Category: Health & Fitness

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!

3 Ways Football Players Can Reduce Their Risk of Head Injuries

Playing football as a teen can be a great experience. It helps you stay physically active; you make friends and you learn all about hard work. Unfortunately, football is a sport that requires you to be very physical with players on the opposite team. Because of this, there are many injuries that can occur during practice or a game. Head injuries are particularly common in football, and these injuries can cause permanent damage if you aren’t careful. Fortunately there are a number of ways that football players can reduce their risk of head injuries.

Practice Protecting Your Head

It’s important to learn how to play football the right way. An experienced coach will be able to teach a player the proper way to tackle, block and play the game. Rugby style tackling utilizes shoulder drives into the opposite player to take them down. This is much safer than using your head. 

Use a Quality Helmet

When you’re purchasing equipment for football, the prices can really start to add up. But one item that you should never skimp on is your helmet. This is an important piece of equipment that will help keep your head safe if you are knocked on the head while playing, lessen the chance of brain injury. The helmet that you choose should be properly padded. It also needs to fit perfectly. Don’t buy a helmet that is a little bit big in hopes of growing into it. It should be snug, but not too tight. A recent study resulted in the ban of 10 different helmet models by the NFL, which proved insufficient at providing adequate head protection.

Seek Medical Attention

If you do get hit on the head during a game or incur some sort of injury to the neck or head, make sure that you alert your coach. You should get checked out to make sure that you don’t require any kind of further medical attention. If you leave a concussion untreated, this could lead to long term health problems. Your brain isn’t something that you want to mess around with.

Any kind of brain injury or head injury is a serious issue. Make sure that you take appropriate precautions to stay safe whether you are at practice with your own teammates or you are playing another team in a game. Always have your proper equipment with you. Show good sportsmanship. This will be an example to other players that will encourage everyone to play a safe and proper way.

3 Things Athletic Teens Need to Remember

teen fitness tips

There are so many benefits for teens to participate in athletics. High school athletes who participate in sports are less likely to indulge in alcohol and drugs. They are also more likely to graduate. But from a performance perspective, there are a few things that every teen athlete should understand.

Female athlete runner or sprinter on running track. Workout outdoor.

Focus on the Fundamentals

Everyone wants to be a winner when they compete in sports. However, according to Stack, focusing on fundamentals will benefit you much more in the long run. When you participate in high school sports, you should work to develop the skill set that will improve your performance in your sport of choice. For example, if you play basketball, you should work on things like ball handling, rebounding and shooting. In addition to sports-specific skills, you should also work to develop your physical abilities like strength, speed, endurance and coordination to your highest potential.

Always Use Safety Gear

While high school sports have proven to be beneficial to teens, there are always risks that come with participation. You should understand these risks and take precautions that will minimize them. According to Medic8, each sport has its essential safety gear that will keep you avoid injury while competing. These items include elbow and knee pads, helmets, goggles, and mouthguards. There are times when athletes choose not to wear needed safety equipment because it is uncomfortable or “uncool.” This is a mistake you should not make. Many injuries have been avoided by the proper use of safety equipment. According to Murfreesboro Family Dentistry, athletes who wear mouthguards during sports are at least 82 percent less likely to suffer foot and facial damage than those who do not. Proper mouth and headgear can protect your head from collisions with other players or the ball, falls and tackles.

Fuel Your Body with Proper Nutrition

Eating for teenage athletes should include more than scarfing down a high carb diet and drinking sports drinks. The nutritional needs you possess at this time are unlike those of other students and adults. Not only do you need to fuel the normal growth and muscle development of adolescence, but you also need more calories than less active people. The best way to make sure your diet meets your nutritional needs is to eat a variety of foods on a daily basis. Carbohydrates are important for fueling muscles but you will also need protein, minerals, vitamins, and fats to remain in peak athletic condition.

High school sports provide experiences that will benefit you for a lifetime and establish a habit of exercise and healthy living. The three tips above will help you maximize all your high school sports career has to offer you.

4 Hormone Headaches That All Teen Boys Can Relate To

teen hormones

For most guys, puberty is tough. You begin to change physically and, unfortunately, it’s not all in one go either. During this time, the hormone levels in your body are continuously changing and you may feel like a complete buffoon at times. It is good to remember, however, that all of the changes you are experiencing are completely normal and have real biological explanations.

teen hormones

Getting Tongue-Tied When Talking to Your Crush

Have you ever wondered why you just can’t seem to say the right thing to your beautiful crush? Scientists say that during puberty there is actual change in the neurotransmission of the brain, aka how your brain communicates within itself. Most areas that change are linked to learning and attention span, explaining why it is difficult to concentrate and find the right words to say to a beautiful girl!

Uneven Beard Growth

One of the most noticeable traits of puberty is beard growth. During this time, your hair follicles are stimulated to begin growing at a faster rate but uneven rate. This is due to the fact that beard follicles are responsive to testosterone levels, which are all over the map during your adolescent years. It often takes years for your beard to start growing evenly, so you might want to hang on to your razor for now.

Pit Checks

Sweat is connected to odor so when you sweat more, you start to stink more. During puberty, you might realize that you stink way more than before and that is due to an increase in sweat. The hormones that are changing and increasing cause you to sweat more and therefore stink more. No matter how much body spray claims to help with this, most people do not like the smell—so steer away! Using deodorant and taking frequent showers is your best shot at smelling better and making you feel more confident as a result!

Taking a “Crack” at It!

Sometimes, voice changes might happen as your voice gets deeper. As you age, your larynx, the part of your throat holding the vocal cords, gets bigger and your vocal cords may thicken causing your voice to get deeper. Again, this does not happen all at once and sometimes these changes can cause your voice to crack. It can be embarrassing when it occurs, especially depending on who’s around to hear it. To help, when speaking try to relax, speak slowly and drink plenty of water to help!

All of these changes can be scary and frustrating to handle. Do your best to educate yourself on what might change and remember that it just takes time to take it all in and be confident!

3 Ways to Steer Clear of Drug Addiction for Life

haring Pills, Drugs, Bad Habits, Friends, Peer Pressure

Drug addiction is a major problem among teenagers. DrugAbuse.com explains that, “although general trends show that teens are using alcohol and drugs less than previous generations, the drugs that are being used are more dangerous than ever. Especially in regards to pharmaceutical abuse.” The teenage years are among the most stressful periods of your lifetime, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Without all of the facts, using drugs to relax or celebrate may seem harmless. However, studies show that using drugs at an early age increases risks for addiction. Learning the risk factors can help you avoid drug addiction throughout life.

haring Pills, Drugs, Bad Habits, Friends, Peer Pressure

Get a Solid Support Network

As you near adulthood, it is natural to forge strong friendships with peers and depend less on adults. However, it is vital to maintain healthy relationships with dependable adults in your life. Talking to adults you trust can help you make the best decisions about drugs and alcohol.

It is important to consider how your relationships help you grow. Depending on your peers for opinions is normal and some types of peer pressure are positive. You should always feel comfortable voicing your own opinions. Surround yourself with positive role models. Avoiding groups who depend on drugs can help you avoid pressure to try them yourself.

Educate Yourself on the Dangers Involved

In order to make decisions, you must have the proper information. Don’t take the decision to use drugs lightly. Educate yourself on the risks of any substance you put in your body. Most teenagers aren’t even aware of how dangerous drugs are, and the information they share may not be accurate. According to The Recovery Village, “research has shown that only 11 percent of people who need drug treatment end up getting it. In addition, of all people over the age of 12 with drug use issues, over 82 percent didn’t recognize that they needed treatment, so they didn’t get help.”

Learning the facts about drug use and addiction can help you and those around you. Taking the time to get educated about the dangers of prescription and illicit drugs can alert you to the potential for addiction. Sharing your new knowledge with others spreads education about the dangers of these substances.

Beware of Alcohol

Alcohol is the most abused mood-affecting drug in the United States. Around 70 percent of people who seek help for substance abuse suffer from alcoholism. Although drinking alcohol publicly is illegal for people under 21 in most states, alcohol abuse among teens is a serious problem. According to MedicineNet, “almost half of 10th grade students and nearly 65 percent of high school seniors have admitted to drinking alcohol.” The dangers of alcohol use are larger than potential addiction. While under the influence of alcohol, teens are more likely to make bad decisions and participate in other dangerous behavior. Increased confidence often comes with the use of alcohol. Drivers can overestimate their abilities when they have been drinking. Your decisions regarding the use of alcohol include your surroundings. It is possible to become a victim of someone else’s alcohol abuse.

With the right knowledge, avoiding drug and alcohol abuse is possible. If you or someone you know is already suffering from drug dependence or abuse, effective treatments are widely available. Communication is the most effective way to eliminate this growing problem.

Trying to Lose Some Weight? Be Careful

female trying to lose some weight

In the last few years, social media has intensified the pressure to look perfect. Teens are especially susceptible to this pressure that makes them want to change themselves to fit a new picture-perfect mold. Over the years, there has seemingly been an influx of healthy teens trying to lose some weight unnecessarily.

To be clear, when there is a true need, there is nothing wrong with trying to lose some weight. This is especially true for teenagers as building intentional healthy habits early can help them to be healthy and mindful adults. Dieting due to a concern of your health is much different than dieting due to a fear of gaining weight when you are relatively healthy, though. Dieting when healthy can lead to disorders in teens, a potentially life-threatening problem.

female trying to lose some weight

Know the Difference Between Diets and Disorders

Before jumping into information about eating disorders, it is important to establish what is and is not healthy dieting. This is especially important for teens to understand as they are becoming more and more autonomous from their parents. You’re in a time where you’re gaining independence and responsibilities. There is nothing wrong with anyone trying to lose some weight and become healthier, particularly if they are overweight. These steps are usually mindful, enjoyable, and preferably given under the direction of a doctor or nutritionist.

If you are open and honest about your desire to lose weight and your dieting intent, research and compile a balanced diet full of varying healthy foods to lose weight at a moderate pace. A diet designed with the intent to lose weight will typically consist of a 250 to 500-calorie deficit per day, allowing the person dieting to lose a healthy 1-2 pounds a week.

On the flip side of the coin, do not allow fear of a disorder developing make you discouraged from switching to a healthier diet. Eating balanced meals, exercising, and reducing or outright rejecting junk foods is not necessarily an indication of a disorder, even if it seems to be a deviation from the norm. You should tell your family and friends your goals and to let them support you, because sometimes if there isn’t communication people can get overly worried and start to think things that aren’t true.

How it Starts

Many people fail to realize that eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia are mental disorders. Individuals that suffer with these disorders have developed anxiety about food and their looks which causes them to believe they must lose weight and rid themselves of food at all costs. Eating, exercising, and weighing themselves becomes a system of torture and reward.

This mental shift of trying to lose some weight can come on subtly, or there can be a defining moment that causes it. All of a sudden, certain foods are not foods that should be avoided but are BAD and CANNOT be eaten. Exercise MUST be done to counteract the calories eaten. Weight checks become habitual and can make or break their entire mood depending on what the scale says. Some even begin eating and exercising alone because of perceived shame. Many teens say this happens “before they know it,” so it is imperative for teens to pay attention for telltale signs that something is wrong. This is another good reason to tell those around you, so if they begin to notice you doing things that are unhealthy they can step in and help.

Signs to Watch Out For

There are a few common symptoms of eating disorders that people can usually pick up on, such as:

  • Eating alone
  • Eating abnormally small portions
  • Being or becoming very thin
  • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body
  • Exercising excessively, especially after meals
  • Using laxatives regularly

Some of these symptoms are more specific to one disorder like anorexia, but making a diagnosis is not your main concern as they can all point to danger. If you notice any of these signs, you must take action quickly.

How to Stop Disorders Before They Begin

If someone is engaging in eating behaviors that seem extreme to you, speak to them openly and honestly about what they are doing. Are they simply taking a firm stand for their positive change, or is something more serious happening? There are subtle differences in language that can help you get a feel for what they are thinking. As previously mentioned, keeping a doctor or nutritionist involved from the very beginning of anyone’s weight loss journey can help prevent unhealthy ideas about food from developing when trying to lose some weight. It is important for you and the doctor to frequently check in on your progress. These mental shifts to disordered eating can come subtly and seemingly without warning if not checked. A simple conversation with a professional is usually enough to notice a change.

If you know someone who has unfortunately shifted from developing healthy habits to disordered eating, you must be bold and take action. Here are a few tips on how to approach your friend once you notice. If you see these behaviors in yourself, seek help from a trusted adult or an eating disorder helpline. There are healthy ways to lose weight and people who can help.