8 Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Amy Marturana from My Fitness Pal shared that sugar is delicious. Anyone who denies that is lying. But because life is unfair, sugar, especially in copious amounts, is really bad for your health. In fact, once you learn about all the ways sugar impacts your body, it’s difficult to look at it the same way (despite knowing how heavenly it tastes).

So how do you know if you’re eating too much? Here are eight red flags your body is sending you that it’s time to cut back on the sweet stuff.

1. You constantly crave sugary things.

The more sugar you eat, the more you’ll crave it. “More cravings then equal consuming more sugar—it becomes a vicious and addictive cycle,” Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., author of The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great and Look Years Younger, tells SELF. This isn’t just because your taste buds have adapted and left you needing more and more to get that same taste, but also because of how sugar gives you a high followed by a crash, just like an actual drug. “By eating a high sugar diet, you cause a hormonal response in your body that’s like a wave, it brings you up and then you crash down and it triggers your body to want more sugar.”

2. You feel sluggish throughout the day.

What goes up must come down. After sugar causes an initial spike of insulin and that “high” feeling, it causes an inevitable crash. “Energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, so when you’re consuming too much sugar, the highs and lows of your blood sugar lead to highs and lows of energy,” Alpert says. Eating a lot of sugar also means it’s likely you’re not eating enough protein and fiber, both important nutrients for sustained energy.

3. Your skin won’t stop breaking out.

“Some people are sensitive to getting a spike in insulin from sugar intake, which can set off a hormonal cascade that can lead to a breakout like acne or rosacea,” Rebecca Kazin, M.D., of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and the Johns Hopkins department of dermatology, tells SELF. A sugar binge can show up on your face in just a few days. If your skin’s unruly, Kazin recommends reassessing your diet, otherwise “you may be treating skin for other issues without getting to the bottom of what’s really going on.”

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“Are we there yet?”

Schar, producers of gluten-free products shared that long car journeys with children are often exhausting, boring and take their toll on your nerves. But this does not have to be the case. With a bit of preparation and our ideas and suggestions, which are guaranteed to be gluten free, bad moods need never be an issue when you are on the way to your holiday destination.

  • Small children in particular often react sensitively if you disturb their routine. You should therefore consider your little ones’ sleeping and eating habits even when you are en route. On no account should you take the children out of their car seats when they are asleep; your offspring should never be in the car without their seat belts on.
  • Even though you have air conditioning, consider that the little ones need protection from the sun: The sun shades that can be attached to the windows using a suction cup are amusing to look at and keep the worst of the heat at bay.
  • One thing that is really important is provisions. Fruit is great to take on a trip because it is easy to digest and does not sit heavily in the stomach. Lovingly prepared gluten free bread rolls, such as Ciabatta or Deli Style from Schar, which can be filled with all kinds of delicious ingredients, are also ideal.
  • In order to ensure that things are not too “healthy”, think about taking something sweet as well – which, of course, can be gluten free; unfilled biscuits such as Shortbread cookies may be crumbly, but they do not leave behind any greasy marks so they are safe to take with you in the car. Lightly salted gluten free snacks such as Schar Table Crackers also work well.

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Healthy Body, Healthy Bones

Jessica Walter, a freelance health writer for  Shield My Senior shared that eating healthily and being an appropriate weight from childhood onwards can have profound and long-lasting effects on your life. By making sensible lifestyle choices from a young age, you could be setting yourself up for great health during your senior years. There are many troublesome conditions that elderly people can experience, including the pain of a fractured hip. Yet this could be prevented by following some sensible advice.

Osteoporosis – While a broken bone may seem merely to be an annoyance, it can be much more serious, especially as you get older. For example, a fractured hip in old age is extremely painful and debilitating in itself and can also lead to complications such as blood clots, infection, heart attacks and stroke. According to the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, 50 million Americans either suffer from or are at risk of osteoporosis, a disease where low bone density makes bones weak and more likely to break. It is more common in women, with 50% suffering a fracture as a result of osteoporosis.

The causes of osteoporosis – There are a variety of factors which increase the risk of osteoporosis. Several of them unfortunately cannot be influenced by individuals. These include a family history of osteoporosis, thyroid problems, a personal history of broken bones or rheumatoid arthritis and lactose intolerance. Age is also a major factor (women over 65 and men over 70 are more at risk) as is the menopause; women may lose 30% of bone mass during the first five postmenopausal years if they do not use hormone replacement therapy.

However, there are several factors in play which can be influenced by long-term lifestyle choices. Smoking, high caffeine, alcohol intake and long-term low consumption of calcium and vitamin D can contribute to the chance of experiencing osteoporosis, as can a lack of weight-bearing exercise. Being overweight can put extra stress on bones and joints and also lead to people exercising less.

How to live well to avoid osteoporosis – A healthy diet is crucial to keeping bones strong. Being the right weight and consuming a varied diet is an excellent starting point. It is also vital to ensure that both adults and children get enough calcium and understand the importance of nutrition from an early age, so that they can carry this knowledge with them throughout life. Calcium-rich foods include milk, yoghurt and cheese as well as leafy green vegetables. Vitamin D is also crucial for bone health. Dietary sources include dairy produce and oily fish such as salmon and tuna, and another major source is sunlight.

Keeping active and exercising can also really help to prevent osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercises help to build bones and keep them healthy. Examples of these include dancing, running, aerobics and tennis, all activities which both adults and children can enjoy.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweighs the risks of pesticides

It’s a list of the 12 vegetables and fruits with the most pesticides, and some people only buy organic versions of the items on the list. It’s the companion piece to the “Clean Fifteen,” which showcases the 15 options with the least pesticides.

These annual reports generate a lot of media coverage, and their presence seems to influence our grocery shopping habits. But research shows that the lists — which are being questioned for their scientific validity — may be doing more harm than good.

Organic or nothing?

It’s vital to eat your veggies. Low in calories but rich in vitamins and antioxidants, vegetables and fruits have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Yet, most Americans aren’t getting enough. Could the “Dirty Dozen” list may be part of the problem?

That depends on what message we take away when we read about pesticides in vegetables and fruit.

Researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago wanted to know how the list influences our buying habits. They surveyed more than 500 low-income shoppers about their thoughts on organic and conventional vegetables and fruit, and published results in the journal Nutrition Today.

They found that specifically naming the “Dirty Dozen” resulted in shoppers being less likely to buy any vegetables and fruit.

That’s right — it’s not just consumption of the top 12 pesticide-laden items that drops, it seems we buy and eat less of every vegetable and fruit. Misinformation about pesticides breeds fear and confusion, and many find it easier to skip fresh produce altogether.

And when asked about the promotion of organic produce, 61 percent of participants said they felt the media encouraged them to buy organic foods. The problem is that they are often unaffordable.

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Bacon, soda & too few nuts tied to big portion of US deaths

Overeating or not eating enough of the 10 foods and nutrients contributes to nearly half of U.S. deaths from these causes, the study suggests.

“Good” foods that were under-eaten include: nuts and seeds, seafood rich in omega-3 fats including salmon and sardines; fruits and vegetables; and whole grains.

“Bad” foods or nutrients that were over-eaten include salt and salty foods; processed meats including bacon, bologna and hot dogs; red meat including steaks and hamburgers; and sugary drinks.

The research is based on U.S. government data showing there were about 700,000 deaths in 2012 from heart disease, strokes and diabetes and on an analysis of national health surveys that asked participants about their eating habits. Most didn’t eat the recommended amounts of the foods studied.

The 10 ingredients combined contributed to about 45 percent of those deaths, according to the study.

It may sound like a familiar attack on the typical American diet, and the research echoes previous studies on the benefits of heart-healthy eating. But the study goes into more detail on specific foods and their risks or benefits, said lead author Renata Micha, a public health researcher and nutritionist at Tufts University.

The results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Micha said the foods and nutrients were singled out because of research linking them with the causes of death studied. For example, studies have shown that excess salt can increase blood pressure, putting stress on arteries and the heart. Nuts contain healthy fats that can improve cholesterol levels, while bacon and other processed meats contain saturated fats that can raise levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

In the study, too much salt was the biggest problem, linked with nearly 10 percent of the deaths. Overeating processed meats and undereating nuts and seeds and seafood each were linked with about 8 percent of the deaths.

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MARCH IS NATIONAL NUTRITION MONTH!

Cindy Maloney, R.N, B.A, PEL-CSN, Certified School Nurse at Glenbard North High School, shared this Wellness Tip:

Color your plate! A good variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure nutritional quality. The colors to include regularly are: dark green (spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans), yellow/orange (sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe), red (Cherries, strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes) and blue/purple (blue berries, purple grapes, eggplant, plums). Each of these colors contributes a unique health-promoting phytonutrient to you diet. Enjoy!

 

Source: Lynn Dugan, Registered Dietitian – check out Lynn’s web site for great recipes and more nutrition tips http://www.myplate2yours.com/ 

How you can become a Morning Person


“Do you set multiple alarms, press snooze, and hope you’ll wake up on time, just to be half asleep?  Well if you do, you’re not alone! So many of us struggle with getting up and being alert in the morning. But don’t worry, you can break the habit with just a few of these tips!”

Nighttime Prep – Don’t you just hate scrambling to get ready? The mornings where I’m rushing and looking for clothes to wear, breakfast to make, etc., it takes me a while to calm back down and get focused for the day. Preparing the night before, choosing an outfit, making your lunch, packing your bag, can help make your mornings run smoothly. Who knows, you may even get to sleep in a few minutes or enjoy a cup of coffee with the extra time you save by being prepared ahead of time.

Use this link to download the graphic: leesa_morning_person_x2_v3.jpg

Set a Bedtime – Sending yourself to bed at a decent hour is a great way to set yourself up for a productive morning. It might seem like an obvious tip, but setting a bedtime and sticking to it is harder than you think with distractions, like technology. So put down the cellphone and try going to bed a half hour earlier each night. This will help your body create a better sleep pattern and eventually you’ll reach your ideal bedtime.

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Benefits and Uses of Lavender Essential Oil

The use of essential oils for health and wellness is a practice that is becoming more and more common in homes all over the world. However, every essential oil has its own unique properties, so it’s important to learn what each can do.

This article, provided by Allen Wei from Lean To Relax shares  21 of the best uses and benefits specific to your mental health, skin care, hair, stomach, and more.

Mental Health

1. Get Better Sleep for More Energy in the Daytime

Lavender has been used for hundreds of years as a way to treat insomnia, restless leg syn-drome, and other sleep-related problems.

In the past, people would dry up lavender leaves and put them under their pillows. The scent given off was said to promote relaxation by inducing alpha waves in the brain.

Science-Based Research

A study was published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand which investi-gated the effects of lavender oil on mood, the central nervous system, and the autonomic nervous sys-tem.

The results showed that the lavender oil caused a decrease in blood pres-sure, skin tempera-ture, and heart rate, along with an increase in the power of alpha and theta brain activities.

How to use it?

In order to create your own lavender sleep aid, you can mix five or six drops of lavender essen-tial oil with a half cup of distilled water.

Add in one teaspoon of witch hazel and put it all into a spray bottle. Before bed, spritz your pillow case and linens with the lavender oil mixture.

You can also fill an oil diffuser with a few drops of the oil and set it by your bed.


2. Relieve Headaches

Lavender oil can be used to soothe and prevent headaches. Whether you suffer from mi-graines or other headache types such as gastric, nervous, general, sinus, or tension, this oil may be able to provide relief.

Science-Based Research

Researchers at the Mashhad University of Medical Science Department of Neurology per-formed a study on the efficacy of lavender oil inhalation in treating migraines.

The results showed 71% of those who inhaled lavender oil had symptoms improve partially or in full, while only 47% of the paraffin group reported improvements.

They concluded that inhaling lavender can be effec-tive in the acute management of migraine headaches.

How to use it?

There are a few different ways that you can use lavender oil in order to gain the benefits it has to offer for headaches.

One way is by getting an oil diffuser and running your lavender essential oil through it inside your home or office. Add four to five drops.

Another method is taking two to three drops of the oil and directly rubbing it in on the areas of your head that are feeling pain.


3. Reduce Anxiety and Depression

Lavender is calming, anti-convulsive, and a sedative that is used to reduce anxiety and depres-sive feelings.

For patients suffering from severe anxiety, lavender aromas can be used to aid in reprogramming the mind following a panic or acute attack.

With regular use, the relief process can start with the calming memories that surround the scent of lavender.

Science-Based Research

Forty-two college women studying in a nursing program at Keukdong College had reported is-sues with insomnia and depression.

They were entered into a study to determine if lavender scents would have an effect on their mental health conditions.

The results showed that lavender oil is beneficial for insomnia and depression in female college students.

How to use it?

One way to use lavender essential oils to reduce anxiety and depression is through hand massage. The scent can be mixed in with lotion and gently rubbed onto the surface of the skin.

For those that are suffering from panic or anxiety attacks, simply open up the bottle of oil and inhale the scent. Putting a few drops in a constantly running oil diffuser in your home is never a bad idea either as a preventative measure.


4. Reduce Agitation in Dementia

Lavender scents have been proven to create a relaxing, positive, and stable mood for those that use it.

People that suffer from dementia will frequently become confused which causes irritation and agitation. With the properties that lavender oil has, the ability to reduce these undesirable feelings is possible.

Science-Based Research

There have been a plethora of controlled clinical studies performed to evaluate the effec-tiveness of lavender oil in patients with dementia.

The goal being to determine if there are any changes in the participant’s moods, agitation, alertness, likelihood to wander, and other side effects related to the disease.

In one such study, lavender geranium and other essential oils were applied directly to the skin of 39 patients for an unspecified amount of time.

At the conclusion of the study, it was recorded that these individuals were more alert, less agitated, and they slept better at night. It was determined that lavender does have a positive effect on the mood of dementia patients, but further research is required.

How to use it?

For people that have been diagnosed with dementia, place an oil diffuser in their room with lav-ender oil.

This is an effective way for them to inhale the scent without someone having to ex-plain to them what they are doing and potentially confusing them even more.

Dementia patients that allow hand massages can also benefit from a few drops in their favorite lotion before appli-cation.

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15 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Jen Miller shared in her newsletter that chia seeds are a versatile superfood. They are rich in vitamins and minerals the support good health in many ways.

These low calorie, high nutrient grains of goodness are important for both the body and the brain.

Below, Jenn offers 15 amazing health benefits of chia seeds, and 8 recipes to try. It’s easier than ever to add this superfood to your diet!

1. Chia Seeds are nutrient-rich yet low calorie

Chia seeds are rich in nutrition but low in calories, making them superior for anyone looking to cut calories but still keep nutritional value high.

With slightly more than a hundred calories per serving, these healthful little seeds pack quite a nutritional punch for their calorie count.

Chia seeds are high in fiber, antioxidants, protein, and low in carbs and saturated fat.

Chia is high in omega-3 fatty acids (the same good fat found in foods like salmon and avocados), making them a great food for anyone looking to get more Omega-3s but doesn’t like seafood.

They’re also perfect for low-carb diets, and won’t put you over your daily calorie limit. (1)

The nutritional profile of Chia seeds (per one ounce serving) breaks down like this: (2)

  • 138 calories
  • 9 grams of fat
    • 0.9 grams of saturated fat
    • 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat
    • 0.7 grams of monounsaturated fat
    • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 5 grams of sodium
  • 115 milligrams of potassium
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates
    • 10 grams of dietary fiber
  • 4.7 grams of protein
  • Vitamins including calcium, iron, and magnesium

Bottom line: Chia seeds are called a superfood for a reason! They are low in calorie count but pack serious nutritional value.

2. Chia seeds are high in fiber and help keep you full

With 11 grams of fiber per serving, chia seeds provide almost half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. This is fantastic news for anyone looking for high nutrient foods that keep you full for a long time.

Doctors recommend you should get between 38 grams and 50 grams of fiber daily, depending on your age and gender.

The fiber found in chia seeds is largely soluble, meaning they’re a great food for anyone with stomach issues. Soluble fiber also binds with cholesterol to help effectively flush it out of the body, adding to its many health benefits. (3)

Bottom line: Fiber helps keep you full, meaning if you’re counting calories, it’s a smart addition to your diet. Chia has tons of fiber per serving, helping you stay fuller, longer. Read more

Are you as fit as you should be for your age?

Victoria Hall, Acting Beauty Director for the Telegraph shared that according to Virgin Active’s latest research, 52% of British women between the ages of 25 and 34 would rather look slim and toned in their holiday photos than be fit enough to run a marathon. Those under 25 claimed that ‘looking good’ was the main reason that they worked out. It’s not until we hit our mid-thirties that the majority of us are more motivated to hit the gym for our health.

At the other end of the age-spectrum, those over 55 years tend to spend more time working up a sweat, exercising for around 4.8 hours a week compared to the national average of 4.3. However, it’s not just about the amount of time spent in the gym. Too many of us focus on one type of exercise, such as a weekly run or spin class, rather than having a varied exercise routine that covers strength, stamina and mobility. “Exercise won’t just help keep you slim, it’s also an important step to fighting the effect of ageing and improving your mental and physical,” says Tim Wright, fitness expert and the man behind Virgin Active’s latest service, Beyond Movement, which incorporates Pilates, sports massage and physiotherapy to ensure you are fit and healthy for your age. “Working out regularly has multiple health benefits at any age but becomes increasingly important as we get older.”

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