4 Reasons Why Fruits and Vegetables are Good for You

4 Reasons Why Fruits and Vegetables are Good for YouA balanced and healthy diet is essential for everyone, whether you want to lose weight, have more energy, keep well, or get fit. And a balanced diet is not complete without the addition of plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis offers many different health and wellbeing benefits, including heart protection and protection against disease. Choose a variety of different types of vegetables and fruit for the optimum nutritional benefit. You should try to eat between 3 and 6 cups of vegetables and fruit each day – if you can eat more, all the better. Fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your meals as they are low in calories and packed with nutrients.

Here’s why fruits and vegetables should occupy an important place in your diet.

  1. Fruit and vegetables offer heart-healthy benefits. Studies show that the people who eat the most vegetables and fruits have the lowest risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. With heart disease and stroke the biggest killers in America, it is important to lower your risk in any way you can. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal. You can also lower your blood pressure by eating more fruit and vegetables.
  2. You can lower your cancer risk with fruits and vegetables. Certain forms of cancer can be avoided, experts say, when you enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits, are particularly useful for protecting against lung cancer, stomach cancer, mouth cancer, and throat cancer.
  3. Fruits and vegetables improve your digestion. Get a healthy digestive system by eating fruits and vegetables. These foods reduce the risk of constipation and help you avoid disease by clearing blockages and keeping your digestive system healthy. It is the fiber in fruits and vegetables that makes a difference – choose whole fruits and not juice as this is where the fiber remains.
  4. Eating fruits and vegetables can even help protect your eyes. Vitamin A, which is found in many different fruits and vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potato, helps night vision and you can also protect against macular degeneration and cataracts with fruit and veggies.

No Time to Exercise? 7 Tips to Get More in Your Life

No Time to Exercise? 7 Tips to Get More in Your LifeIn the real world, an hour to exercise every day is an impossible dream for many people. If you have a family, a job, or any other commitments, finding time for a workout can be more challenging than the workout itself. If you have no time to exercise don’t give up on your fitness goals – check out these seven tips for fitting exercise into a packed schedule.

  1. Get up earlier to fit exercise into the beginning of your day. Don’t try to wake up at 5am every morning if you are not used to this schedule, but you could try to go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up for a brisk walk or a yoga session.
  2. Use your commute as a chance for a workout. Why stay stuck in traffic when you could be walking to work or running there instead? If you live too far away or you take public transport, get off one or two stops earlier and walk the extra distance.
  3. Be active in front of the TV. Installing a stationary bike or a treadmill is excellent for working out while you catch up with your favorite shows. But if you cannot do this, buy a jump rope and skip while watching, or do lunges and push-ups.
  4. Sit on a fitness ball to work at the computer, make phone calls or watch movies. You strengthen your core and you can also add extra exercises to work your muscles.
  5. Include your kids in the fitness regime. It can be hard to find time for a workout when you have young children. Take babies in a stroller or baby carrier while you walk or run. Play games with older children in the park and fit in some exercises on the equipment while they join in or play their own games.
  6. Fit a workout into your lunch hour. You have a valuable opportunity for fitness in your lunch hour – 30 minutes of walking, running or time at the gym still leaves you enough to change and get back to the office. You tend to be more productive in the afternoon if you have made the space and time for exercise at midday.
  7. Make fitness part of your life – don’t miss an opportunity to work out, whether that means climbing the stairs rather than taking the elevator, or fast-walking round the mall.

3 Top Tips for Beginning Exercise After 50

3 Top Tips for Beginning Exercise After 50It can be difficult to know where to start when you want to begin an exercise regime after the age of 50. If you are new to exercise or it has been many years since you were last active, starting to work out can be a challenge. But exercise is highly beneficial at any stage of life – and particularly as you get older. Here’s how to start a fitness routine over 50.

1.       Include a complete range of activities to benefit your whole health.

It is important to enjoy a variety of different activities so you benefit your health in different ways. This is especially important as you get older. You should include cardiovascular exercise, stretching, and strength training. Cardiovascular exercise helps your heart and improves blood flow around the body. It also increases your stamina so you are better able to take part in everyday activities without getting out of breath. You should try for 20 minutes of cardiovascular work per session, three or four times a week. Stretching is good for maintaining movement in your joints and avoiding conditions like osteoarthritis – Pilates and yoga are good. Strength training is using weights or resistance to condition and strengthen the muscles. You can also reduce the risk of injury to your back.

2.       Make exercise a part of your everyday routine.

You don’t need to go to the gym five days a week in order to get fit. Activities that move your body all help to increase your fitness, whether this movement takes place on the treadmill or when walking around the mall. Try to build up your fitness by looking for ways to be active in your day to day life. For example:

  • Go walking whenever you can. If you have a dog, take him for long walks. If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. Park several blocks away from your destination so you have to walk the extra distance. Always walk to talk to your colleagues rather than emailing or calling.
  • Make sure you have some comfortable shoes in the car or your bag so you can be active at a moment’s notice.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

3.       Choose activities you enjoy.

Don’t struggle through an exercise class if you hate it – choose something you love and it won’t feel like you’re working out. For example, you can take a dance class or go swimming.

4 Ways to Prevent Summer Heat Dangers

4 Ways to Prevent Summer Heat DangersSummer heat is on the increase and it can be a serious health problem. Heat waves in the summer cause heat-related illnesses that can be fatal – heat stroke, for instance, is very serious. Every year hundreds of people in the US die from the heat. You are more likely to suffer problems in the city as the concrete traps a lot of heat and releases it at night, and you are more likely to suffer if you are an older adult, a young child, or you have a chronic health condition. However, heat can make life difficult for everyone. Here’s how to prevent heat-related dangers this summer.

1.       Understand the dangers of heat

Heat can cause health problems when the air temperature climbs higher than your normal body temperature. This makes it difficult for your body to cool itself using sweat. When the body temperature rises it can result in heat-illness symptoms, and may even be fatal.

2.       Spot the heat-illness symptoms

Make sure you keep an eye on young children and the elderly in order to promptly identify symptoms of heat illness. The most common heat problems include the following:

  • Heat cramps – most commonly experienced when you have been exercising in extreme heat as a result of an imbalance of salts, these cramps affect your legs and abdomen.
  • Fainting – a drop in blood pressure may result in fainting. This is more common if you are not used to the heat.
  • Heat exhaustion – your body temperature rises but is not extremely high. You may also suffer from nausea, headaches, weakness, and dizziness.
  • Heat stroke – your body temperature soars to a dangerous level. Heat stroke also causes confusion, rapid heart rate and weak pulse, difficulties breathing, exhaustion, vomiting, and unconsciousness. Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke as this condition can be fatal if not treated.

3.       Take steps to cool down

4.       Prevent overheating

  • Move to a cool place, preferably an air-conditioned room. Rest and recover from heat-related symptoms.
  • Remove excess clothing and apply cool compresses to the skin.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to keep healthy and happy in the heat. It is important to keep your fluid levels high even when you do not feel thirsty. Acclimatize slowly if you are going into a hot environment and you are not used to extreme heat. Take it easy and do not overdo it – compete any heavy activities later in the day.

Sunburn Dangers: 10 Fast Facts

Sunburn Dangers: 10 Fast FactsDid you know that sunburn can have long-term effects on your skin? Sunburn causes red, painful and irritated skin but it also may cause serious consequences like skin cancer and premature aging. Here’s all you need to know about sunburn and how it affects your health.

Who Suffers from Sunburn?

  1. Anyone can suffer from sunburn. It’s not only the fair skinned, light-haired people who get burned. Even those with dark skin can be burned. However, you are more likely to suffer sunburn if you have less melanin in your skin – the pigment that causes the skin to look tanned.
  2. Babies and children are at particular risk of sunburn and should be carefully protected from sun exposure.
  3. You are most likely to get burned when the sun is at its highest and strongest but sunburn can also occur at other times. You can even get burned when the light reflects off snow.

Effects of Sunburn

  1. Sunburn and repeated exposure to the sun causes photoaging or premature aging. This is when the skin looks older than it actually is because you have lines and wrinkles, dark spots, rough patches, sagging skin, and freckles.
  2. Experiencing sunburn increases your risk of suffering from skin cancer. If you burn your skin as a child you dramatically increase the chances of getting skin cancer as an adult. People with fair skin that burn easily are most likely to suffer from skin cancers like melanoma, although anyone can be affected when the skin is damaged over a long period of time.
  3. Sunburn may result in severe infection if the skin is blistered and cracked to allow bacteria to enter. If your sunburn becomes infected you will need medical attention.
  4. Sunburn can cause eye damage, painful and gritty eyes, cataracts, and snow blindness.

How to Prevent and Treat Sunburn

  1. Prevention is the only way to avoid these health problems. Avoid over-exposure to the sun and seek the shade when the sun is at its strongest. Wear protective clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, plus sunglasses. Apply sunscreen and make sure you continue to reapply throughout the time you are outdoors.
  2. If your skin is burned, stay out of the sun completely.
  3. Cool damaged skin with a cool compress or cloth. Moisturize the area to prevent peeling and dryness.

15 Top Sleep Tips

15 Top Sleep TipsAre you fed up of waking each morning feeling drained and miserable? Are you searching for a decent night’s sleep so you can feel better throughout the day? Millions of people with busy, stressful lives find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you are one of these people, read on for some positive ideas for getting better rest.

Bedtime Routines

  • Set yourself a sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even at the weekends.
  • Create a bedtime ritual where you wind down after the day by taking a warm bath, listening to music, or settling down with an enjoyable book.
  • Try some stretching or yoga before bed to clear your mind and help your muscles unwind.
  • Deep breathing and meditation are also good for unwinding before sleep.

Daytime Advice

  • Get lots of light during the day to help reset your sleep patterns and encourage a more restful night.
  • Get some exercise throughout the day (although not right before bed) which will help lower your stress levels and make it easier to fall asleep.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal right before you go to sleep as you will have problems with your digestion. Try not to have spicy foods or fatty foods too late in the day.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol right before you go to bed as it can interfere with your sleep patterns and make it more difficult to get restful sleep.
  • Stop drinking caffeine after around 3pm – caffeine stays in your system for many hours and makes it harder to fall asleep.
  • Avoid drinking too much liquid right before bed.
  • Are you letting stress get on top of you? Find out how to manage stress and anxiety to prevent it messing with your sleep.

Bedroom Tips

  • Keep your bedroom as quiet as possible by moving ticking clocks out of the room, putting up heavy drapes, and using ear plugs if you cannot avoid noise from traffic or a partner’s snoring.
  • Keep the room cool – not too hot, and not too cold.
  • Move the TV out of the bedroom and switch off your devices like iPads and phones before you settle down to sleep.
  • Make sure your mattress is supportive and not worn out – consider replacing your mattress if you are being kept awake in an uncomfortable position.

Meditation: 5 Top Health Benefits

Meditation: 5 Top Health BenefitsMeditation is an ancient art which has highly modern relevance. Everyday life today is busy, stressful, and full-on – most people find it tough to achieve a balance between getting everything done and taking time out to relax. If you have too much on your plate and find it difficult to deal with stress then you may benefit from the powers of meditation.

How Meditation Helps Your Health

  • You gain greater clarity of thought and focus. Meditation is the act of focusing your mind and turning your attention inwards. This action is transferable to your everyday life even when you are not meditating – you are better able to concentrate on tasks and see things in perspective.
  • Lower levels of anxiety. Meditation is used as a technique to lower levels of anxiety and treat anxiety when it is a long-term health condition.
  • Better reaction to stressful situations. Many people find they are better able to deal with stressful and irritating situations in everyday life when they are meditating on a regular basis. Meditation gives you perspective on these irritations.
  • Meditation affects the cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is a stress hormone and lower levels of this hormone benefit your body – many diseases and conditions are linked to stress and lowering stress levels is a big advantage when it comes to your overall health.
  • Balance your emotional state. Meditation can help you feel more in control and in a better emotional place. Practicing meditation on a regular basis leads to a more positive outlook, according to many people.

How to Meditate

There are many different ways to meditate but the overall aim and technique is the same. Meditation allows you to focus your mind and turn your attention inward so you feel more relaxed and better able to deal with stress.  The simplest way to begin to meditate is to choose five minutes when you won’t be disturbed, sit in a comfortable position, and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as you sit in silence. If thoughts come into your mind then acknowledge them and let them go. Here are some of the techniques you can use for meditation. Experiment so see which practice best suits you and your lifestyle:

  • Guided meditation is the process of visualizing situations or places where you feel secure and which you find positive and uplifting.
  • Mantra meditation is where you use a word or phrase, repeated silently, to focus your mind and prevent intrusive thoughts.
  • Mindfulness meditation encourages you to focus on the present moment and be aware of exactly what you are feeling and experiencing.
  • Transcendental meditation uses a mantra to bring inward focus.
  • Yoga is a form of meditation where postures are combined with deep breathing to bring inner clarity and peace.

Sports and Exercise: How to Stay Injury-Free

Sports and Exercise: How to Stay Injury-FreeWhenever you play sport or take part in an exercise activity you are at risk of injury. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying your game – learn how to prevent injury and have a better experience. You may not be able to avoid every injury but you can put these strategies in place to prevent many from occurring.

  1. Prepare: make sure you are fit and healthy, and ready for the demands of the activity. If necessary, have a medical exam before you start a new sport or fitness regime.
  2. Warm up: always make sure you warm up properly before you start playing.
  3. Stretch: your warm up should include stretches that target the muscles you will be using in your sport. Make sure you stretch carefully so you don’t put too much pressure on your knees.
  4. Start slow: increase the intensity of your exercise gradually so your body gets used to the new demands.
  5. Shoes: choose shoes that are appropriate for your activity, fit, and offer good shock absorption and cushioning.
  6. Gear: if you need safety gear to play, use it. Find out what you need and choose good quality items that fit you right.
  7. Clothes: wear the right clothes for sport or training and make sure they won’t cause you to overheat or affect your performance.
  8. Good form: use the right techniques in the right way to avoid injury. Learn how to properly play your sport in order to minimize stress and strain.
  9. Surface: make sure your playing surface is free from debris. When running, choose softer surfaces and make sure you limit running on concrete.
  10. Know your limits: if you feel pain, stop. Assess your injury or discomfort and if you need to sit it out, take the time to recover.
  11. Rest: let your body recover from training sessions of play by building rest days into your schedule or cross training to vary the muscles you are using.
  12. Cool down: follow the reverse warm up procedure – gently bring down the level of activity so your heart rate returns to normal, then stretch.
  13. Stop: don’t exercise if you feel ill or you have an injury.
  14. Advice: ask an expert if you have pain when you exercise or if an old injury comes back to affect your game. If you get injured, have the injury professionally assessed so you don’t risk suffering from chronic pain.

Chiropractic Migraine Treatment

Chiropractic Migraine TreatmentA migraine is more than just a bad headache. Migraines are a problem for millions of people, causing pain, vision disturbances, nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Research shows that there are many different triggers for migraines and that certain alternative remedies and therapies can be helpful for treating the condition. Chiropractic, in particular, is an effective drug-free method of dealing with the pain of recurring migraines. Here’s how chiropractic helps remedy migraine pain.

Different Types of Migraine

A migraine may be called a common migraine or a classic migraine. Common migraines, doctors believe, are caused by a change of blood flow to the head and neck and are responsible for the majority of migraine headaches. Symptoms of a common migraine include a stabbing or pulsing headache pain, nausea, and vomiting. A classic migraine also results in visual disturbances alongside the headache pain, like auras or blind spots. Sufferers also feel tired and may vomit. Migraines may be triggered by eating certain foods – chocolate or cheese, for example – drinking wine or caffeinated drinks, taking some medications, increased tension in the neck and the upper back, sleeping in a different way, or hormonal changes.

How Migraines are Assessed

Every treatment plan for migraines is different, depending on the individual’s needs and health condition. This is why chiropractic has benefits over other types of treatment, which are not tailored to the individual or the individual as a whole person. Treatment for a migraine starts with the chiropractor making an assessment of your spine and also your general health and your migraine symptoms. The assessment includes looking at the curve of your spine, your posture, and any triggers for headaches and migraines.

How Migraines are Treated with Chiropractic

The chiropractor begins with a series of spinal manipulations that are used to correct the alignment of the bones in the spine. When the spine is properly aligned there is less stress on the muscles and nerves, and pain is lessened. In addition to the alignment activity, the chiropractor will also advise the patient on how to reduce migraines with postural changes and nutritional alternations. Other lifestyle changes such as exercise and stress relief are also discussed, and the chiropractor may make referrals to other healthcare providers. Normally a series of consultations and manipulations are required to remedy the condition and provide migraine relief for the long term.

Memorial Day Healthy Diet Tips

Memorial Day Healthy Diet TipsHolidays are notoriously difficult for dieters and people trying to live a healthy life. Holidays like Memorial Day come complete with tables laden with treats – hot dogs, burgers, dips, chips, cookies, cakes and ice cream…. This Memorial Day, enjoy yourself with family and friends while still staying healthy – here are some ideas for a lighter Memorial Day weekend.

  • Find healthy alternatives

If you are hosting a Memorial Day party or get-together, you can tip the balance in your favor by serving some healthy choices alongside the not-so-healthy foods. For example, include plenty of salads on the table and put some chicken breast on the grill along with vegetable kebabs.

If you are not hosting, bring along a healthy choice to the party so you have something to fill up with. You could bring a quinoa salad with veggies and nuts, or a bowl of fruit salad. You can also take along some healthy snacks like unsalted popcorn or nuts so you have something to snack on if there are no healthy items available.

Speaking of snacks, chips are probably the best way to ruin a healthy diet because it is easy to eat too many without realizing. Don’t hover near the BBQ table – have one handful of chips then leave well alone.

Avoid eating cake and cookies by ending the meal with a snack of fruit – choose a fruit salad served with crème fraiche or low-cal cream or yogurt. There are plenty of low calorie dessert foods available so you don’t need to miss out on the sweet side of the Memorial Day festivities.

  • Don’t go to the party hungry

Arriving at the holiday party starving hungry will result in eating more than you planned – and usually eating more of the unhealthy options. Make sure you have a good breakfast or a healthy snack at home.

  • Be careful with drinks

It’s not just alcohol you need to watch out for, although alcohol is laden with calories. You also need to steer clear of too many sodas and fruit juices – these beverages contain sugar, which can lead to you piling on the pounds. Stay hydrated and feeling full by drinking water. Alternate between sparkling water and still water, and add sliced lemon, lime or cucumber to keep it interesting.