Category: Health & Fitness

Tips for Staying Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

Cold and flu season really thrives around Thanksgiving and hangs around until spring. Part of the problem is that people who seldom see one another get together for the holidays and share more than cheer. To keep from getting sick and then spreading the illness among your family and friends, you need to protect yourself.

Take Preventive Action

Try to get your flu vaccine early in October so your immune system has time to build a solid defense. Sometimes flu vaccines are available in high schools, so check with your school nurse to see if they will be available in yours. If people around you are sick, become a loner for a while. Wash your hands regularly and use disinfecting cleaners around your home and school. In order to prevent the flu, it’s important to get a flu vaccine, stay home if you’re sick, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Make sure to also keep your mouth covered when you cough and sneeze. Behave responsibly if we feel yourself coming down with any illness. Once you’ve had your vaccine, pay special attention to any odd symptoms such as a sore throat or drippy nose. If you notice a fever and headache, stay home from school.

Eat Foods Rich in Vitamins C and E

Maintaining good health for yourself when those around you are sick will be easier if you eat right. In addition to taking Vitamin C, make sure to eat foods that are high in this crucial disease-fighting nutrient, including oranges and tomatoes. Increasing your Vitamin E intake will also help, so be sure to enjoy peanut butter and avocados. Try to add fermented foods to your diet. Some of these are live-culture yogurt, sauerkraut, and any dish with a vinegar sauce or dressing. Live-culture foods are good for your gut when your immune system is working hard to protect you from viruses. Avoid inflammatory foods such as anything that contains white flour or processed sugar. Not only are these things good for keeping you well, but they will help make you healthier in general and could possibly even help your performance if you play school sports.

Keep a Clean House

Flu viruses can be transmitted through the air. They can also be left on surfaces by someone who just coughed or sneezed on their hand. To reduce your risk of this contact transmission, pay attention to doorknobs and light switches when helping your parents clean your house. It doesn’t take a lot of water or effort. A simple disinfecting wipe can be used to sanitize cupboard handles, hand railings, and phones. When you’re at school, you don’t really have the same control over your environment, but what you can do is bring a mini hand sanitizer with you to use whenever you touch public surfaces.

Cold and flu season always comes around, but you can protect your family and yourself from picking it up the illness this year by getting your flu shot, eating right, and keeping your house clean. To reduce the risk of transmission, disinfecting wipes can be used once a day on shared surfaces that get a lot of contact.

Here’s another article you might like: Keep Your Teeth Healthy with These Snacks

3 Good Health Habits to Make While You’re Still Young

It’s never too early to think about the future. There are plenty of ways to be proactive about your health when you are young that will pay off when you are older. Here are some great health habits for you if you are hoping to preserve your health for years to come.

Go to the Dentist Regularly

Going to the dentist may not be on your list of favorite things to do, but it is extremely important to go frequently. Start scheduling regular cleanings every six months and continue those throughout life. It’s also important to floss and brush regularly between appointments. Having your dentist apply sealants protects your teeth from cavities, which can cause problems in the future if not taken care of when you’re young. Sealants are usually applied when your molars appear. It’s a simple process that offers major benefits down the road.

Protect Your Skin in the Sun

There is no such thing as a safe tan, so don’t spend your youth baking your skin in the sun. Establish skin-protection habits early so you won’t have to deal with problems in the future. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that you don’t want to face if possible. Wear sunscreen anytime you are out in the sun, and don’t forget to reapply often. It’s also wise to wear protective clothing if you are going to be out for a long time. A hat that offers protection for your face can be both trendy and beneficial.

Don’t Smoke

You may think you look cool when smoking, but the damage cigarettes do to your body is anything but awesome. Besides aging you prematurely, smoking can lead to lung problems, heart disease and a shorter life. Vaping, another option that is supposed to have fewer side effects, has been in the news lately due to fatalities and illnesses for those who have tried it. Using a hookah pipe also presents the same health challenges as smoking cigarettes. It’s best to stay away from all of these products if you want to live a longer life where you are healthy. If you don’t ever get started, you can’t get addicted, and it’s easier to not start than it is to stop after your body starts craving nicotine. Smoking tobacco can cut down on your physical fitness abilities and lead to chronic illnesses that are difficult to treat.

When you’re trying to decide what to do today, think of “future you” for guidance. Establish good health habits early in life, and you will look back and thank yourself when you are old and well.

How to Stay Fit During the Winter

Staying fit seems to be so much easier in the spring and summer. Warm weather lures you outside to exercise, and local markets have tons of delicious produce available. In the winter, though, even the fittest people have trouble staying on track. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t keep up healthy habits in the winter. You just have to adjust your routine. Here are a few tips to keep yourself at your best during the winter.

Female athlete exercising in park on winter day. Listening music and exercising

Indoor Exercise

If you have access to an indoor gym or home equipment like an elliptical machine, getting your exercise in during the cold season is easy. Even if you don’t, there are lots of ways to get in an inside workout. Whether you want a rigorous cardio session or some weight training, you can find just about any workout imaginable on YouTube or other video channels like Beachbody On Demand. Just make sure to check with a doctor or coach that whatever exercise you choose is right for you.

Try Something New

If you’ve already established a healthy fitness routine, that’s great! You don’t want to get into a rut, though, so while maintaining your program, why not do some research on an activity that’s not familiar to you but sounds interesting? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try yoga, or you’ve heard about some cool hiking trails in your area. Whatever strikes your fancy, look into it and—most importantly—have fun with it.

Diet Decisions

According to Xyngular, it’s estimated that over 90 percent of diets fail, and with winter comes the holidays. You want your food intake to be as healthy as possible, but at the same time, you don’t want to deprive yourself of goodies like your grandma’s butter cookies or your dad’s eggnog. Using a program or deciding beforehand what your indulgence will be is key to keeping things under control.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Stuffing your face at Thanksgiving and Christmas is hardly the end of the world, but don’t use it as an excuse to completely abandon your commitment to personal fitness, either. Just get right back to what you were doing. Consider keeping a fitness journal to make it easier to spot trends and patterns that might tempt you to go off plan. Remember that your fitness journey is just that—a journey. Keep active and mindful through the winter, and you’ll be ready for anything when spring arrives.

Looking for more informative articles about weight loss? We recommend reading: Trying to Lose Some Weight? Be Careful.

Why Natural Drugs Don’t Mean Safe

Drugs are one of the most hazardous ways to “relax” or break away from real life. This form of release changes your brain on a cellular level, and some of these changes are permanent. You won’t know which of these changes will turn out to be permanent, and even those changes that aren’t permanent can be very hard to overcome. Even naturally occurring drugs can alter your brain for the long-term in a very unhealthy way — and can even make you go completely insane while you think there is nothing wrong with you (but your friends and family can clearly see)!

Marijuana

Even if it’s legal where you live, marijuana simply isn’t safe for teens to consume. As a teen, you should view marijuana just as you would tobacco and alcohol: It’s off-limits if you’re underage. If you find a medical practitioner who knows your age and gives you a prescription for medical marijuana anyway, you need to be aware that they are breaking the law and so are you. Marijuana changes your perception and can make you lethargic or apathetic. While there are some indicators that marijuana can reduce depression and anxiety when carefully monitored by multiple medical professionals, long-term usage can change your life in destructive ways. According to Green Rush Daily, long-term cannabis users tend to make less money than those who don’t use it on a regular basis. If your long-term goals include financial success, weed is not a good habit to get into now. Finally, when you get caught, your stress level will likely go up because you are now in trouble with the law, may wind up with a record, and will likely be facing serious problems at home and school.

Peyote

Peyote and the hallucinogenic derivative compound, mescaline, have been used in religious ceremonies by some native tribes in the United States. Users had to pass through multiple milestones to be granted the chance to use the drug, and usage of the drug was carefully administered by a caring adult. It’s important to note that these ceremonies were often led by a trusted elder in the tribe. This naturally occurring hallucinogen is extracted from cacti. It can also be produced synthetically. However, neither format is guaranteed to be a “once and done” high, as mescaline side effects can linger. According to Summit Malibu, despite its reputation as a mild hallucinogen, there are several dangers, including the possible long-term effect of hallucination flashbacks.

Getting Hooked on Being Altered

People who’ve studied the brain refer to addiction as a brain disease. For example, cigarette smokers can get medication to reduce their nicotine cravings. However, the brain’s desire to kick back and relax with a smoke can be stronger than any nicotine craving. If you find yourself craving any drug, ask yourself why. It’s probably not a physical craving but a psychological one. Your inability to show self-control may lead to poor choices or put you in contact with people who don’t care for your safety.

Not everything that’s found in a plant is healthy. Digitalis, taken from the foxglove plant, can regulate your heartbeat. It can also kill you if taken improperly. Drugs alter your brain patterns and can reduce inhibitions that can keep you safe. The better choice is to avoid them altogether.

Here’s another article you might be interested in: Top Dangers for Today’s Teens and How to Stay Safe

The 5 Skincare Tips You Probably Didn’t Know About

From taking notes on your favorite YouTube star’s skincare regimen video to religiously reading every review of a newly launched product, it’s safe to say that many of us are crazy about skincare. Taking care of your skin is in, and in case you need further proof, CNN reports that skincare sales reached a whopping $5.6 billion last year.

Indeed, having clear, glowing skin is one of the biggest confidence boosters out there, aside from being a good sign of proper hygiene. But did you know that there’s more to it than stocking up on an array of skincare products? Read on to find out five surprising tips and tricks for taking good care of your skin.

1. Water, Water, Water

Water is one of the earth’s most essential elements, as it helps our bodies function properly. After all, 60% of our body is made up of it. That’s one huge reason why staying hydrated is a key factor in keeping your skin clear and healthy.

As pointed out in our post on the ‘5 Common Sense Tips to Make Your Skin Glow’, water serves to both cleanse your body from toxins and eliminate those pesky blemishes on your skin. So, be sure to drink the recommended 2 liters of water everyday to reap its purifying benefits.

2. Avoid Key Food Items

You might be familiar with the saying: “You are what you eat.” This holds true today, especially as the food you eat plays a huge role in determining how clear your skin is. Simply put, poor eating habits can cause poor skin. And this is why it’s best to avoid sugary and oily food, as well as dairy products, since they can cause your skin to flare up.

It’s essential to recognize the role that your diet has on your skin. In a post on ‘Here’s How to Get Rid of Your Hormonal Acne’ published by Parsley Health, CEO Robin Berzin shared her own experience during her high school and med school days, when she realized the connection between her skin problems and her food sensitivities. This is why you should skip processed food like potato chips, bread, and anything fried, as they promote the skin’s production of sebum — the more of this substance you have, the more likely acne will appear.

3. Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Another possible culprit behind your breakouts could be your beloved makeup brushes. When you apply makeup using a brush, its remnants can turn into dirt, dust, and dead skin cells that could all damage your skin.

If you suspect that this is what’s behind your own skin problems, there’s no need to throw your brushes away, as all you need to do is clean them. To prevent the build-up of bacteria, wash your make up brushes at least every two weeks with gentle, anti-bacterial soap. But be sure to do it quickly, so that the bristles don’t break.

4. Use Coconut Oil as a Makeup Remover

You should also pay close attention to how you remove your makeup, as some store-bought removers contain harmful chemicals that can aggravate your skin conditions. Instead of going through the trouble of reading all the product ingredients, you have the option of going the natural route, and trade your old makeup remover for a jar or bottle of coconut oil.

Dermatologists Anthony Youn and Carl Thornfeldt recommend coconut oil as a makeup remover, thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-yeast properties. However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t use a washcloth or cotton pads when applying coconut oil, as you’ll need to liquify the product in your hands.

5. Invest in a Silk Pillowcase

Before you head to bed at the end of a long day, why not change your regular pillowcase into silk ones? The standard cotton pillowcase can be rather harsh on your skin, and you’ve most likely woken up with marks from the casing. Consider switching to pillow cases that come in a silk material to help protect your skin and avoid the damaging long-term effects of typical cotton cloth.

Not only are they pretty, but silk pillowcases are extremely friendly to your skin, too. They free you from those all-too-common morning creases, while also preventing the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness, and redness on your face.

3 Natural Alternatives to Refined Sugar and Why You Should Try Them

In a world filled with added sugars, many teens want to find natural alternatives. It’s no secret that certain chemicals are harmful to the body, and it’s important to limit their intake. If you’re looking for some natural sweetness, read on.

Honey

Honey is an ideal alternative to refined sugar. Honey is a thick liquid produced by honeybees. You can purchase this delectable food item from local beekeepers or in grocery stores. There are several different flavors of honey to try. If you like fruity flavors, try blueberry or orange blossom. Clover honey has a mild flavor while acacia honey has a sweet and floral taste. It’s easy to put honey in your beverages or cook it with your food. The possibilities are endless. If you’re a honey fan, you’ll be happy to know that there are many benefits to consuming it. For example, a teaspoon a day has been linked to a strengthened immune system. There are antioxidants found within this sugar alternative, so you’re ingesting nothing but good stuff. Honey has also been shown to help with a hacking cough, and it soothes your sore throat, too. With its low calorie and sugar content, honey can also help control your weight.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is another excellent alternative to processed sugars. Maple syrup is acquired by drilling a hole in a maple tree. The tree sap is then filtered to remove unwanted particles. Syrup is used for more than pancakes and waffles, too. As a sweetener, many consumers put syrup in coffee or tea. Maple syrup can even be used in cookies or oven-roasted vegetables. There are several health benefits of maple syrup. For instance, pure maple syrup includes minerals and antioxidants, such as iron, zinc, manganese, calcium and potassium. As such, syrup can give you energy while also boosting your immune system. Additionally, maple syrup provides you with riboflavin, which is a mineral that promotes a healthy metabolism.

Stevia

Consider replacing your sugar with Stevia. Derived from natural plant leaves, Stevia is a no-calorie substitute that is 200 times sweeter than white sugar. You’ll need less of this sweetener to get the same effects as sugar. Stevia can easily be added to beverages, and you can also use it for baking. The health benefits of Stevia are impressive. With no calories, Stevia can help you lose weight. People with diabetes enjoy its help with blood-sugar regulation. This natural sweetener has been known to help control blood pressure levels, too. Full of antioxidants, Stevia may prevent certain cancer cells from growing. Additionally, your oral health may benefit, since Stevia can reduce the formations of bacteria.

Sweetening your life doesn’t have to be bad for your health. It’s easy to give yourself several natural alternatives like Stevia, honey, and maple syrup. Make the switch and see that you don’t have to sacrifice sweetness for health.

Keep Your Teeth Healthy with These Snacks

It’s important to see a dentist regularly for a dental checkup, but there are plenty of things that you can do at home to maintain a healthy smile. You’ll want to brush regularly, floss and there are even some foods that are beneficial to your overall dental health. Munching on a few of these foods each day will keep your teeth and gums in peak health — it might not seem like a concern now, but you’ll thank yourself a couple decades down the road.

Milk 

Milk has the ability to neutralize saliva that has been acidified by other foods, like candy and soda. Acid can lead to dental erosion, discoloration, sensitive teeth, and a lot more. Having an acidic mouth also encourages plaque growth. 

You only need to add one glass of milk to your daily diet in order to reap the benefits. You can also snack on other dairy products, but beware of the sugar content. Yogurt, pudding, and chocolate milk all contain a lot of sugar that could lead to cavities. Cheese is a great alternative low-sugar dairy snack.

Carrots 

Carrots are a wonderfully nutritious food that is beneficial for your whole body. While they’re most often associated with eye health, they’re also great for your teeth. The keratins in carrots can reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol (which can be bad for dental health), and also help keep your teeth clean. Raw carrots are the best because they leave more nutrients intact and have that crunchy quality that “brushes” your teeth naturally. Try to munch on some raw carrots each day, but you can also steam them lightly if you prefer.

Celery 

Celery is a vegetable that functions as a natural toothbrush. It’s a pretty tough vegetable, so eating it raw can help scrape away plaque, tartar, and leftover food. Have you ever wondered why celery is often served on the side of a meal? You’re meant to eat it when you’re done, in order to freshen up your mouth a bit. You can also get rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth with a snack of celery.

Apples 

The more saliva that your mouth produces, the fewer bacteria that you have to worry about. Apples generate a lot of saliva in the mouth. They’re also very refreshing, crisp, and can clean your teeth quite well if you’re in between brushes. Keep some apple slices with you in your bag when you’re out and about.

In general, crunchy and raw fruits and vegetables are very good for your oral health. The vitamins and minerals in produce are helpful when it comes to preventing cavities, keeping your teeth clean, and cutting down on bacteria in your mouth. You can speak with your dentist to find out other natural ways that you can boost your oral health.

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Why you might want to see a Chiropractor

Chiropractic care is not just for adults. Even teenagers can benefit from this type of treatment. While most teens do not exhibit severe back issues, regular chiropractic adjustments can keep everything in alignment and prevent future issues from developing. In addition, they can treat injuries related to sports and help to promote good mental health in the process. Here are three reasons why you might want to see a chiropractor—even as a teenager.

Prevent Future Issues

It is no secret that today’s backpacks are heavier than ever before. While it may not seem like lugging this load around is hurting you now, it can be setting you up for back problems down the road. Regular adjustments can help to mitigate these future issues. According to the American Chiropractic Association, chiropractic care can also improve posture as you get older. Using chiropractic treatment as a preventative measure can assist you in staving off future back problems as you age. This is important because minor back issues as a teen can turn into chronic conditions that follow you throughout life. Not only will care as a teenager deliver relief for lower back and neck pain, but it may also reduce the incidence of degenerative joint disease while maintaining a healthy nervous system.

Teens Are Active

According to Congruent Life, chiropractors can help teens manage injuries related to sports. Even if you finish your competitive playing career at the end of high school with no major physical complications, you may carry the nagging sports injuries with you as you age. Treating your back and neck now will ensure that you are limber and relaxed and ready for competition. Regular adjustments will work to help you play better and feel better. They will also help prevent other injuries.

Better Mental Health

Chiropractic care is not just good for your physical health. According to Circle of Docs, consistent treatments can also help to mitigate mental health problems. Because chiropractic care is centered on finding the right mental and physical balance, these treatments provide an all-natural way to boost your emotional well-being. Chiropractic care encourages relaxation and helps you to sleep better. This holistic approach to health is also beneficial in treating anxiety and depression without having to resort to drugs and their side effects.

As one of the least invasive types of medical treatment, chiropractic care can help teens with a wide range of problems. The impact of regular chiropractic sessions can be useful as both a preventative measure and a positive way to treat an assortment of both physical and mental issues.

Here’s another article you might enjoy: 5 Ways to Avoid Stress as a Teenager

Can herbs really make your breasts bigger?

A lot of girls are very self-conscious about their bodies. While there is plenty of advice out there to “just accept yourself,” it is not that easy. We are hit every day with standards of beauty in the media and social platforms. This makes us compare ourselves, and its kind of impossible not to.

One area which girls are sensitive about is breast size. Generally, we want them bigger! Its just kind of a normal part of being a girl to want to look like the fashion models and actresses we see, but understand that breast size doesn’t determine your worth or even whether guys like you. Guys like all types, trust us!

The truth is: your genes and the amount of estrogen in your body determine your breast size, and they will also naturally grow as you get older. They will also grow when you get pregnant. However, say you are hell-bent on getting bigger breasts. You have probably heard about breast enhancement pills, creams, implants, plastic surgery, and many more methods. But what about herbs like dong quai, wild yam, watercress leaf, saw palmetto, and so on ?

Not all herbs are beneficial for your health. They may have side effects and interact with other medications. In other words, ask a doctor before you go taking a bunch of herbs which might not work or even cause you harm.

That being said, here are some herbs which supposedly increase estrogen and therefore help increase bust size. Take this information with a grain of salt, and consult with doctors FIRST before taking your research further!

Fennel seed

Fennel seeds have some essential compounds named dianethole and photoanethole. These compounds purportedly help to increase the level of estrogen inside your body and increasing the flow of breast milk.

Hops

Hops (the stuff they use to make beer) contains a phytoestrogen named 8-prenylnaringenin which has 0.2-20% of estradiol. This THE primary estrogen hormone that enlarges your breasts — however whether it works the same by eating hops is anyone’s guess at this point.

Dong Quai

Dong Quai supposedly helps balance the level of your body’s estrogen and thus affect breast enlargement. Moreover, this herb contains isoflavone, a chemical that some say keeps breasts firmer and fuller.

Watercress Leaf

Watercress is also touted by some to promote milk production in your breasts, which enlarges breasts. Of course, if you are breastfeeding, your breasts are already bigger so….

Wild Yam

A vital natural hormone called diosgenin is found in wild yam. This hormone allegedly helps balance female hormones, enlarge breasts, and even promote healthy levels of cholesterol.

Saw Palmetto

Saw Palmetto is another breast enlargement natural herb that you can find mostly in North America. It has another name, Serenoa Repens. It has benefits for both men and women. It contains phytochemicals which might stimulate the estrogen hormone that is involved in enhancing your breasts’ size.

Pueraria Mirifica

Pueraria Mirifica is used by people in Thailand and Burma to nourish their skin and promote blood flow. It is also known as White Kwao Krua. It contains miroestrol and deoxymirostrol which could possibly mimic the work of estrogen to enlarge your breast’s size.

Blessed thistle

Naturalist physicians prescribe this herb to treat appetite and indigestion, and it has also been used for nursing women to increase the flow of milk (aka bigger boobs).

Final Verdict

The truth is: NOBODY REALLY KNOWS IF HERBS CAN MAKE YOUR BOOBS BIGGER! There has to be more data collected and experiments done–but if you were a plastic surgeon, would you really pay for these studies to be done and possibly cut your paycheck? So prepare to wait a long time for the answers…

How does poor sleep affect my brain health?

To easily an vividly remember the events of the past is a sign of good mental and brain health. But, did you know that one of the best ways to ensure our memory is at its optimum for mid-terms or finals is getting good quality sleep? This doesn’t mean long hours of sleep, but rather high quality deep sleep?

What happens when your sleep quality os poor? Here are some ways your brain could be getting hurt when your body doesn’t get quality sleep:

Decreased memory retention

Let me brief you on how memory is stored by the brain. During long hours of sleep, electrical impulses pass through your brain nerves. At the top of these impulses are brain spindles. Brain spindles help in file transfer from your short term memory reservoir to the long term memory reservoir where memories are permanently stored. This mechanism only occurs when you get a deep sleep. This implies that when you don’t have enough quality sleep, the ability of your brain to retain information becomes a difficult task. Trish at sleepdelivered provides a review of one mattress which might help you sleep better, and thus retain memories more!

Reduced productivity

The brain is your center of productivity. Every time you want to perform a task, the brain is critical in your thinking process. As a student, you are required to think with both speed and accuracy. This is why going on late-night cram sessions all week before an exam is not particularly good. Low sleep dumbs you down and makes you think slower and less accurately.

Low hormonal production

The brain houses the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which both function in the production of hormones. What hormones do is to regulate most of your day-to-day activities. An example of such an important hormone is ADH (antidiuretic hormone) which functions in osmoregulation of the body. During cold seasons have you noticed you urinate more and sweat less, while during a hot day you sweat more and urinate less? It’s the antidiuretic hormone that backs up this phenomenon. Not giving the brain enough rest could mess up thsi mechanism and disturb the fluid balance in your body.

Dizziness

Dizzyness can really ruin your day. When driving it could be considered to have the same effect and consequences on an in individual as driving drunk. Studies show that poor quality sleep or complete lack of sleep –insomnia, could lead to dizziness and therefore major accidents.

Lowered sexual drive

An individual’s ability to getting aroused sexually is dependent on how the brain visualizes an object or person. This brain function is not easily performed when you don’t have a good night’s rest. This inability could lead to depleted energy, sleepiness and increased tension — all which kills the sex drive of an individual.

The moral of the story: get enough sleep!