Category: Health & Fitness

3 Signs of Depression Every Teen Should Be Aware Of

Being a teenager in today’s world isn’t easy. There is so much to keep up with when it comes to school, working a part-time job, dealing with your family, making friends, and maintaining other relationships. It’s important that teens have the right support at home in order to prevent things like depression. However, some teens are just more prone to developing depression during their younger years. There are some ways that you can identify depression in either yourself of your friends.

Lack of Appetite

Your average teen will eat a lot over the course of a day. After all, their bodies are growing and they’re developing more physically. Most teens are very active in sports and other activities, which will keep their appetite going strong. If you notice that your teen is eating less or has less interest in food, this could be a sign that they are feeling depressed. It’s important to keep an eye on eating habits. Losing weight or showing a lack of interest in food can also be signs of an eating disorder.

Change in Attitude

A lot of teenagers will have an attitude with their parents. This is just part of dealing with youth in the household. However, there are certain issues with attitude that can indicate there is a bigger problem going on. Teens often deal with depression, substance abuse, aggression, and suicidal behaviors. This can show in attitude by expressing a lot of angry outbursts, becoming violent against others or themselves, threatening abuse, crying with no known cause or other serious issues. These can indicate that it is important to seek help.

Social Withdrawal

If a teen is normally very active with school, sports and friends, you can spot depression if they start to withdraw from these things. If a child no longer wants to get up and do anything, they could be dealing with some scary emotions. You should also watch out for a change in interests, not caring about the effects of their actions, and reduced emotional expression or interaction.

If you notice that a teen may be dealing with depression, it’s a good idea to contact a mental health professional for assistance. You can touch base with a counselor or doctor to find out some of the best resources in your area. Let the teen know that you’re there for them. They may not feel like talking right now, but it’s important that they know they can come find you at any time for help.

Read more: We Need to Do Something About Transgender Teen Depression

How to Make Your Own Health Appointments as a Teen

Becoming a teenager means taking on new challenges and responsibilities as you grow into adulthood. Some of these responsibilities can be fun, but many involve day-to-day activities such as organizing your own calendar and setting your own appointments. It is common for teens to act more independently, which includes scheduling important visits to the doctor and the dentist. Here are a few important things to remember about setting your own appointments and some tips for how to make the process smoother.

Know Your Information

According to CareCloud, medical providers are required by law to keep immaculate medical records. That means that when you schedule an appointment, you’ll likely be asked a series of questions so that the administrative staff can verify your identity and record your patient information in their database.

Every time you schedule a medical visit, there are a few things you’ll almost certainly be asked. The office personnel will request your full name and date of birth. They’ll then ask you the reason for your visit. If you are going to a medical provider for the first time, there is quite a bit of information you should have ready when you arrive. Be able to list all medications you take, surgeries you’ve had done, and any allergies you might have. Your parents or previous medical providers should have that information for you, so don’t hesitate to ask.

How Often?

To get the most health benefits from dentist visits, according to Murfreesboro Family Dentistry, it’s best to schedule a checkup every six months. As a friendly way to reach out and encourage regular visits, conscientious practices remind all their patients in advance when the six-month mark is approaching. Making sure you get a regular checkup every six months will keep your dental health intact and allow your dentist to identify any potential issues. This ensures that problems with your teeth or gums can be corrected before they become worse.

Privacy Laws

Always remember that whatever information you share with your healthcare providers is safe and protected by law. Except in extreme situations where your life is at risk, your doctor will not divulge anything you discuss unless you have given specific permission to do so. Don’t hide important information from them about your health and lifestyle.

Setting your own appointments as a teen is a great way to increase your responsibility and demonstrate your independence. It’s one more step toward complete self-reliance. Just make sure that you prepare yourself beforehand with the information listed above so that the process can go as smoothly as possible.

Here’s another article you might like: 4 Online Degrees You Can Get Right After High School

Lotions, Potions, and Pills – Oh My! What Every Teen Should Know About Supplements

Building a strong and healthy body takes time, good food, plenty of rest, and some patience. If patience isn’t your strong suit, supplementation may look like a good option to speed the process. While some supplements for teens can be healthy, you must choose with care and dose properly.

Daily Recommended Intake

To supplement properly, you need to study the recommended dosage. A little can go a long way and more isn’t necessarily better. In fact, there are some products that can be dangerous if you overdo it. For example, iron, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A can all be fatal in extremely high doses. A simple beginning choice is to use a probiotic to support digestion and potentially improve absorption of vitamins in the food you already eat.

How They’re Made

The cheapest supplements aren’t always the best. For example, you may want to lift weights and find a great deal on magnesium to support your joint health. Unfortunately, supplements that are cheaper are full of fillers, which causes inflammation, and cause you to be more sore than you would have been without the magnesium. Before you buy, source the ingredients. The manufacturing process may involve multiple companies or groups, or it might be handled by a turnkey company. If you don’t know where the factory is or if it’s subjected to quality inspections, buy from another company.

Additional Supplementation for Athletes

If you play a sport or just want to get stronger, focus on diet first. Filling up on garbage won’t give your body the fuel it needs to function, let alone build new muscle. Plan snacks ahead of time so you have a piece of fruit, some cheese, or a handful of nuts close by when you get hungry. Avoid loading up on too much sugar throughout the day. If you want to add a protein shake or another supplement, confirm the source to make sure you’re not ingesting contaminants that can either poison you or get you knocked out of your sport of choice. Be vigilant about what goes in your body for the best health you can build. Most importantly, stay hydrated as you work out and compete.

Garbage comes in many forms. From a bag of chips to a supplement loaded with fillers, you can limit your health by taking the wrong thing and eating unhealthy food. To stay strong, do your best to stick to a plate that contains protein, whole grains and plenty of vegetables and be sure the supplements you take will help you rather than harm you.

For more tips to help you live your healthiest life, read on here!

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.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out more like it: