnesses.
  • Avoid the ‘peak hour’ periods to reduce your risk of inhaling air pollution from motor vehicles. If possible, schedule your runs for either the early morning or the evening.
  • Wear loose cotton clothing. Dress your upper body in layers of clothing so that you can take off layers as required.
  • Apply SPF 30+ sunscreen to exposed skin areas.
  • Buy an appropriate pair of shoes.

Choosing running and jogging shoes

Issues to consider when choosing running shoes include:

  • Don’t wear your old sneakers. Poorly fitted shoes are a common cause of injuries.
  • The running shoe should bend easily, feel comfortable and have a wedge of shock-absorbing material in the heel.
  • The fit should not be too snug. Your foot will splay as it impacts with the ground.
  • When buying the shoes, wear the socks you intend to wear while running.
  • Have your shoes professionally fitted.

Health and safety suggestions with running and jogging

Suggestions include:

  • Make sure you eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  • Avoid eating directly before going for a run.
  • Avoid running during the hottest part of the day in summer.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after your run.
  • Take your mobile phone with you.
  • If using an iPod or headset, do not have the music too loud – stay alert and aware.
  • Wear reflective materials if you’re running in the early morning or at night.
  • Tell someone where you plan to run and when you think you’ll be back.
  • Choose well-lit, populated routes and avoid dangerous and isolated areas.
  • If you injure yourself while running, stop immediately. Seek medical advice.

Things to remember

  • Both running and jogging are forms of aerobic exercise.
  • A beginner to exercise should start with brisk walking, progress to jogging and work up to running.
  • See your doctor for a check-up before starting a running program.

10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep

Go ahead, snooze!

Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles.

Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.

“Sleep used to be kind of ignored, like parking our car in a garage and picking it up in the morning,” says David Rapoport, MD, director of the NYU Sleep Disorders Program.

Not anymore. Here are some health benefits researchers have discovered about a good night’s sleep.

Improve memory

Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).

“If you are trying to learn something, whether it’s physical or mental, you learn it to a certain point with practice,” says Dr. Rapoport, who is an associate professor at NYU Langone Medical Center. “But something happens while you sleep that makes you learn it better.”

In other words if you’re trying to learn something new—whether it’s Spanish or a new tennis swing—you’ll perform better after sleeping.

Live longer?

Too much or too little sleep is associated with a shorter lifespan—although it’s not clear if it’s a cause or effect. (Illnesses may affect sleep patterns too.)

In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours or more than six and a half hours of sleep per night.

Sleep also affects quality of life.

“Many things that we take for granted are affected by sleep,” says Raymonde Jean, MD, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City. “If you sleep better, you can certainly live better. It’s pretty clear.”

Curb inflammation

Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and premature aging. Research indicates that people who get less sleep—six or fewer hours a night—have higher blood levels of inflammatory proteins than those who get more.

A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.

People who have sleep apnea or insomnia can have an improvement in blood pressure and inflammation with treatment of the sleep disorders, Dr. Rapoport says.

Spur creativity

Get a good night’s sleep before getting out the easel and paintbrushes or the pen and paper.

In addition to consolidating memories, or making them stronger, your brain appears to reorganize and restructure them, which may result in more creativity as well.

Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people seem to strengthen the emotional components of a memory during sleep, which may help spur the creative process.

Be a winner

If you’re an athlete, there may be one simple way to improve your performance: sleep.

A Stanford University study found that college football players who tried to sleep at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks improved their average sprint time and had less daytime fatigue and more stamina.

The results of this study reflect previous findings seen in tennis players and swimmers.

Sharpen attention

A lack of sleep can result in ADHD-like symptoms in kids, Dr. Rapoport says.

“Kids don’t react the same way to sleep deprivation as adults do,” he adds. “Whereas adults get sleepy, kids tend to get hyperactive.”

A 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics found that children ages seven and eight who got less than about eight hours of sleep a night were more likely to be hyperactive, inattentive, and impulsive.

“We diagnose and measure sleep by measuring electrical changes in the brain,” Dr. Rapoport says. “So not surprisingly how we sleep affects the brain.”

Have a healthy weight

If you are thinking about going on a diet, you might want to plan an earlier bedtime too.

Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat—56% of their weight loss—than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. (They shed similar amounts of total weight regardless of sleep.)

Dieters in the study also felt more hungry when they got less sleep.

“Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same sectors of the brain,” Dr. Rapoport says. “When you are sleepy, certain hormones go up in your blood, and those same hormones drive appetite.”

Lower stress

When it comes to our health stress and sleep are nearly one and the same—and both can affect cardiovascular health.

“Sleep can definitely reduce levels of stress, and with that people can have better control of their blood pressure,” Dr. Jean says. “It’s also believed that sleep effects cholesterol levels, which plays a significant role in heart disease.”

Steer clear of depression

Sleeping well means more to our overall well-being than simply avoiding irritability.

“A lack of sleep can contribute to depression,” Dr. Jean says. “A good night’s sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety. You get more emotional stability with good sleep.”

If you think the long hours put in during the week are the cause of your anxiety or impatience, Dr. Rapoport warns that sleep cannot necessarily be made up during the weekend.

“If you sleep more on the weekends, you simply aren’t sleeping enough in the week,” he says. “It’s all about finding a balance.

8 reasons why walking is great for your health

1. Walking strengthens your heart

Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.

2. Walking lowers disease risk

A regular walking habit slashes the risk of type 2 diabetes by around 60 percent, and you’re 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb with an active hobby such as walking.

3. Walking helps you lose weight

You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes and a jam doughnut!). Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.

4. Walking prevents dementia

Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, we reckon that’s a pretty great idea.

5. Walking tones up legs, bums and tums

Give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (bum muscles) with a good, regular walk. Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist.

6. Walking boosts vitamin D

We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.

7. Walking gives you energy

You’ll get more done with more energy, and a brisk walk is one of the best natural energisers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon.

8. Walking makes you happy

It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must.

8 reasons why swimming is the best way to lose weight and get fit quickly


Any type of exercise is better than none, but swimming is proven to be one of the best. Great for both mind and body, here’s why spending more time in the water is a seriously smart choice.

1. Swimming helps to manage weight

Expect to burn around 367 calories after just 30 minutes of breaststroke – that beats walking, cycling and even running. The Calorie Cruncher on swimming.org can tell you how many calories your preferred swimming stroke burns.

2. Swimming reduces stress levels and raises self-esteem

According to a survey of 4000 swimmers undertaken by Speedo, 74% agree that swimming releases stress and tension, 68% say that being in the water helps them to feel good about themselves and 70% feel mentally refreshed after swimming.

3. Swimming boosts your mood

Another study shows that swimmers, no matter what level, are less prone to tension, depression, anger and confusion when they’ve been swimming. It means that novice and amateur swimmers can feel just as good as the pros, thanks to the release of feel-good hormone serotonin.

4. Swimming strengthens muscles

The resistance of water can be 44 times greater than air, meaning you have to work harder to move through it. It’s like working out with weights or machines without the need for expensive equipment, which makes swimming an affordable way to strengthen your muscles.

5. Swimming is low-impact exercise

You’re only bearing about 10% of your weight when you swim due to the buoyancy of water. With greater ease of movement and less strain on bones, joints and muscles, swimming has a lower risk of injury than many other forms of exercise.

6. Swimming improves your sleep

People who undertake vigorous exercise such as swimming are around twice as likely to report on having a good night’s sleep, according to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation. They’re least likely to report sleep problems, with most avoiding problems like insomnia and waking too early.

7. Swimming is sweat-free

As a swimmer, you’ll never get overheated or feel sweaty because the water around you is constantly cooling you down.

8. Swimming lowers disease risk

Not only is swimming kind to your heart and a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s also shown to control blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and reduce levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. So by swimming regularly, you’re less likely to develop illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Eat These 5 Fruits To Get Healthy And Glowing Skin

Simple lifestyle changes like incorporating fruits in your daily diet can give you glowing skin. Eating fruits helps in skin rejuvenation, natural hydration and improvement of skin texture. It also gives you a clear complexion and makes the skin appear youthful and glowing. Fruits have no side effects and are cost-effective at the same time. They are free from toxins and have a host of skin and health benefits.

Best Fruits For Glowing Skin:

Let us look at a few fruits which can give us fair and glowing skin.

1. Bananas:

bananas for glowing skin

Bananas, being rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin E, act as an anti-ageing agent. Opt for a face pack comprising a freshly-mashed banana mixed with honey to get glowing skin. They are a rich source of fiber, minerals, magnesium and potassium, which aid proper blood circulation in our body and build immunity. Bananas are a great substitute for unhealthy snacks we tend to eat in-between meals.

2. Lemons:

lemon benefits for glowing skin

It has a high Vitamin C content and natural bleaching properties, making it a good cleanser that lightens blemishes, acne scars, spots and skin tone. Start your day by drinking a glass of warm water mixed with a dash of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of honey. This fights cellulite and clears your skin from within.

3. Oranges:

Fruit and Vegetables in a Weight Loss Diet

What’s the Truth about fruit and Veg?

Eating more fruit and veg is essential both for good health and to help us lose weight. Most fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – three essential ingredients for successful weight loss. Most also contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, all of which are important for helping us to look and feel our best and to protect us from disease.

Research also shows we tend to eat the same volume or weight of food every day, regardless of its calorie content. So if we want to lose weight, it’s crucial to stick to lower calorie foods to make up this volume. And that’s where fruit and vegetables play an important part in a weight loss diet.

Many fruits and vegetables actually weigh a lot, adding bulk to our diet, but they don’t provide that many calories. For example, a meal consisting of a 150g grilled chicken breast, a 300g jacket potato, 20g of butter and 30g low fat cheese provides a total weight of 500g and provides 790 calories. Swap that meal for a 130g chicken breast, a 200g potato, 5g of butter, 80g broccoli, 45g carrots and 40g green salad, and you still have an overall weight of 500g, but for just 480 calories.

Bottom line: you will feel just as full as you’ve eaten exactly the same amount of food, but you’ve saved 310 calories – and in a week, that’s enough to help you lose 1/2lb without even changing the quantity of food you’ve eaten!

But what about foods like bananas, avocados, sweetcorn, carrots and peas? These foods are certainly higher in calories than most other fruit and veg. For example, you could eat two small apples for around the same amount of calories as a banana. Similarly, you could eat six times more spinach to provide you with the same amount of calories provided by sweetcorn.

Meanwhile, avocados are higher in fat than most other vegetables, but most of this fat is heart-healthy monounsaturates, which comes in a package with plenty of vitamin E.

Even though these fruit and veggies contain more calories, you don’t need to avoid them. They are still an important source of many different nutrients and the fibre they contain will help to fill you up so you’re less likely to want to snack on fatty and sugary foods. The key is to add them to your food diary so that the calories they provide are included in your daily total.

As for foods like celery and grapefruit, they are certainly very low in calories, but there’s no conclusive evidence that eating them will actually help you burn off calories or make you lose weight. While some studies have shown that adding grapefruit to your diet will help shift those pounds, the health jury is still out. And as for it taking more calories to digest a stick of celery than it actually provides – well, most health experts agree it’s a myth!

Which Fruit and Vegetables are Best for Weight Loss?

Enjoy a wide variety of fruit and vegetable types every day. Aim for five servings daily and choose a mixture of colours to ensure a good mix of nutrients. All fruit and vegetables, including fresh, frozen, canned, dried and pure juices, count towards the five daily servings.

But bear in mind that dried fruit won’t fill you up as much as a whole piece of fruit – for 100 calories you can eat an apple, a satsuma and seven strawberries (with a total weight of 250g) or around 1tbsp of raisins (with a weight of just 30g)! Plus, research shows that liquids tend to be less satiating than food, so you will probably find a whole piece of fruit fills you up more than a glass of fruit juice.

How Much Fruit and Veg Should I Eat?

One portion of fruit or veg is equivalent to 80g. Below are some examples of what counts as one portion:

  • 1 apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar sized fruit
  • 2 plums, satsumas, kiwi fruit or other similar sized fruit
  • 1/2 a grapefruit or avocado
  • 1 large slice of melon or fresh pineapple
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables, beans or pulses
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of fruit salad or stewed fruit
  • 1 heaped tablespoon of raisins or sultanas
  • 3 dried apricots
  • 1 cupful of grapes, cherries or berries
  • 1 dessert bowl of salad
  • 1 small glass (150ml) of pure fruit juice

The 10 Best Foods for Your Heart

1. Almonds

1. Almonds

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc all help to make a handful (about 1/4 cup a day) of crunchy almonds good for your heart and your mood. B vitamins and magnesium help produce serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Zinc has also been shown to fight some negative effects of stress, while vitamin E is an antioxidant that destroys the free radicals related to stress and heart disease. They’re the perfect snack — so much better than a bag of chips. Or, add some slivered beauties to your morning oatmeal.

2. Asparagus

 2. Asparagus

Asparagus contains heart-healthy anti-inflammatory nutrients like folate and vitamins C and D. It is also low in calories and quick cooking. Sauté it with sugar snap peas and toss with whole wheat pasta, olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pepper for a meatless meal fit for a (very healthy) king or queen.

3. Beans

3. Beans

These versatile legumes contain more protein than any other plant food — just one cup provides a quarter of what we need each day. They also provide heart-healthy and stress-busting B vitamins, iron, and all-important calcium. Plus, they are considered “nature’s scrub brush” because one serving’s 15 grams of fiber goes through the intestines and sops cholesterol and takes it away (you know where). Use beans in soups and stews or create a vegetarian chili with kidney beans, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and a little bit of hot pepper. Puree a rinsed and drained can of white beans with two tablespoons of olive oil, a small clove of garlic, and salt and pepper for a Mediterranean-style veggie dip.

4. Blueberries

4. Blueberries

Almost all fruit is good for you — cherries, strawberries, mangos, peaches — yum! But these blue-hued beauties work overtime to provide you with antioxidants and vitamin C, both potent stress busters. They’re low in calories and sugar, so you can snack on them to your heart’s content without an ounce of guilt (or fat). Blueberries are also a good source of fiber, which can help relieve the cramps and constipation that can occur when you’re stressed out. Pile ’em on cereal, eat them fresh from the basket, or blend them with some plain yogurt, a banana, and some ice for a fabulous smoothie.

5. Broccoli

5. Broccoli

Broccoli is packed with B vitamins and folic acid, which has been shown to help relieve stress, anxiety, panic, and even depression. Steam broccoli in the microwave (rinse and chop it, place it in a glass or other nonreactive bowl, and cover it with a damp paper towel, not plastic wrap) for a few minutes for optimal nutrition. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and, if you dare, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes for punch, and you’ve got yourself a sublime yet simple side dish.

6. Chocolate

6. Chocolate

Dark chocolate (at least 75 percent cocoa; 85 percent is best) is not only a stress reducer — who doesn’t love a piece of chocolate? — but it is heart-healthy, too! One study, conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, showed that eating 6 ounces of dark chocolate a day lowered bad cholesterol. And that’s not all. Another researcher found that cocoa contains phenols — antiseptic, anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce your risk of heart disease by keeping fat-like substances from oxidizing in the blood and clogging your arteries. Do you really need a serving suggestion for chocolate?

7. Leafy greens

 7. Leafy greens

Spinach, kale, dandelion greens, turnip tops, and Swiss chard — they’re all amazing foods that provide iron plus lots of vitamin C, both good for strong bones, teeth, and hair, and vitamin A and magnesium, both of which are excellent at helping you maintain calm. Sauté one or more type of greens with lemon or orange juice and garlic, or purée with a little low-sodium chicken or veggie broth and white beans for a satisfying soup.

8. Sweet potatoes


Talk about a nutritional powerhouse! The more color a veggie has the better it is for you, according to nutritionists — and sweet potatoes might be the brightest of all. Potent antioxidants found in sweet potatoes help to shield our hearts. Plus, their sweet taste makes them delicious enough to eat for dessert. But if you don’t want to go that far, try chunking them up into 1-inch squares, roasting them at a high heat (400 degrees) for about 30 minutes, and then tossing them with some chopped dried plums (better known as prunes) for a tempting and unique side dish next to roasted chicken or turkey — or as a vegetarian meal on its own.

9. Walnuts

Another powerful nut! Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is similar to the one found in salmon and herring. A handful of walnuts a day as a snack is an easy way to get this important nutrient. Or, scatter a few on top of a salad for a satisfying crunch. Or, add some to your oatmeal along with raisins or dried cranberries for a power breakfast.

10. Whole grains

 12. Whole grains

Cracked wheat, barley, faro, millet, and quinoa are just a few of the 19 whole grains you can cook with and enjoy in all sorts of dishes. Whole grains digest slowly, keeping you feeling fuller, longer. Plus they boost serotonin levels and make you feel happy — and they brighten your mood because they’re so delicious! A half-cup serving size of any whole grain alongside a serving of veggies and lean protein should have you strolling on the sunny side of the street in no time. Follow packaging directions for preparation, but realize that most whole grains don’t require any special technique. However, toasting them in a dry pot for a few minutes before adding water adds depth of flavor.

10 Natural Ways to Prevent and Treat Headaches


Headaches are often a sign that your body needs a break, says Elizabeth Loder, MD, chief of the headache and pain division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and President of the American Headache Society. “Many people are very busy and are reluctant to take the time, but if you consider the tradeoff of spending 10 minutes to close the blinds, lie down, and relax when you feel a headache forming, that might be better use of your time than being incapacitated later on after it gets worse,” she says.

Mark W. Green, MD, director of the Center for Headache and Pain Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, agrees. He recommends lying down in a dark, well-ventilated room. If you can, he adds, try to sleep for an hour or so. “Rather than fighting sleep and making things worse, this can be a great treatment.”

Eat small, frequent meals

If you haven’t eaten anything in a while, that aching or fuzzy feeling may be a result of low blood sugar. In this case, eating something right away could nip the nagging sensation in the bud. Some research suggests that foods rich in magnesium, such as spinach, tofu, olive oil, or sunflower or pumpkin seeds, may be especially helpful.

In general, Dr. Green advises his headache patients to graze on small meals throughout the day, rather than three large ones at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. “This way your blood sugar stays more consistent and you won’t experience those types of crashes.”

Ice your forehead

Lying down with a chilly wet washcloth or cold compress over your forehead or eyes may provide temporary relief from a nagging headache, and may even help it disappear completely, says Dr. Loder. “You can also make little ice popsicles in the freezer and rub the forehead or temples for up to 10 minutes,” she says. Many people think that ice dulls pain by shrinking blood vessels, but Dr. Loder says that in the case of headaches, it’s more likely a “counterirritation” effect: “If your brain is paying attention to the cold stimulus, it’s not paying attention to the pain.” But regardless of how it works, she says, it can be a useful and effective ritual for people who have recurring head pain.

Take a hot shower

People tend to prefer cold over heat when it comes to topical headache treatments, but sometimes a steamy shower may be just what you need, says Dr. Green. “People who wake up with head pain—and that’s not rare, by the way—often try to stay in bed and pretend it’s not real, or hope that it will go away.” That almost never works, he says. What can help is getting your day started with a cup of coffee (if you’re a regular coffee drinker), a bit of breakfast, and a hot shower to wake you up. If your headache is related to a cold or sinus pressure, he adds, the moist, warm air can clear your nasal passages as well.

Get a massage

One of the most low-tech and old-fashioned ways to treat a headache is still one of the most effective, says Dr. Loder. “Many people find that gentle pressure on the temples can, at least temporarily, relieve pain.” In fact, any type of rubdown may help relieve or prevent headaches. In a study from New Zealand, migraine sufferers had less frequent pain and slept better during weeks they received massages than others who didn’t. And a 2010 Spanish study found that patients with recurring tension headaches reported better psychological states, reduced stress, and fewer symptoms within 24 hours after receiving a 30-minute massage.

Try acupressure

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine practices, applying pressure to a point on the hand between the thumb and index finger can help relieve headache pain. Simply squeeze the indentation between the two digits with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand and massage in a circular motion for five minutes, then switch hands. “It’s certainly a harmless thing to try, and at the very least it’s a distraction from the pain,” says Dr. Loder, who adds that it may also he helpful to rub ice on this spot for a few minutes. You could also try acupuncture. The technique, which uses long needles inserted into the skin to stimulate trigger points throughout the body, has been shown to help prevent migraines as well as frequent tension-type headaches.

Go easy on the alcohol

This may be the most obvious one of the bunch, at least to anyone who’s ever had one too many cocktails and answered for it the next day. The most significant factor is how drunk you get, though research suggests that darker liquors may make hangovers worse. Dehydration also plays a role, so be sure to sip water along with your beverage of choice.

For people who are sensitive to headaches or migraines, however, even just a small amount of alcohol can trigger a painful attack, says Dr. Green. “Anyone will get a headache if they drink a whole bottle of wine, but there are lots of people who will get a headache just from one glass,” Dr. Green says. “For those people, it’s all about learning to recognize their triggers and knowing when to stop.”

Stay hydrated

Headache is one of the first signs of dehydration. To make sure you’re drinking enough fluids, try to consume them throughout the day, rather than just guzzling them down at meal times or during periods of heavy physical activity, suggests Dr. Green. Institute of Medicine guidelines say that adults should consume between 11 and 15 cups of water a day, but that also counts liquid from other sources—like low-calorie liquids (tea and skim or low-fat milk, for example) as well as fruits and vegetables. Even moderate coffee consumption contributes to your daily fluid intake; a 2014 study published in PLoS One debunked the long-standing theory that its caffeine content contributed to dehydration.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being significantly overweight may increase a person’s chances of having recurring migraines, according to a 2013 study from Johns Hopkins University. The finding was especially true for women, white people, and those 50 and younger. “We also know that being obese can turn episodic headaches into chronic headaches,” says Dr. Green. “It’s one of the major risk factors we worry about.” Losing weight through diet and regular exercise—or keeping your weight healthy if you’re already there—can go a long way in preventing headaches from happening more frequently.

Keep stress levels low

According to a 2014 German study, the more stress you have in your life, the more headaches you’re likely to get. Participants ranked their stress levels from one to 100, and also reported the frequency and types of headaches they experienced. For every increase of 10 points on the stress scale, the average number of headaches per month increased 6.3% for tension headaches and 4.3% for migraines. “Psychological stress can cause all kinds of physical tension that you may not even be aware of,” explains Dr. Loder. She recommends taking frequent breaks from stressful situations and relaxing with something you enjoy. “It can be yoga, meditation, or a hobby of some sort, like gardening—whatever you find to be calming and that takes your mind off of your worries.”

How to Lose Weight Faster, But Safely

1. Drink green tea. Get this: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period. If you can believe it, those 70 calories a day add up to a total of 7.3 pounds of fat a year! It’s not magic, it’s science: Researchers believe the difference is caused by metabolism-enhancing antioxidants known as catechins, which are found in green tea.

2. Avoid calories in a glass. Scientists now know that the body does not register liquid calories in the same way it does solid calories. Drinking a grande caffe mocha, for instance, won’t make you feel satiated the way eating a bowl of pasta will. Which means that although the caffe mocha actually has a greater number of calories than the pasta, you’re still more likely to want a second cup from Starbucks than another plate of linguine. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, coffee drinks and wine. If you consume one of each of those beverages during the day, you’ll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you’ll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.)

3. Buy a set of five-pound weights. It’s a onetime investment you’ll never regret. Here’s why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you’ll slim down. How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges. Use your free weights to perform simple biceps curls or triceps pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you’ll soon see a rapid improvement in your physique.

4. Lose the salt. Sodium contributes to water retention, making you look and feel bloated. Do you eat too much salt? Probably — the daily value suggests no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium each day (or about one teaspoon), but most of us are getting more than twice that amount. So keep an eye on your sodium intake, and that doesn’t just mean ditching the saltshaker. Hidden sources include soups, canned foods and drinks (did you know a serving of regular V8 juice has 800 mg of sodium?), salty snacks such as chips and pretzels and many prepackaged foods.

5. Spice it up. Angelo Tremblay, Ph.D., director of the division of kinesiology at Laval University, in Canada, found that eating hot peppers can boost a person’s basal metabolism (the total calories the body burns at rest). The reason? Capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may increase your body’s release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your metabolism and your ability to burn calories. What’s more, eating hot peppers may reduce your appetite, Tremblay says, helping to curb your cravings. So spice up your stir-fried veggies, eat low-calorie chili or salsa (try them on salads and baked potatoes), and watch the pounds come off faster.

6. Get some sleep. As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat — and not just because you’re susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies (although there’s that too). Women who get less than four hours of sleep per night have a slower metabolism than those who snooze for a full eight hours, according to researchers at the University of Chicago. So don’t skimp on your zzz’s, and you’ll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to shedding pounds quickly.

7. Go for an evening walk. Don’t get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people’s metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you’ve stopped moving. What that means for you: Those dinner calories have less of a chance to take up permanent residence on your hips.

8. Eat every meal. Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. That strategy backfires because your body thinks food is in short supply, so it slows your metabolism in order to conserve energy. Over time, the result is that when you do eat — even if you consume the same foods as always — your body will be slower to use the calories as fuel, thus creating a backlog of unwanted pounds. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your purse or briefcase — anything that will keep you from going hungry.

9. Add 20 minutes of exercise per day. If you’re on a diet, you’re probably already working out a couple of times a week. (No? Well, you should start!) But whether you exercise or not, you can get a leg up on all those other weight-loss wannabes by doing a little something extra each day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk to the bus, train, or all the way to the office; window-shop with your best friend rather than sit over coffee. Taking the dog out, gardening and even housecleaning all increase the number of calories you expend. You don’t have to go for a jog (although that would help!) to speed up weight loss. Twenty minutes of moderate exercise a day means you’ll burn approximately 700 calories.

10. H20, H20, H20. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. That’s because drinking 64 ounces of water daily is one of the easiest ways to speed up weight loss. Your body needs water in order to efficiently metabolize stored fat. When you shortchange your supply, you’re likely to slow down that process, meaning it’s more difficult for you to burn calories. An easy eight glasses a day (at least!) will keep your system running smoothly.

10 Best Ways to Prevent Acne: Avoid Breakouts With These Tips!

1. Choose Acne-Friendly Makeup

The makeup you use (and how much you use) has a big impact on the health of your skin. It’s quite ironic that the products you spend a lot of money on to keep your skin looking good, could potentially be clogging your pores and encouraging the pimples you’re trying so hard to hide.

If you’re prone to breakouts, look for products that say “non-comedogenic” on the label. This means that the product is specifically designed not to clog your pores. Clogged pores are one of the leading causes of breakouts. Many dermatologists will also recommend lightweight or oil-free products with a “non-comedogenic” label, which is– which means that makeup won’t clog your pores. Also, avoid heavy, greasy products that contain ingredients like mineral oils and cocoa butter, which can spur pimples.

2. Change Your Pillow Case Weekly

Forget the $50 bottle of acne cream you’ve been purchasing every month, changing your pillow case is a proven method for preventing breakouts. All of the sweat, dirt and makeup from your face is seeping into your pillow every night. Particularly if you don’t wash your face before heading to bed, basically you are sleeping in all of the dirt, oil, and debris that collected on your face all day.

If you don’t wash your pillow cases regularly you’re basically planting your face on a pillow of sweat and dirt for 8 hours. Not only will your face stay oily, but the potential for clogging your pores with excess dirt is also very high. Washing your cases will give your face the fresh rest it needs at the end of the day.

3. Moisturize

If you’ve turned to acne products to control your outbreaks (which most of you probably have), the importance of moisturizing becomes a key component in keeping your breakouts at bay. Most acne products contain ingredients that dry out the skin, thus, moisturizing immediately after is critical. Make sure you hydrate your skin with water before applying the moisturizer.

Daily moisturizing is an essential part of keeping acne at bay by clearing away excess oils, dirt, and makeup that collect on your skin day and night. This is why morning and evening cleansing and moisturizing is important. If the acne treatment your dermatologist prescribed contains benzoyl peroxide or other drying ingredients that can zap your skin of the moisture, a light moisturizer that contains glycerin or hyaluronic acid will aim to keep moisture locked in your skin to prevent redness, drying, and flaking.

4. Review Your Shampoo

Have you noticed that you’ve been breaking out a lot more than usual lately? You might want to check your shampoo. Shampoos and conditioners with a lot fragrance and chemicals can irritate skin and cause breakouts on your forehead, jaw, neck and back.

Considering using non-fragrance products (or all-natural products) and always make sure you rinse the shampoo out of your hair completely before washing your face in the shower. Organic products without added chemicals, oils, and fragrance may also provide a lightweight wash and a natural smell without causing breakouts. Make sure to wash your face after rinsing your hair to get rid of lingering shampoo and conditioner residue.

5. Stop Touching Your Face

You might notice that people who touch their face often are prone to breakouts. This is because the oils and dirt on your hands are constantly transferred to your sweet visage. This might seem like common sense but keeping your hands away from your face is harder than you think.

If you’re sitting in class or at work, chances are your head is resting on your hands and your fingers are running up your cheeks. You might also twist your lip or finger your chin, leaving those areas prone to breakouts. The more you touch, the more irritation and breakouts can result. Keeping your hands and fingers off your face will keep it clean and healthy and help eliminate future breakouts.

6. Check Your Laundry Detergent

Much like shampoos, laundry detergents can be a huge culprit when it comes to breakouts. If you’re experiencing more breakouts than normal it could very well have to do with the ingredients in your detergent. Many soaps contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can irritate skin (especially when you use towels to dry your face).

What’s worse is that a full cycle might not completely wash away laundry detergent residue. Especially if you don’t have a soft water system, you may get traces of soap on your face and body every time you put on and remove clothing. Try switching to a non-fragrance detergent or one with more natural ingredients and see if you’re breakouts start to fade.

7. Go Easy on the Makeup

This may be hard for some girls (especially those in high school) but lightening up on the makeup will almost certainly help control your breakouts. Not only are the ingredients in most makeup products bad for your skin but applying makeup means touching your face, which can lead to a breakout.

If you must wear makeup, try adding a dab of liquid foundation to an all-natural moisturizer, which will help hydrate the skin instead of drying it out. Also, choose to go makeup free when you can. Wash, cleanse, and moisturize your face in the morning using lightweight products and leave your face without makeup so your pores can breathe easy for a few hours.

8. Stay Out of the Sun

A little bit of sun has been known to reduce breakouts but too much  can cause damage to your skin and prompt a breakout. If you’re planning a weekend at the beach, be sure to load up on sunscreen and moisturizer–these will help keep your skin hydrated and protected from the sun which will equal less breakouts this summer.

However, like moisturizer, choose a lightweight sunscreen specifically for use on your face. These “face” specific sunscreens often don’t contain added oils, fragrances, and chemicals that will put a heavy layer on your skin and clog up your pores. Remember, when you use heavy products and sweat, you often trap perspiration, oil, and dirt under beauty products and block the pores, which causes acne.

9. Exercise 

Exercising daily will not only help you look and feel better but it will also help reduce the frequency of your breakouts. Working out increases the blood flow through the body which will keep your skin looking healthy and radiant. Plus, when you workout, you perspire more regularly, which means you eliminate dirt, toxins, and chemicals a lot more efficiently.

More efficient perspiration in addition to hydrating more often will also prevent acne. As you drink more water and perspire, sweat is cleaner and clearer, which will also help prevent pore blockage, oily skin, and acne breakouts.

10. Reduce Stress

Staying calm and happy has actually been proven to help control breakouts. Acne often appears when someone becomes stressed out or worried about something (perhaps you’re worried about breaking out) and tends to spread faster in these circumstances as well. The best thing to do is to keep calm and try not to sweat the small stuff. In doing so, you’ll feel and look better.

In fact, dermatologists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, suggest that acne prone individuals experience acne flare ups when they are exposed to stressful situations. And although emotional stress won’t trigger breakouts, stress potentially worsens an existing skin disorder.

How to Protect Your Skin From Sun

The sun can do a lot of good. It regulates sleep cycles, stimulates the body’s production of vitamin D, and enhances feelings of well-being. But there’s also a downside: Exposure to sun can lead to wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer.

In fact, sunshine is considered the single biggest cause of visible aging. But you don’t have to succumb to the damaging rays. Even if you haven’t been sun savvy in the past, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin, says Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. Here are a few important skin care tips for sun protection.

For starters, every woman should eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidant compounds, which reduce the damaging effects of sunshine. (Refraining from smoking also makes a difference because cigarette smoke creates huge numbers of skin-damaging molecules.)

But the most important thing you can do is shield your skin from the sun. As long as you use sunscreen, take advantage of shade, and wear the right clothing, you can enjoy your favorite outdoor activities without worrying about the damaging rays.


Every time the sun strikes your skin, the skin produces pigment that scatters and absorbs the rays. The resulting tan means your skin is defending itself from harmful radiation.

But a tan can do only so much. Over time, the ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation in sunshine can weaken the lower layer of skin, known as the dermis, and promote wrinkles, brown spots, and the development of skin cancer.

The most common (and least aggressive) form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. It begins in the top layer of skin, the epidermis, and generally doesn’t spread any further. While another form—squamous cell carcinoma—often remains at its original site, it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be cured if detected early. However, melanoma—a cancer that starts in the skin’s pigment cells and readily spreads to other organs—can be deadly. It causes 75% of all deaths from skin cancer.

How can you protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays? This four-step action plan of skin care tips for sun protection will make all the difference.[pagebreak]


There’s no way to accurately predict whose skin is most likely to show premature signs of aging or who is more likely to develop skin cancer, says Dee Anna Glaser, MD, associate professor of dermatology at St. Louis University School of Medicine.

You should schedule a skin exam with your dermatologist at least once a year after the age of 40. If skin cancer runs in your family, you may want to start earlier than that. In addition, it’s important to do self-exams once a month. Signs of trouble include:

Small pearly white bumps, or sores on the skin that bleed and don’t heal.

Red, scaly bumps that resemble a scar and have a depression in the middle.

Dark spots that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, have more than one color, and are bigger than the size of a pencil eraser. These spots may be flat or elevated.

Anyone can get skin cancer, but some people have a much higher risk than others. The risk factors include:

Fair skin. It doesn’t contain as much of the natural pigment called melanin that scatters the sun’s rays.

Multiple moles or “beauty marks.” Melanoma cells are more abundant in moles and freckles. The more beauty marks you have, the greater the risk that cancer cells will be present.

A history of sunburns. Even if you’ve had only one blistering sunburn in your life, you have a higher risk for developing skin cancer.

A tropical address. The ozone layer, which blocks ultraviolet light, is thinner in tropical regions. Ultraviolet radiation is stronger in the southern United States than it is in the north.


Wearing sunscreen is essential for your skin care and sun protection. You should use it every day, especially when you’re spending time outdoors. To get the most benefits from sunscreen, here’s what Glaser advises.

Choose products with a high SPF. It stands for “sun protection factor,” and it’s a measure of how well sunscreen protects your skin.

SPF refers to the length of time that sunscreen protects the skin. Suppose your skin naturally starts to burn in 20 minutes. If you use sunscreen with an SPF of 15, you won’t begin to burn for 5 hours—15 times longer. Always use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, Glaser advises.

Apply it often. In real life, sunscreens aren’t always as effective as the SPF would indicate, says Glaser. If you’re swimming, sweating a lot, or rubbing your skin with a towel, the sunscreen is going to dissipate. Reapply this form of sun protection every 2 hours—more often if you’re swimming or perspiring a lot.

Buy a broad-spectrum sunscreen. These sunscreens will help block UVB and UVA rays. UVB light is the primary cause of sunburns, and protecting skin against UVA light plays an important role in preventing wrinkling and signs of aging. Choose a product that contains zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or avobenzone, also known as Parsol 1789.

Apply it with your makeup. If you use moisturizers or other skin care products in the morning, it’s fine to apply your sun protection sunscreen at the same time. First, apply topical medications if you use them. Let them dry, then apply alpha hydroxy acid or other anti-aging creams if you use them. Be sure to follow with a moisturizer, especially if you’re using alpha hydroxy acids, which may have a drying effect on the skin. Then apply the sunscreen, followed by any makeup you’re going to wear.

Give it time to work. In general, sunscreen is most effective when it’s absorbed into the skin. Rub it on about 20 minutes before you go outside, says Glaser.

Use the right amount. It takes about an ounce of sunscreen to cover the average person’s body. That’s about the amount that would fill a shot glass. “You should feel messy after putting it on,” Glaser says.


Wearing sunscreen helps to decrease the incidence of wrinkles and prevent the development of skin cancer. But sunscreen isn’t enough by itself. Here are some additional skin care tips to protect the skin.

Always wear shades. Sunglasses protect the delicate skin around the eyes from wrinkles. They also help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading causes of vision loss in the elderly. Wear shades whenever you go outside, even on hazy days, says Phillip Calenda, MD, an ophthalmologist at Westchester Vision Care in Scarsdale, NY.

The best sunglasses block 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays—look for ones that have labels claiming 100% or total UV protection. Wraparound sunglasses and styles that fit close to the eye are especially good because they prevent the sun’s rays from coming in through the sides.

Wear a hat. A tightly woven hat made of canvas, with a 4-inch brim all the way around, helps shade your face, ears, and the back of your neck.

Wear long-sleeve shirts. And wear long pants. They offer the best protection from the sun’s burning rays.

Buy clothing with tight-knit weaves. It’s best to buy tight-weave clothes, some of which have SPF ratings just like sunscreen. Companies that sell high-SPF clothing include Sun Precautions, Solarveil, and SunGrubbies.com.


Sun protection shouldn’t stop at the end of summer. Skiing without protecting your skin can be just as damaging as lying on the beach. To protect your skin in all seasons: Check the UV index. The National Weather Service and the United States Environmental Protection Agency post information on their Web sites about the daily UV index—the amount of ultraviolet radiation that is expected to reach the earth’s surface when the sun is at its highest point.

Ultraviolet radiation between zero and 2 is considered minimal and between 3 and 4 is low. It’s moderate at 5 to 6, and high at 7 to 9. A UV index rating above 10 is considered to be very high. If you can’t avoid the sun when the index is moderate or higher, be sure to protect your skin.

Avoid midday sun. Whenever possible, stay out of the sun between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the rays are strongest.

Stay in the shade. Enjoy the outdoors from underneath a tree or umbrella—and even then, use sunscreen because UV rays bounce around a lot. You can get burned even when you’re in the shade.

Forget about tanning booths. For some people, the UVA rays in tanning booths can produce a tan faster than the sun can. That’s because the rays are intense–and damaging.

Benefits of Dry Fruits and Nuts

Dry fruits and nuts everyday will keep diseases and stress away.

It is a known fact that dry fruits and nuts are packed with essential nutrients. Though available in small packages, they are an abundant source of proteins, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Right from skin benefits to medicinal benefits, dry fruits and nuts give you every reason to include them in your diet. Some of the benefits are listed below:

  • Keep Heart Diseases at Bay
    A great way to prevent cardiovascular problems, dry fruits and nuts help reduce the risk of coronary heart problems. Nuts such as cashews contain mono-unsaturated fats, or the good fat that promote cardiovascular health. While pistachios contain vitamin B6 that prevents heart problems, dates protect us from atherosclerosis, which is a major cause of strokes.
  • Prevent Anemia
    With high iron levels, dry fruits like prunes, raisins, and apricots are essentials to fight or prevent anemia. Dry fruits have optimal levels of vitamins and minerals, and are a natural solution for weight management.
  • Maintain Cholesterol
    Dry fruits are a necessary portion in your daily diet – they help to maintain your cholesterol level. While cashews contain zero cholesterol, pistachios contain fats that are helpful in lowering high cholesterol levels. Rich in iron, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium, raisins promote blood circulation. A daily dose of almonds, raisins, and pistachios will go a long way in maintaining your cholesterol levels.
  • Improve Hemoglobin Levels
    Considered as a rich source of potassium, vitamin A, fiber, and copper, prunes help in maintaining high energy levels, while cashews with high copper concentration help in energy production. Almonds in particular, assist in the formation of new blood cells and are extremely effective in maintaining and improving hemoglobin level.
  • Beneficial for Crucial Body Organs
    Dry fruits contain the right blend of unsaturated fats, vitamin B, phosphorus, copper, and iron that are conducive for the proper functioning of the crucial organs of our body.

    Raisins alone are a powerful source of calcium and vitamin A that are beneficial for bone formation and prevent weakening of vision. Containing high levels of magnesium and calcium, cashews support healthy muscles and gums. Termed as the ‘Brain Food’, walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for brain development.

A tasty and convenient snack, dry fruits and nuts are the ideal substitute for high-calorie snacks. With natural sugars and fiber, zero cholesterol and fats, and a variety of delectable flavors, dry fruits and nuts are an easy source of all essential nutrients. The right and regular mix of almonds, cashews, pistachios, dates, raisins and other dry fruits and nuts are all you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Browse through the wide assortment of delicious and nutritious dry fruits and nuts at DryFruit Basket.

Benefits of Aloe Vera for skin care

The magic formula of Aloe Vera lies in its very long, succulent leaves – is it doesn’t gel which enables aloe notara a sensational plant. It’s full of beneficial materials like polysaccharides, lectins and also mannans for example. The primary constituent will be water but it also packs within a bulk regarding minerals, vitamins and a lot of active materials. The beauty with the plant lies in the belief that this ingredient can be utilized in almost any form – treatment or solution based so that it is ideal for being marketed like a product inside cosmetic and also medical grounds.

It is a great moisturizer intended for skin. Aloe Vera gel rejuvenates skin, hydrates this and keeps your skin layer looking fresh all of the times.

Aloe Vera gel has anti-microbial properties rendering it ideal to deal with acne and also pimples.

It is a great normally occurring anti-oxidant.

It is recognized to retain the skin’s suppleness – rendering it an excellent anti-aging treatment.

Aloe Vera is recognized to reduce pain and infection – equally internally and also externally. It really is medicinally also accustomed to treat sunshine burns, insect bites, eczema, reductions and chronic wounds.

Below are among the best Aloe Vera air filter recipes that you can do at house at 1 comfort. But if you’re making the particular Aloe Vera gel at your home and want to use this regularly, then retain the extracted gel in the air limited container inside the fridge. In this way the gel will likely be in a superb condition to make use of it later.

4 Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair

Healthy hair shouldn’t just look the part- it should feel great, too. With all the unfortunate damage our hair faces from weather, styling tools and products, it’s hard to find the right solution that can be the hero our locks are looking for. Thankfully, Aloe Vera is a natural ingredient that can help fight countless hair issues without breaking the bank.

Because of its various healing nutrients, Aloe Vera is a plant species often used in various herbal medicines. Aloe Vera is rich in amino acids, vitamin A, folic acid and vitamin C. While it seems like just about everybody knows Aloe-Vera can be used as a go-to solution for sun burn relief, who knew you could use this soothing gel for damage relief for your hair, too? Read on to find out how Aloe Vera can be utilized as much more than a skin treatment, and why we love it for fighting hair damage, too.

1.  Dandruff

Aloe Vera can be used in dandruff treatment and prevention. Just like Aloe Vera soothes dry skin from a sun burn, it can also moisturize a dry scalp, which helps to alleviate the presence of pesky flakes. Treating a flaky scalp is also a key factor in eliminating dandruff all together.

2.  Oily Hair

Treating dry hair can be often be accompanied by undesirable oil build-up. Thankfully, Aloe Vera can be used as a rinse for oily hair without additional, unwanted effects like making hair dry or brittle. The rinse is easy to make and only needs one part aloe vera juice with two parts lemon juice, then apply to the shaft of the hair.

3.  Frizzy Hair

The amino acids in Aloe Vera can promote strength and add shine to your hair. As a result, it helps to tame frizzy hair while still leaving  your locks silky and glossy. Since Aloe Vera also helps lock in moisture to improve the smoothness of hair, it tends to also work well as a detangler, too.

4.  Hair Loss

Aloe Vera can help prevent frequent hair loss and promote hair growth.  With hair loss, using Aloe Vera regularly will rejuvenate the hair follicles and reduce thinning. Along with hair loss prevention, Aloe Vera enzymes promote hair growth by helping your locks retain moisture, and by clearing dead skin cells off of your scalp.

Aloe Vera for Face

Aloe vera truly is a miracle plant. Grown in drier climates such as those of Africa and India, this herbal remedy can provide natural relief for a variety of conditions including dry skin and severe acne. The beneficial part of the aloe vera plant can be found in the clear, sappy substance hidden within in its long, thick leaves.

Benefits of Aloe Vera for Face

Moisturize Because aloe vera possesses excellent moisturizing capabilities it is commonly used as a daily skin cream. It is excellent for facial use, especially for women who use makeup frequently, as it effectively cleans and softens the skin. The moisturizing effect works for both men and women.
Treat Acne The antimicrobial properties of aloe vera also make it an excellent option for acne treatment. Not only will aloe vera help to prevent acne, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the skin inflammation caused by acne.
Fight Skin Aging Applying aloe vera gel to your face regularly will help to diminish the lines and wrinkles associated with ageing and loss of elasticity in the skin. This is due to the simple fact that aloe vera contains both vitamin C and E, both of which are known to be vital for healthy skin and also help to improve natural firmness, leaving your skin soft, supple and hydrated.
Treat Sunburn The healing properties of aloe vera gel can additionally help to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with sunburn. It serves to restore your skin’s natural moisture and also acts as a protective barrier against further damage.

7 Amazing Uses for Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Plant, Isolated on White

An aloe vera plant can add a lovely touch of green to any office or home. But did you know that your favorite potted plant could be used for so much more than household décor?

The powerful aloe vera plant is a part of the Aloaceae, or lily, family, which is known for its diverse perennials with short stems and thick, crowded leaves.

Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Native to North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Canary Islands, today aloe vera is grown in tropical climates worldwide. From relieving heartburn to slowing the spread of cancer, researchers are only first beginning to unlock all of the powerful uses of this universal plant and its many amazing byproducts.

1. Your houseplant could fight your heartburn. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that often results in symptoms including heartburn. A recent review explains that consuming 1 to 3 onces of aloe gel at mealtimes could reduce the severity of GERD and other digestion-related problems. The plant’s low toxicity makes it a safe and gentle remedy.

2. A little aloe vera gel a day could keep bacteria on fruits and vegetables away. In a recent study, an aloe vera gel coating on tomato plants was able to block, not all, but many types of harmful bacteria. Similar results were found in a different study with apples. This means that aloe gel could help produce stay fresh for longer without the need for potentially dangerous chemicals.

3. An alternative to mouthwash. A 2014 study found aloe vera extract to be a safe and effective alternative to chemical-based mouthwashes. The plant’s natural ingredients, which include a healthy dose of vitamin C, can block plaque and also provide relief if you have bleeding or swelling gums.

4. The new blood sugar regulator is greener than ever. Might aloe vera be able to help people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels? One study conducted in Thailand found that two tablespoons of aloe vera juice per day caused blood sugar levels to fall in people with type 2 diabetes, which means it may have a future in diabetes treatment. These results were confirmed with a later study from Turkey that used pulp extract.

5. A little extra push. Recently, a team of Nigerian scientists conducted a study to determine whether local folklore about aloe vera was true. Experimenting on rats, they found that gel made from typical aloe vera houseplants was able to relieve constipation.

6. Brighten more than just your office space. You can use aloe vera to keep your skin clear and hydrated. According to a study, the plant is particularly special because it’s designed to live in dry, unstable climates. To survive, the leaves of aloe vera store water. The combination of the moist leaf and special plant compounds called complex carbohydrates make it an effective face moisturizer and pain reliever.

7. Stepping up in the battle against cancer. According to a new study, aloe-emodin, a compound in aloe vera leaves, could slow down the spread of breast cancer cells. Researchers are currently investigating how aloe may play a role in other types of cancer, as well.

Health Benefits of Honey













Sweetener: Sugar can be substituted with honey in many food and drinks. Honey contains about 69% glucose and fructose, enabling it to be used as a sweetener that is better for your overall health than normal white sugar.

Weight Loss: Though honey has more calories than sugar, when honey is consumed with warm water, it helps in digesting the fat stored in your body. Similarly, honey and lemon juice as well as honey and cinnamon help in reducing weight. Read more about the benefits of honey in weight loss.

Energy Source: According to the USDA, honey contains about 64 calories per tablespoon. Therefore, honey is used by many people as a source of energy. On the other hand, one tablespoon of sugar will give you about 15 calories. Furthermore, the carbohydrates in honey can be easily converted into glucose by even the most sensitive stomachs, since it is very easy for the body to digest this pure, natural substance.

Improving Athletic Performance: Recent research has shown that honey is an excellent ergogenic aid and helps in boosting the performance of athletes. Honey is a great way to maintain blood sugar levels, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration after a workout, as well as regulating the amount of insulin in the body, as well as energy expenditure.

Source of Vitamins and Minerals: Honey contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. The type of vitamins and minerals and their quantity depends on the type of flowers used for apiculture. Commonly, honey contains Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. If you check the vitamin and mineral content in regular sugar from any other source, you will find it to be completely absent or insignificant.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties: Honey has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it is often used as a natural antiseptic in traditional medicines.

Antioxidants: Honey contains nutraceuticals, which are very effective for the removal of free radicals from the body. As a result, our body immunity is improved against many conditions, even potentially fatal ones like cancer or heart disease.

Skin Care with Milk and Honey: Milk and honey are often served together, since both of these ingredients help in creating smooth, beautiful skin. Consuming milk and honey every morning is a common practice in many countries for this very reason.

Honey in Wound Management:  Significant research is being carried out to study the benefits of honey in the treatment of wounds. The Nursing Standard explains some of these benefits of honey in wound management in the document. These have been listed below:

Honey possesses antimicrobial properties.
It helps in promoting autolytic debridement.
It deodorizes malodorous wounds.
It speeds up the healing process by stimulating wound tissues.
It helps in initiating the healing process in dormant wounds.
Honey also helps in promoting moist wound healing.

12 benefits of green tea we bet you didn’t know!

Do you drink green tea? If you are trying to improve your health or drop a few pounds, this ‘super-drink’ deserves your full attention.

1 Weight loss
“Green tea increases the metabolism. The polyphenol found in green tea works to intensify levels of fat oxidation and the rate at which your body turns food into calories,” Kolkata-based fitness expert Souman Bose told us. Several studies (including research at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences) show that green tea leads to decreases in body fat, especially in the abdominal area. One of these studies was a randomized controlled trial in 240 men and women that went on for 12 weeks. In this study, the green tea group had significant decreases in body fat percentage, body weight, waist circumference and abdominal fat. However, some studies don’t show statistically significant increases in weight loss with green tea, so this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Bottom Line: Some studies show that green tea leads to increased weight loss. It is particularly effective at reducing the dangerous abdominal fat.

2 Diabetes
Green tea apparently helps regulate glucose levels slowing the rise of blood sugar after eating. This can prevent high insulin spikes and resulting fat storage.

3 Heart disease
Scientists think, green tea works on the lining of blood vessels, helping keep them stay relaxed and better able to withstand changes in blood pressure. It may also protect against the formation of clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks.

4 Healthy teeth
Green tea can kill bacteria, which improves dental health and lowers your risk of infection. The catechins in green tea have other biological effects as well. Some studies (including a study recently published in the Journal of Periodontology)show that they can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses like the influenza virus, potentially lowering your risk of infections. Streptococcus mutans is the primary harmful bacteria in the mouth. It causes plaque formation and is a leading contributor to cavities and tooth decay. Studies show that the catechins in green tea can inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans. Green tea consumption is associated with improved dental health and a lower risk of caries. “Another awesome benefit of green tea, multiple studies show that it can reduce bad breath,” Saini says. So, the catechins in green tea may inhibit the growth of bacteria and some viruses. This can lower the risk of infections and lead to improvements in dental health, a lower risk of caries and reduced bad breath.

5 Cholesterol
Green tea reduces bad cholesterol in the blood and improves the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol.

6 Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Green tea is said to delay the deterioration caused by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Studies carried out on mice (in University of Missouri) showed that green tea protected brain cells from dying and restored damaged brain cells. According to Bose, green tea may protect your brain in old age, lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Not only can green tea improve brain function in the short term, it may also protect your brain in old age. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in humans and a leading cause of dementia. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and involves the death of dopamine producing neurons in the brain. Multiple studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons in test tubes and animal models, potentally lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “The bioactive compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons and may reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the two most common neurodegenerative disorders,” Dr Anuj Kumar, a Delhi-based neurosurgeon tells us.

7 Brain function
Compounds in green tea can improve brain function and make you smarter. The key active ingredient is caffeine, which is a known stimulant. It doesn’t contain as much as coffee, but enough to produce a response without causing the ‘jittery’ effects associated with too much caffeine.

8 Blood pressure
Regular consumption of green tea is thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

9 Depression
Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in tea leaves. It is this substance that is thought to provide a relaxing and tranquilizing effect and be a great benefit to tea drinkers.

10 Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
Tea catechins are strong antibacterial and antiviral agents which make them effective for treating everything from influenza to cancer. In some studies green tea has been shown to inhibit the spread of many diseases.11 Skincare
Green tea can apparently also help with wrinkles and the signs of aging, This is because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that green tea applied topically can reduce sun damage.

11 Cancer
Antioxidants in green tea may lower your risk of various types of cancer. Cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells. It is one of the world’s leading causes of death. It is well known that oxidative damage contributes to the development of cancer and that antioxidants can have a protective effect. Green tea is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants, so it makes perfect sense that it could reduce your risk of cancer, which it appears to do: Be it breast , prostate cancer, colorectal cancer. According to Kumar, green tea can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, but it is also widely thought to kill cancer cells in general without damaging the healthy tissue around them. It is important to keep in mind that it may be a bad idea to put milk in your tea, because it can reduce the antioxidant value. Bottom Line: Green tea has powerful antioxidants that may protect against cancer. Multiple studies show that green tea drinkers have a lower risk of various types of cancer.

12 Stress
The thiamine in green tea has been shown to produce a calming effect. The only thing is that in order for you to feel less stressed you might have to drink 6 cups of it. This decaffeinated green tea acts as a perfect substitute for coffee.

Ginger – its benefits!

Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavor and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. Fresh ginger root is available year round in the produce section of your local market.

Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant with a firm, striated texture. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young.

Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

Gastrointestinal Relief

A clue to ginger’s success in eliminating gastrointestinal distress is offered by recent double-blind studies, which have demonstrated that ginger is very effective in preventing the symptoms of motion sickness, especially seasickness. In fact, in one study, ginger was shown to be far superior to Dramamine, a commonly used over-the-counter and prescription drug for motion sickness. Ginger reduces all symptoms associated with motion sickness including dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweating.

Safe and Effective Relief of Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy

Ginger’s anti-vomiting action has been shown to be very useful in reducing the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, even the most severe form, hyperemesis gravidum, a condition which usually requires hospitalization. In a double-blind trial, ginger root brought about a significant reduction in both the severity of nausea and number of attacks of vomiting in 19 of 27 women in early pregnancy (less than 20 weeks). Unlike antivomiting drugs, which can cause severe birth defects, ginger is extremely safe, and only a small dose is required.

A review of six double-blind, randomized controlled trials with a total of 675 participants, published in the April 2005 issue of the journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology,has confirmed that ginger is effective in relieving the severity of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. The review also confirmed the absence of significant side effects or adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These substances are believed to explain why so many people with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly. In two clinical studies involving patients who responded to conventional drugs and those who didn’t, physicians found that 75% of arthritis patients and 100% of patients with muscular discomfort experienced relief of pain and/or swelling.

Arthritis-related problems with your aging knees? Regularly spicing up your meals with fresh ginger may help, suggests a study published in a recent issue of Osteoarthritis Cartilage. In this twelve month study, 29 patients with painful arthritis in the knee (6 men and 23 women ranging in age from 42-85 years) participated in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study. Patients switched from placebo to ginger or visa versa after 3 months. After six months, the double-blind code was broken and twenty of the patients who wished to continue were followed for an additional six months.

By the end of the first six month period, those given ginger were experiencing significantly less pain on movement and handicap than those given placebo. Pain on movement decreased from a score of 76.14 at baseline to 41.00, while handicap decreased from 73.47 to 46.08. In contrast, those who were switched from ginger to placebo experienced an increase in pain of movement (up to 82.10) and handicap (up to 80.80) from baseline. In the final phase of the study when all patients were getting ginger, pain remained low in those already taking ginger in phase 2, and decreased again in the group that had been on placebo.

Not only did participants’ subjective experiences of pain lessen, but swelling in their knees, an objective measurement of lessened inflammation, dropped significantly in those treated with ginger. The mean target knee circumference in those taking ginger dropped from 43.25cm when the study began to 39.36cm by the 12th week. When this group was switched to placebo in the second phase of the study, their knee circumferences increased, while those who had been on placebo but were now switched to ginger experienced a decrease in knee circumference. In the final phase, when both groups were given ginger, mean knee circumference continued to drop, reaching lows of 38.78 and 36.38 in the two groups.

How does ginger work its anti-inflammatory magic? Two other recent studies provide possible reasons.

A study published in the November 2003 issue of Life Sciences suggests that at least one reason for ginger’s beneficial effects is the free radical protection afforded by one of its active phenolic constituents, 6-gingerol. In this in vitro (test tube) study, 6-gingerol was shown to significantly inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a highly reactive nitrogen molecule that quickly forms a very damaging free radical called peroxynitrite. Another study appearing in the November 2003 issue of Radiation Research found that in mice, five days treatment with ginger (10 mg per kilogram of body weight) prior to exposure to radiation not only prevented an increase in free radical damage to lipids (fats found in numerous bodily components from cell membranes to cholesterol), but also greatly lessened depletion of the animals’ stores of glutathione, one of the body’s most important internally produced antioxidants.

A study published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine sheds further light on the mechanisms of action that underlie ginger’s anti-inflammatory effectiveness. In this research, ginger was shown to suppress the pro-inflammatory compounds (cytokines and chemokines) produced by synoviocytes (cells comprising the synovial lining of the joints), chrondrocytes (cells comprising joint cartilage) and leukocytes (immune cells).

Protection against Colorectal Cancer

Gingerols, the main active components in ginger and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavor, may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells, suggests research presented at the Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, a major meeting of cancer experts that took place in Phoenix, AZ, October 26-30, 2003.

In this study, researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Hormel Institute fed mice specially bred to lack an immune system a half milligram of (6)-gingerol three times a week before and after injecting human colorectal cancer cells into their flanks. Control mice received no (6)-gingerol.

Tumors first appeared 15 days after the mice were injected, but only 4 tumors were found in the group of -gingerol-treated mice compared to 13 in the control mice, plus the tumors in the -gingerol group were smaller on average. Even by day 38, one mouse in the (6)-gingerol group still had no measurable tumors. By day 49, all the control mice had been euthanized since their tumors had grown to one cubic centimeter (0.06 cubic inch), while tumors in 12 of the (6)-gingerol treated mice still averaged 0.5 cubic centimeter—half the maximum tumor size allowed before euthanization.

Research associate professor Ann Bode noted, “These results strongly suggest that ginger compounds may be effective chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agents for colorectal carcinomas.”

In this first round of experiments, mice were fed ginger before and after tumor cells were injected. In the next round, researchers will feed the mice ginger only after their tumors have grown to a certain size. This will enable them to look at the question of whether a patient could eat ginger to slow the metastasis of a nonoperable tumor. Are they optimistic? The actions of the University of Minnesota strongly suggest they are. The University has already applied for a patent on the use of (6)-gingerol as an anti-cancer agent and has licensed the technology to Pediatric Pharmaceuticals (Iselin, N.J.).

Ginger Induces Cell Death in Ovarian Cancer Cells

Lab experiments presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer, by Dr Rebecca Lui and her colleagues from the University of Michigan, showed that gingerols, the active phytonutrients in ginger, kill ovarian cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and autophagocytosis (self-digestion).

Ginger extracts have been shown to have both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on cells. To investigate the latter, Dr Liu examined the effect of a whole ginger extract containing 5% gingerol on a number of different ovarian cancer cell lines.

Exposure to the ginger extract caused cell death in all the ovarian cancer lines studied.

A pro-inflammatory state is thought to be an important contributing factor in the development of ovarian cancer. In the presence of ginger, a number of key indicators of inflammation (vascular endothelial growth factor, interleukin-8 and prostaglandin E2) were also decreased in the ovarian cancer cells.

Conventional chemotherapeutic agents also suppress these inflammatory markers, but may cause cancer cells to become resistant to the action of the drugs. Liu and her colleagues believe that ginger may be of special benefit for ovarian cancer patients because cancer cells exposed to ginger do not become resistant to its cancer-destroying effects. In the case of ovarian cancer, an ounce of prevention—in the delicious form of liberal use of ginger—is an especially good idea. Ovarian cancer is often deadly since symptoms typically do not appear until late in the disease process, so by the time ovarian cancer is diagnosed, it has spread beyond the ovaries. More than 50% of women who develop ovarian cancer are diagnosed in the advanced stages of the disease.

Immune Boosting Action

Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification. German researchers have recently found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that may help fight off infections. Investigators have isolated the gene responsible for the compound and the protein it produces, which they have named dermicidin. Dermicidin is manufactured in the body’s sweat glands, secreted into the sweat, and transported to the skin’s surface where it provides protection against invading microorganisms, including bacteria such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (a common cause of skin infections), and fungi, including Candida albicans.

Ginger is so concentrated with active substances, you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food, although in the studies noted above, patients who consumed more ginger reported quicker and better relief.

10 Daily Habits to Stop Back Pain

  1. Although determining the cause of back pain can be complicated, preventing pain is actually quite simple. It’s all about relieving pressure, reducing strain, protecting the spine, and strengthening the muscles. Changing a few daily habits could make the difference in maintaining a healthy, pain-free back for the short and long term.

2. Elevating your legs slightly relieves pressure on your back as you sleep. Sleeping on your back puts pressure on your spine. You can cut that pressure in half by placing a pillow under your knees.

3. The numerous health benefits of exercise are well known. A regular strength training routine that focuses on the core muscles of the body can also help reduce your risk of back-related incidents, such as strains and muscle spasms. There are many ways to maintain a stronger, more flexible back. Try incorporating back and abdominal strengthening exercises into your workout at least twice a week.

4. Strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis. It’s one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, particularly for women. Keep the bones in your spine strong by consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Calcium can be found in milk, yogurt, leafy greens, or vitamin supplements. Vitamin D sources include fatty fish, egg yolks, beef liver, and cheese. Always consult your doctor before taking any kind of supplement.

5. Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are best bets for back pain prevention. They reduce the strain on the back while standing. Sorry, ladies: pumps with less than a 1-inch heel are the best bet for your back.

6. Good posture isn’t just a way to look more proper. It protects the intricate pieces of your spine to keep them functioning and healthy. Bad posture puts strain and stress on the back and can actually change the architecture of the spine itself. Avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways while standing.

7. When sitting in your office chair, use the same good posture techniques you would use while standing. Because many of us spend hours each day sitting down, it’s critical that you maintain good posture and support your back. Choose a quality chair that provides firm support in the lower back area, and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.

8. Whether you are at an office party or a bar for happy hour, avoid sitting in an awkward position or standing in one place. Move around the room instead. This prevents pressure on the spine, which can be a result of standing in one place for too long.

9. We all know smoking is a serious health risk. It turns out that numerous studies have found smokers are also more likely than nonsmokers to experience back pain. One reason for the higher risk is that nicotine restricts the blood flow to the disks in the spine. This can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture. Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood, which causes a reduction in nourishment to the muscles and tendons in the back. An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains and pulls that cause back pain.

10. Back pain is frequently caused by improper or heavy lifting, but it doesn’t only happen to those lifting heavy boxes on the job. Carrying a bulky laptop bag, suitcase, camera, or load of groceries could also cause a strain on the back. Whenever possible, take some weight off your shoulders by carrying less, distributing the weight to both sides of the body, or shifting the weight from shoulder to shoulder. Consider using a rolling cart or bag with wheels for heavier loads like bags of groceries or boxes of files.