Tips to Avoid Overeating on Thanksgiving

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We can all agree that overeating tends to be encouraged come the holiday season, and Thanksgiving is notoriously known for this. What is meant to be a holiday to celebrate with loved ones and show our gratitude has quickly evolved into a night of feasting and overindulging on all of our Thanksgiving dinner favorites.

While it’s okay to enjoy foods you don’t typically eat on a regular basis, there is a fine line between enjoying a plate of it and going overboard. Overeating can be damaging to the body, even on a short-term basis. Although many blame the sluggish post-dinner feeling on tryptophan, a hormone found in turkey which happens to be a precursor to melatonin, it may actually be a result of your body working harder to digest a large than average meal.

If you’re one of the many people who want to put an end to the overindulging and want to simply enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without crossing the line, here are a few tips to help:

Don’t skip your daily workout: take advantage of your morning and go for a run, walk, or training session.
Don’t skip meals: saving yourself for later might result in overeating. Instead, have your regular meals and enjoy a regular-portioned dinner rather than a large dinner to “make up” your missed meals.
Hydrate: hydrate throughout the day as this will help curb cravings and keep you feeling full.
Use a smaller plate: research shows that a smaller plate with the same size portion as a bigger plate will trick your brain into thinking your meal is large.
Stay mindful: paying attention to your food, pausing after every bite, and putting your fork down every once in a while can all help you stay aware of your meal and decrease the chances of eating too quickly and going back for more.
Keep food out of sight: the old saying “out of sight out of mind” can be applied on Thanksgiving, if you keep the appetizer and dessert table far from where you’re standing you’ll be less likely to pick at the food and lose track of how much you’re eating.
Wear tight clothes: wearing clothes that are comfortable but still tight enough to keep you aware of how much you’re eating is a helpful reminder to know when you’re reaching your limit.
Leave room for dessert: if you like to eat dessert and drink, keep this in mind when serving yourself dinner. Rather than eating until you’re extremely full, keep the post-dinner treats in mind and reduce your portions.
Wait it out: thinking about seconds? Wait a few minutes before grabbing another bite as your brain doesn’t receive signals immediately but rather a few minutes after you finish your meal.
Go for a walk: get up and get moving after dinner, this will not only burn some calories but ease your digestive process!

What is Arthritis?

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Arthritis is a term used to refer to a group of over 100 diseases relating to the joints in the body. The body parts that make up the joints, where bones meet, include the wrists, shoulders, fingers, hips, and knees. Arthritis is typically more common among older adults and women. With that said, it is not uncommon for young children, teens, and adults to suffer from arthritis. In fact, around 1 in 5 adults suffer from some form of the disease, making it fairly common.

Categorization and Types

There are multiple diseases related to arthritis, and they fall within a range of categories including degenerative arthritis, inflammatory arthritis, infectious arthritis, and metabolic arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.

Osteoarthritis occurs as cartilage wears away, causing bones to rub against each other resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling. Rheumatoid, on the other hand, is a chronic inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks its own tissues. It can affect the joints and other parts of the body such as the skin, lungs, and even the heart.

Causes and Common Symptoms

Not much is known about arthritis, therefore with many forms of the disease the cause remains uncertain. A number of factors can raise your chances of suffering from arthritis, though. These include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Genetic markers
  • Weight gain or excessive weight
  • Previous injuries on or near a joint
  • Certain types of infections

Common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Redness and swelling
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Difficulty completing every day tasks
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, and anemia in certain cases

Diagnosis

In order to diagnose arthritis you must see your primary care physician who will perform a physical checkup for symptoms and perhaps blood work or imaging scans. For people with severe symptoms, scheduling an appointment with a rheumatologist might be the best option as it can lead to a quicker diagnosis.

Treatment

Lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, and low-impact physical activities such as swimming can help people with arthritis. Additionally, your doctor might prescribe medication such as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), painkillers, or steroids. Physical therapy, hot/cold therapy, massages, and in some cases surgery can also help ease symptoms and difficulties from the condition.

Vitamins Explained: B Vitamins

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Our Vitamin series continues with the next group in line, B Vitamins. This family is made up of 8 different vitamins all serving a different function but ultimately working together to produce energy from the food we eat and aid in forming red blood cells. The 8 vitamins that make up this group are referred to as the B-Complex and it is made up of the following:

  • vitamin B1 (thiamin): helps convert nutrients into energy.
  • vitamin B2 (riboflavin): is an antioxidant and also helps convert food into energy.
  • vitamin B3 (niacin): help support cellular energy production, metabolism, and DNA functions.
  • vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): this is another vitamin which helps convert food into energy and also helps with the production of hormones and cholesterol.
  • vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): aids in metabolizing amino acids and glycogen, creates neurotransmitters, and formation of red blood cells.
  • vitamin B7 (biotin): essential for the support of fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism and may also help support healthy skin, hair, and nails.
  • vitamin B9 (folic acid): is needed for proper cell growth and division as well as amino acid metabolism, this vitamin is particularly important for women during childbearing years as it plays a major role in developing a baby’s nervous system.
  • vitamin B12 (cobalamin): is responsible for neurological function as well as red blood cell and DNA production, this vitamin is found in animal sources and people who follow a vegan diet must take a supplement in order to receive adequate intake.

A Vitamin B deficiency is a common scenario worldwide, even in developed countries. Following specific diets can cause a lack of vitamin B intake and therefore cause side effects. For example, a lack of vitamin B12, common among vegans, can cause anemia, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. Biotin deficiency can cause hair loss, dry skin, and even brittle nails.

In order to avoid a Vitamin B deficiency, eating proper foods will provide the adequate amount. B vitamins can be found in the following foods:

  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Liver
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Whole grains
  • Potatoes

Remember, our bodies need vitamins and nutrients to thrive and feel healthy. By eating a balanced diet full or fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein, you should be getting the right amount of vitamins your body needs without needing to resort to vitamin tablets or supplements!

Benefits of a Regular Bedtime

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As young kids, most of us were taught to go to sleep at a regular bedtime every night. Come the weekends, our bodies would naturally wake up at the same time that it did on any given weekday. A regular sleep schedule is vital for young children as the growth hormone is released during sleep. This is only one of the number of benefits that comes with having a regular sleep schedule.

Most adults report having bad or poor sleeping quality, but with so much backed up research to prove the benefits of a regular sleep schedule, it comes as a surprise that they aren’t implementing the practice already.

 

Benefits of a regular sleep schedule:

  • Higher alertness and focus
  • Increased levels of energy
  • Make healthier choices and exercise at higher intensities
  • Less sick days
  • Less depression and anxiety
  • Better overall health and wellness

Irregular bedtimes are typically linked to:

  • Heart Disease
  • Higher Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Increased levels of High Blood Pressure and High Blood Sugar
  • Increased symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress

With all of this in mind, research and scientific studies should not be viewed as all or nothing scenarios. Social obligations, work, and life all happen and can sometimes cause interruptions in our routines. Although your body might feel the effects of one night of sleep deprivation once a routine is established, it won’t cause any long-term harm. Research shows that people with constant sleep irregularity are at higher risk of developing physical or mental diseases and experiencing a lack of proper body function.

A few things to keep in mind when establishing a sleeping routine are to set an alarm to wake you up at the same time every day and also to go to bed at the same time (including weekends). Experts also recommend avoiding eating right before bed, using electronics, or consuming caffeine. On the other hand, reading before bed has been proven to help you wind down and help you fall asleep.

If you’ve tried to establish a sleep schedule but find that you experience insomnia or lack of energy during the day, it is best to refer to a doctor or a sleep specialist as it might be the result of an underlying condition.

What Is An Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

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The Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a popular diet whose base is similar to that of the Mediterranean Diet. In recent years, research has shown that many chronic diseases and cancers are all tied to inflammation in the body, and with the help of nutrition, people are finding comfort and relief by changing the way they eat.

The Anti-Inflammatory diet is just as much about what you eat as it is about what you avoid eating. The diet focuses on eating more foods that are high in nutrients and reducing or avoiding over-processed foods that may cause inflammation in the body. It has also been found to help increase energy as well as reduce chronic pain.

Foods to eat:

An anti-inflammatory diet is focused on consuming nutritionally-dense foods with antioxidants. Some of the foods recommended in the diet include:

  • Fruits, including ones packed with good fats such as avocados
  • Vegetables
  • Fatty fish
  • Healthy fats
  • Nuts
  • Red wine
  • Green Tea
  • Dark chocolate
  • Spices such as turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon

Foods to avoid:

Avoid over-processed foods, which all lead to higher levels of inflammation in the body. Although chronic inflammation cannot always be seen, it is linked to other diseases when present in the body. Avoid foods such as:

  • Refined carbs
  • Refined sugars
  • Processed foods such as meats and snack foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Processed vegetable and seed oils
  • Trans fats
  • Alcohol and caffeine

Bottom Line:

An anti-inflammatory diet is generally a term to describe a healthy diet that humans have been eating for centuries. By consuming more healing foods and less inflammatory-causing foods, the body will be able to fight off diseases and you will enjoy a longer, healthier life with less chronic pain or discomfort.

Benefits of Foam Rolling

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A foam roller is an inexpensive piece of equipment used as a form of myofascial release. Foam rolling is simple and can be done at home or in a gym. Used by trainers and athletes alike, foam rolling can be beneficial to pretty much anyone who takes the time to do it properly.

The purpose of a foam roller is to target different body parts while helping to improve workouts. Whether it is a tense area where you are experiencing pain or just a muscle group you want to decompress, foam rolling can significantly improve your condition over time.

Additionally, foam rolling is a form myofascial release. Simply put, this term refers to the act of applying low-intensity force to soft tissues over long periods of time. Applying this pressure helps to alleviate tension and restore the body, resulting in improved performance. The following are some of the benefits of regular foam rolling:

Benefits:

  1. Improve circulation: foam rolling stretches and loosens muscles which breaks up tight areas where blood flow may be limited. Increased blood flow and better circulation offer a myriads of benefits for overall health and wellness.
  2. Increase range of motion: having properly stretch muscles leads to better range of motion, improving the quality of your workout. This leads into the next benefit, reducing chances of injury.
  3. Prevents injury: when you break down fascia and muscles are properly stretched, you improve range of motion and reduce the likelihood of injuries from torn or pulled muscles. Foam rolling improves your body’s coordination, and in turn, the effectiveness of your workout.
  4. Reduce stress: foam rolling is a form of self-massage which helps to reduce tension in targeted areas of the body, leading to a reduction of both physical and mental stress. Foam rolling helps to reduce levels of cortisol, which are necessary following a strenuous workout.
  5. Reduces recovery time: lactid acid is the buildup of waste in the muscles following a workout. Post-workout foam rolling can help to improve circulation and bring fresh blood to the fatigued muscles where lactic acid is present and decrease both soreness and recovery time. The quicker the muscles recover, the quicker they can rebuild and become stronger.
  6. Saves money: the cost of getting professional massages on a regular basis can quickly add up. For under $50, you can purchase a foam roller and enjoy long term benefits with regular use.

Things to avoid:

  • Rolling too fast: give your muscles time to adapt to the force and release tension.
  • Rolling directly on painful areas: it’s best to roll in the surrounding areas and then use larger motion to roll over painful areas.
  • Focusing on knots for too long: rather than holding pressure on a knot for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, try adding pressure for 20 seconds or so.
  • Not focusing on posture: make sure you are using correct posture in order to avoid pain and injury.

Bottom line:
Foam rolling is an inexpensive way to improve circulation, flexibility, recovery time and reduce tension in the muscles. This simple technique can greatly improve performance and physique and, can be done in the comfort of your home, and will result in long-term benefits.

Follow These Tips to Stay Healthy on Halloween

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Halloween is a party holiday full of candy and even drinking (for adults)! The official kick-off of the holiday season poses many challenges when it comes to eating right and we know just how hard it can be to resist all of the sweets that surround us during this time of the year. With a little motivation and discipline, though, you can go a long way and maintain your goals.

Keep reading to learn a few tips to follow when it comes to staying healthy on Halloween!

  1. Exercise: planning on taking the kids trick-or-treating? Make sure to get your workout in and avoid any holiday excuses, after all, you’ll want to make sure you burned those calories and got your sweat on before eating sweets.
  2. Eat a healthy meal: enjoying a healthy meal with your family means you won’t have an empty belly asking for an excessive amount of candy.
  3. Stay hydrated: make sure your entire family is hydrating. Not only is this a healthy habit to adopt in your daily life, but it will help curb sugar cravings.
  4. Be picky: try not to overindulge in candy simply because it is sitting there, pick a few pieces you truly like and avoid the rest by donating it or tossing it. Enjoying candy you actually like will help you feel satisfied rather than mindlessly eating too much of it.
  5. Opt for portioned snack packs: when purchasing candy for trick or treaters or the kids, choose pre-portioned 100 calorie packs, this way you’ll know you aren’t eating more calories than you think.
  6. Track: use an app like MyFitnessPal, write down what you’re eating, or keep candy wrappers. All of these will help you keep track of everything you’re eating rather than forgetting and eating too much.
  7. Swap it out: making treats for the kids at home or for school? Try swapping refined sugars and carbs for fruit or whole grains. Nowadays, finding a great recipe on the internet that calls for whole ingredients is easier than ever.
  8. Indulge: Halloween only comes around once a year and one night of overeating will not detriment your diet or physique. As long as you set a deadline and don’t over do it, there is no need to feel guilty for enjoying some candy!

Being healthy is as much a mental exercise as it is a physical one. Following some of these tips will help when it comes to discipline and may even help you become a more mindful consumer when it comes to food choices around Halloween and the holidays!

Vitamins Explained: Vitamin A

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What It Is

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin found in both animal-derived foods as well as plant-based foods. Vitamin A has two main forms, Retinoids and Beta-carotene. Retinoids, the dominant and active form of the vitamin is derived from animal products while Beta-carotene can be found in plants. Generally, Vitamin A does not need to be consumed through supplements as a healthy diet will provide an adequate amount of levels needed for each individual.

Benefits

Vitamin A is essential for maintaining multiple functions in the body including growth, vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Some key benefits of Vitamin A include the following:

  • Protect the eyes from age-related issues
  • Protect vision from night-blindness
  • Protecting against certain forms of cancer such as colon cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer
  • Treating type 2 diabetes
  • Skin and hair health
  • Supporting a healthy immune system
  • Bone health
  • Promoting healthy reproduction
  • Promoting body growth and development

Where To Find It

Vitamin A can be found in some animal-derived foods as well as in orange fruits and vegetables. The following are some foods that contain Vitamin A:

  • Liver and other organ meats
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish such as salmon
  • Cheese, milk, and butter
  • Orange colored vegetables
  • Orange colored fruits
  • Dark, leafy green vegetables

Risks

Too much Vitamin A is not recommended as it can cause unwanted health issues. High levels of Vitamin A can lead to toxicity due to the fact that it is a fat-soluble vitamin which gets stored in your body. Overconsumption of Vitamin A can lead to side effects including bone and joint pain, headaches, vomiting, liver disease, confusion and in severe cases, death. Overconsumption risk is typically higher when Vitamin A is consumed as a supplement rather than by food, though overconsumption through food is still possible.
Bottom Line:
Vitamin A is vital for many processes and functions of the body. Although too little of it or overconsumption of it can both cause health issues, a normal level can be achieved through a healthy diet. Achieving the right balance of Vitamin A through food will ensure your body is enjoying the benefits it has to offer.

Is Your Spine Aligned?

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The Spine

The spine, made up of bones called vertebrae, helps provide the body with movement, stability, and strength. The spinal cord and its nerves send information out to the body and are considered delicate as injuries can affect the entire body. If the spine becomes misaligned, it will also affect the entire body and cause pain and discomfort. It is important to know when to recognize if there is a misalignment in order to correct the issue as soon as possible and to avoid chronic pain.

Signs that your spine is misaligned

There are multiple warning signs that indicate that your spine may be misaligned. Taking the steps necessary to align your spine will help ease pain and discomfort. Some signs that you may have a misalignment of the spine include:

  • You have a difference in leg length and your shoes wear out unevenly
  • You have a poor range of motion on your hips and neck
  • Your posture is poor
  • You feel stiffness on your back and neck
  • You get frequent headaches or sore spots
  • Your weight is not distributed equally if you place your feet on two different scales
  • Your feet flare out when you walk

What you can do

Fortunately enough, there are ways to stretch and help ease the pain that comes with a misaligned spine. In some cases, the spine may even be aligned through some of the techniques listed below. Here are a few things you can start doing today in order to align your spine and feel better:

  • Practice yoga: many poses are designed to help stretch and align the spine
  • Visit a chiropractor: a trained chiropractor will be able to align your spine and help improve your range of motion while reducing pain
  • Massage therapy: tension may cause your muscles to be out of line, getting regular massage therapy can reduce tension and pain and help keep everything aligned
  • Pilates: pilates helps with alignment while focusing on the abdominal muscles through a mind-body approach. Focused on strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance, it helps with full-body alignment.
  • Tai Chi: this exercise combines meditation with an aligned movement known to help both the back and joints.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For You?

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For many years, people have used Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a home remedy to cure infections and other health issues that arise. Although many of the wonderous claims people make on the internet are actually false, there are still a number of benefits and uses for ACV. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether ACV could help a condition you have or if you simply want to know more information about it, read on!

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
ACV is a vinegar made from apple juice. Yeast is added to the juice in order to turn the sugars into alcohol, in other words, it is fermented. The alcohol then turns into acetic acid thanks to bacteria that is added, giving the liquid the sour vinegary taste and smell that it’s known for.

Benefits
ACV is a good source of polyphenols (which are plant-based antioxidants), vitamin B and probiotics in “The Mother” that come from the added bacteria. These components are responsible for most of the health benefits people enjoy from ACV. Additionally, it is known to have high disinfectant properties.

Uses
Although many of the claims made on the internet are not backed up by scientific research, there are still a number of useful ways to incorporate ACV into your diet and life. To name a few:
Help to regulate blood sugar levels
As a natural disinfectant for wounds and fungus
Boost weight loss when paired with a healthy diet and exercise
As a natural household cleaner
Skincare and hair care
In recipes for dressings, food and baked goods

Precautions
ACV should always be diluted with as it is highly acidic and it can cause an upset stomach. It is also important to keep in mind that this acid can cause damage to teeth enamel, so drinking water immediately after ACV is recommended.

Bottom Line
Realistically, ACV will not magically cure cancer or make you lose weight. Nevertheless, it is a healthy household item to have on hand. It can be enjoyed in different ways for different benefits, but healthy lifestyle choices are still necessary in addition to nutritional supplements such as ACV in order to stay on top of your health and feel your best!