Beat the Post-Holiday Blues
The Holiday Season is almost over, but the stress doesn't end there! With New Year's still on the horizon, and the dreaded job of returning all those unwanted gifts, you still have plenty to be disgruntled about. Packed malls, super-long lines at Target, and dealing with in-laws can all bring out the frustration, anger, hostility, and even depression in the most well-adjusted individuals.
Luckily, experts say you can ward off some of those negative vibes by getting your Zinc! Apparently, people who took a daily dose of Zinc scored lower on an anger and hostility test, as well as a depression scale. Your body absorbs Zinc in supplement form best when combined with other minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin D, so make sure you’re getting all your nutrients on a daily basis.
Hit the Gym (and Keep Your Resolutions) for Less
One of your New Year’s Resolutions this year may be to lose those 10-15 pounds that have creeped up, get in better shape, or simply hit the gym more often. But gym memberships can be expensive . . . so what’s one to do? Here are a few tips to help you get the best deal possible:
Shop Around. Don’t feel obligated to join the first gym you visit. However, if you have fallen in love with one club, but another club is offering a better deal, see if the one you like will match it.
Shop Local. There are often low-cost alternatives to the “big box” gyms out there. Check out the membership at your YMCA to see if it compares. Or, if you live in a college town, you may be able to use their fitness facilities for a nominal fee.
Read the Fine Print! Make sure you pay close attention to the hidden fees and fine print in any contract you sign. Initiation fees, cancellation fees, and extra fees for classes can all add up in a hurry!
Cold winter months often have you feeling like snuggling up on the couch with your favorite (fatty) comfort food. But don’t neglect your fruits and veggies!
What’s in season? Try clementines. They are a cross between an orange and a Chinese mandarin, and are packed with vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Not only that, but these petite peel-and-eat sweet treats are only 40 calories apiece . . . which is especially good for helping to keep your New Year’s Resolutions!
The New Hidden Health Danger
You’ve heard about the dangerous chemical BPA (Bisphenol-A), and how you should stay away from certain products – especially of the plastic composition. Well, it turns out that there’s another culprit in the BPA world: receipts.
BPA, which has been linked to cancer and heart disease, has been found in 40 percent of receipts nationwide . . . including those from supermarkets. Experts advise you to wash your hands thoroughly after handling receipts, but avoid alcohol-based cleansers, which only increase BPA absorption.
Thinking of hitting the mall for some post-Holiday sales? Go for it . . . especially if you’re feeling a little down in the dumps! Researchers from the University of Westminster in England say that getting a good deal during a shopping trip can be as mood-lifting as feeling sexually aroused. Now that’s a sale you can get behind!
Just Say NO to Tanning Beds!
If you’re planning on going on a warm winter vacation, say to Mexico, the Carribbean, or some other exotic location, you might think you need to “tan up” before you go. Some people even justify the tanning bed as a “preventative measure” so that they don’t burn as badly when they do hit the beach.
But the evidence against tanning beds when it comes to skin cancer is undeniable. In fact, people who start tanning in tanning beds before the age of 30 have a 75 percent greater chance of getting skin cancer later in life. That’s 75 percent! I don’t know about you, but I’d “just say no” to that statistic if I were you.
Fight Superbugs with Tea or Coffee
If you’re worried about the potentially deadly MRSA superbug, you might want to up your intake of hot coffee and tea – and not just throughout the winter months.
A recent study showed that people who regularly consume hot coffee or tea are at a lower risk of harboring MRSA germs in their nasal cavities – which is a common place for the bug to take hold.
Not only that, but previous studies have shown that tea compounds can actually destroy MRSA completely. So don’t curb that Starbuck’s habit just yet!
Moms-to-Be: Stay Away from Soda!
Are you a pregnant gal with a soda habit that you just can’t kick? Well, listen up. If you drink four or more diet sodas a day during pregnancy, there’s a 78 percent greater risk that you’ll end up delivering before 37 weeks.
Researchers think that the artificial sweeteners in diet soda may be to blame. Think that’s not a big deal? Pre-term births are much more likely to result in birth defects and health problems for the baby.
Pretty good case for cutting down, don’t you think?
Is Your Allergy Med Making You Gain Weight?
Do you suffer from seasonal allergies - especially when the pollen count is high? If so, it turns out your weight may be suffering as well!
Women who take prescription antihistamines are an average of 10 pounds heavier than those who don’t. TEN POUNDS!
Experts propose that the medications may interfere with histamine’s role in reducing your appetite and increasing calorie burn. So, if you suddenly pack on the pounds when you start your prescription, you may want to have a talk with your healthcare provider about some alternative options!
STILL a Sweet in Sheep’s Clothing
You’ve heard the dangers of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – everything from obesity to elevated triglyceride levels and beyond. And you may have actually cut down on products made with HFCS like a smart person would do.
But what if you didn’t know to recognize those products anymore because the name of HFCS had changed? That’s exactly what the Corn Refiners Association wants to do. The Association is begging the FDA to rename HFCS to “Corn Sugar.” Whatever it ends up being called, make sure you limit your intake!
Your Job May Not Be Killing You, but Your Commute Is
Lots of people hate their jobs, and this can lead to stress, which can lead to health problems, and in the absolute worst case scenario, death. However, many people LOVE the work they do . . . but have to commute to the office (or place of work). Are they safe from the health threats?
Unfortunately, no. Turns out most people spend up to an hour or more going to and from work (that’s 60 minutes each way), and all that time on the road can contribute to high level stress, fatigue, and even weight gain. What’s more, the longer it takes you to get from home to work and back each day, the less happy you are in general. This is regardless of whether you take your own car, carpool, or take public transportation.
Some experts advise listening to soothing music, or reading something you enjoy (not if you’re the driver, obviously!) to make the time less stressful. And to combat the weight gain, make sure you’re not turning to drive-through restaurants to ease your pain!
Get Busy Before Breakfast!
What’s better, sex before bed or sex before breakfast? Well, truthfully, sex ANYTIME of day is a good thing (not only for your emotional health, but your physical health as well). But if you get busy before breakfast, you’re setting yourself up for a really good day.
Sex (and orgasm) results in the release of feel-good endorphins, which can last for hours. If you have trouble getting in the mood at such an early hour, try sleeping in the nude . . . experts say this will help you get in touch with your sexy side (at least more than waking up in those flannel PJs!).
Think the “obesity epidemic” is just a bunch of noise? If you don’t really believe in this nation-wide problem, you’re fooling yourself. In fact, experts estimate that by 2050, a whopping 42 percent of the U.S. population will be obese. Not just overweight, but obese. That's almost HALF the population!
Keep that in mind before you have that second (or first) piece of holiday pie . . . or appease your tantrum-throwing kid with a Kit-Kat.
Have a medical procedure coming up? Well, if you’re a smoker, you’ll want to listen up. According to recent report in the journal Anesthesiology, smokers are 38 percent MORE LIKELY to die after a surgery than non-smokers. I’d say that’s a pretty convincing argument to quit before you go under the knife. Luckily it’s not too late . . . experts recommend quitting at least two weeks before your procedure to cut your risk.
Did you know that you’re four times more likely to get sick when you fly? Yikes! For some people who are always on the go, it seems like a rather risky way to travel. And with the holidays right on the horizon, you may soon be jumping on a bird to spend some time with your family.
Luckily, there are some tricks to keep you healthy when you fly. For one, book a seat near the front of the plane. Research shows that there’s significantly more air circulating in the front of the plane than the back. Secondly, make sure you pack your hand-sanitizer to use after a restroom visit, or after touching the light button. And third, skip the complementary blanket and pillow – they can be contaminated with germs! Whether you’re on a business trip or headed for vacation, follow these tips to stay sneeze-free.
Visualizing Yourself Healthy: Fact or Fiction?
You may have great intentions when it comes to eating healthier, but find yourself still choosing unwisely when eating out or cruising the aisles at the grocery store. BUT, all is not lost. Scientists say that by simply picturing yourself eating healthier foods, you actually WILL eat healthier foods! It may sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, but study after study has shown that this mental imagery actually works. So next time you hit the supermarket, make sure fruits, veggies and whole grains are on the brain!
Unless you choose organic, you’re likely being exposed to some form of genetically or other type of “modified” food. In fact, it’s estimated that domestic food animals receive 29 MILLION POUNDS of antibiotics yearly to treat illnesses and make them grow bigger at a faster rate. 29 MILLION. Now that’s some food for thought . . .
Energy Smackdown: Coffee vs. Sleep
When you’re feeling sluggish, it’s easy enough to reach for a cup of coffee to give you a burst of energy. But in the long run, an extra hour of sleep beats that cup of joe when it comes to long-lasting get-up-and-go. Coffee provides that quick buzz that won’t last more than an hour or two, while a good night’s rest gives you benefits you’ll feel all day long. Not only that, but studies reveal that when you’re well-rested, you’re more likely to choose “good” foods like fruits and veggies over sweets. The fiber in those foods slow the release of sugars into the blood, resulting in more stable blood sugar and more energy.
According to a recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research, shoppers tend to spend more money on junk food purchases when paying with a credit or debit card than when using cash. The study’s author notes that “Paying with cash is more psychologically painful than putting the same amount on a card. This dampens the anticipated pleasure of cookies or candy, so you’re less likely to toss them into your cart. Check out these figures: Average amount spent on junk food with credit - $14.20; average amount spent on junk food with cash - $8.20. Leave your cards at home next time and you’ll save money AND calories!
You love your pet. Maybe you even love your pet like a child. The important thing to remember is that there are certain “rules” when it comes to feeding your pet like a member of the family. In fact, human foods are off-limits more often than not. For example, raisins and grapes can cause kidney problems in dogs, and chocolate can trigger an irregular heartbeat. On the other hand, poultry is a highly digestible source of protein for your four-legged friend, and even raw veggies are OK to a point. Just remember to think twice about sharing your snack the next time Fido gives you the sad puppy dog eyes.