Should You Ban Salt From Your Diet?

Should You Ban Salt From Your Diet?Salt. It’s the four-letter word that many people think we should ban from our diets.

We know that high salt intake increases your blood pressure and can lead to other chronic conditions, such as intestinal disorders, stomach cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and cataracts, just to name a few.

However, before you toss away your salt shaker, you’ll want to be aware of the reasons why you don’t want to ban salt completely from your diet.

Too Little Salt is Hazardous to Your Health

To function properly, the body must maintain healthy amounts of blood (plasma) sodium levels.

When you consume too little sodium, you set yourself up for chronic health issues.

  • For instance, hyponatremia – a condition caused when sodium levels are too low – is distinguished by the following signs and symptoms:

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5 Benefits of Juicing

5 Benefits of JuicingIf you’ve never enjoyed the delicious goodness of freshly juiced fruits, vegetables, and herbs, you’re really missing out. In fact, juicing is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body.

Your garden and your grocer’s produce department should be at the top of the list for healing yourself from the inside out. The good news is that with today’s juicers, most of the hard work is done for you. You can make several containers of juice and refrigerate them for use that day or freeze them for the week ahead.

Juicing has become so popular, in fact, that juicing groups are thriving on social network sites. Regardless of whether you want to dive headfirst into a juicing fast or want to collect some yummy recipes for occasional use, adding fresh juice to your diet is a win-win.

Here are five benefits of juicing to consider:

Juicing Provides Healing Properties

Hippocrates said it best. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” If you want to make a change in your diet, swap out sugary drinks and caffeinated beverages for fresh juice. The high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are quickly absorbed, especially when you drink it on an empty stomach.

For instance, did you know that cabbage juice aids in the healing process of stomach ulcers? It’s true. If you conduct a little online research, you’ll find a variety of health ailments that are lessened or cured with daily juicing.

Your Immune System Will Improve

Die-hard juicers swear by the results. When you add one or two glasses of juice to your daily diet, you get a blast of nutrients that will make you feel good and strengthen your immune system. With cold and flu season in swing, incorporating fresh juices into your daily diet will help keep pesky viruses at bay.

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3 Tips for Living with Seasonal Affective Disorder

3 Tips for Living with Seasonal Affective DisorderIf the change of seasons brings about a change in mood, you may be living with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder experience depression during fall and winter months but no depressive episodes during spring and summer.

What Causes SAD?

The specific cause is unknown; however, according to the Mayo Clinic, certain factors may be responsible for SAD.

  • Change in Circadian Rhythm – Also known as your body clock, your circadian rhythm may be disrupted due to decreased exposure to sunlight during winter months. This can lead to depression since our circadian rhythm tells our bodies when to sleep and when to eat.
  • Drop in Serotonin Levels – Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in your brain that directly affects mood. Decreased levels of sunlight can lead to decreased levels of serotonin. Lower levels of serotonin lead to depression.
  • Disruption in Melatonin Levels – Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep/wake cycles in your body. When seasons change, your sleep cycles may be affected.

If you feel depressed most of the time, experience difficulty sleeping, and have low levels of energy during fall and winter months, you may have SAD. Contact your medical health practitioner to rule out underlying causes for your depression.

3 Tips for Living with SAD

Soak in the Sun. Open the drapes, go for a walk, or sit by a window during your work day. Maximizing your exposure to sunlight will go a long way toward elevating your mood.

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What the Color of Your Urine Says About Your Health

What the Color of Your Urine Says About Your HealthPee. It’s not often dinner table conversation. However, what you eat or drink at your dinner table can affect your urine color. It’s important to know what that color means.

Urination is the way the body rids itself of excess water and other wastes that are filtered through the kidneys. That’s why the color of your urine is a good measurement of your wellness.

Here are 10 shades of urine that indicate something is wrong – or right – about your health.

Clear/Colorless: Your urine can be colorless for a variety of reasons. Clear urine is often an indicator that you’re drinking too much water. However, other factors may also come into play.

Too much caffeine, as well as the use of diuretics, can also cause your urine to become colorless. Additionally, the presence of kidney disease or diabetes insipidus can contribute to clear urine output.

If you’re drinking a lot of water and your urine is colorless, try cutting back on your water consumption to see if that helps. If you suspect that a chronic condition may be to blame, schedule an appointment with your physician to rule it out.

Straw-Colored or Clear Yellow: If you’re urine is pale straw or yellow, it’s a sign that everything is normal. Your body is well hydrated. Carry on.

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5 Herbs and Spices for Weight Loss

5 Herbs and Spices for Weight LossLosing weight can be a frustrating experience, particularly when the numbers on the scale are slow to budge. The good news is that small changes in your diet can yield big results.

Instead of reaching for salt to flavor your food, consider adding a bit of spicy heat to stoke your metabolic fires.

Here are five herbs and spices that will help melt away those unwanted pounds.

1. Cayenne Pepper — If you want to add a kick to your food while boosting metabolism and burning calories, cayenne pepper will do the trick. Cayenne pepper also curbs your appetite, which makes it easier to curb temptations between meals.

This spicy pepper not only boosts your metabolism by 25%; it also causes your temperature to rise. Subsequently, as your body forces the cool-down process, you’ll burn more calories.

2. Cumin – If you want to lower cholesterol levels while losing weight and shedding fat, adding two or three teaspoons of cumin to your diet may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Cumin also aids in digestion and energy production.

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Is Stress Affecting Your Food Choices?

Is Stress Affecting Your Food Choices?Do you eat to live or live to eat? If you’re like many people, there are times when you reach for a quick snack or make meal choices based on your cravings rather than nutritional value.

In small doses, this shouldn’t have a substantial impact on your overall health. However, if you give into cravings on a regular basis, you may be an emotional eater. Emotional eating can cause detrimental effects to your health.

Stress plays a key role in food choices for many people. Here’s why.

For some individuals, food consumption is an emotional coping skill. If your first impulse is to eat when you’re feeling stressed or lonely – even bored – it’s highly likely that you’re using food to manage stress.

In fact, food is a coping skill that many people use to alleviate pain. Short-term stress isn’t the biggest culprit. It’s long-term stress that causes us to become emotional eaters. Cortisol – a hormone released by the adrenal glands – is responsible for making us feel hungry.

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7 ways meal planning can improve your life

Healthy MenuLet’s be honest. Not knowing what’s for dinner is one of the most stressful things that can happen in your day. Especially at 4 PM when someone inevitably calls wanting to know what’s for dinner!

Being the Dinner Diva that I am, I’m a sucker for some great tips and I have a few here that honestly, will improve your life (and the lives of those around you, too!)

  1. Stay healthy. When you plan your meals ahead of time, you’re more likely to stay the course and keep it healthy. When you plan ahead, you’re also more likely to ensure that your meal is healthy and something less guilt producing than drive thru.
  2. Spend less time at the grocery store. When you know ahead of time what you’re going to eat, you will be able to make a good, efficient grocery list. That helps you to get in and out of the store quicker.
  3. Spend less money. Speaking of getting in and out of the grocery store, when you plan your meals, you put an end to that silly crazy practice of having to run to the store to pick up an ingredient that you need to pull together a certain dish. (And how often do you leave the grocery store without an item or two that you didn’t actually need?!)
  4. Throw out less food. And buying less items that you don’t use means less food waste. Nobody wants to throw out a rotten zucchini that ended up forgotten at the bottom of the crisper drawer! Yuck!
  5. Get meals on the table faster. Planning your meals allows you to prep ahead of time. Meal planning also reduces the amount of time you spend standing in front of the fridge wondering what to make for supper—yikes!
  6. Planned leftovers. When you have your meals planned out for the week, you can easily plan leftovers for lunch the next day. This is a great way to save time and money!
  7. Less stress. If you’re hearing “what’s for dinner” over and over and you don’t always seem to have an answer, you’re probably feeling a little stressed when dinner time rolls around. Meal planning puts an end to that!

Are You Overwhelmed with Menu Planning?

Are You Overwhelmed with Menu Planning?How many times a week do your ask yourself, “What do I want for dinner tonight?” It’s a common question, and the decision is one that we often leave to chance or cravings.

Unfortunately, when you don’t plan meals in advance, you risk grabbing a quick bite at a fast food joint or throwing together something based on what’s in the refrigerator or pantry. This can be detrimental to your health.

The nutritional choices we make have a direct effect on our well-being, both physically and emotionally. In fact, many of the health and wellness issues we live with can be caused – or cured – with proper nutrition.

It’s understandable how meal planning can be stressful. After all, we have numerous responsibilities and obligations in our day. Furthermore, many of our readers tell us that the idea of menu planning – in and of itself – adds another to-do task and, therefore, creates more stress in their already-busy lives.

On the other hand, home-cooked meals are essential for good health. Although many people prefer to grab a quick bite at a restaurant rather than spend that time cooking in the kitchen, the difference between what you prepare and what you buy prepared can enhance or deteriorate your health.

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What Your Skin Color Says About Your Health

What Your Skin Color Says About Your HealthYour skin may be the first sign that you have a serious health issue – one that may need immediate medical intervention. Unfortunately, many people dismiss skin changes as temporary, albeit annoying, cosmetic blemishes.

Here’s a truth worth remembering; your skin provides a window into your current state of health. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring changes in color that may be warning signs of a potentially life-threatening condition.

In fact, here are three skin colors that may reveal hidden health issues.

Blue-Gray Skin. If your skin turns blueish-gray, it may be indicative of a mild-to-severe problem. Most often, you’re likely to see this tone change in your lips or under your nails, although it can occur other places as well.

For instance, if your body has low levels of hemoglobin, anemia can occur. This change may be reflected in skin discolorations. Fortunately, your medical healthcare provider can order a simple blood test to rule out anemia, and this condition is easily managed.

However, blueish-gray skin may also be a warning sign for circulation issues. It could indicate that your heart is having a difficult time pumping blood. That’s why it is crucial to contact your physician as soon as possible to diagnose the cause of skin discoloration.

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5 Causes of Seizures in the Elderly

5 Causes of Seizures in the ElderlyThe first time you see someone have a seizure, it can be a frightening experience. It can also be unpredictable. In fact, symptoms of an impending seizure may be unrecognizable for someone experiencing a seizure for the first time.

Here are just a few of the warning signs:

  • Feeling odd, fuzzy, or confused
  • Headaches
  • Unusual tastes or smells
  • Jerky movements
  • Losing control of urine or bowels

For individuals in their senior years – age 65 or older – the likelihood of seizures increase. There are a variety of reasons why people experience seizures as they age. Here are five of them.

Head Trauma – Because older individuals are more prone to falls, they often suffer from loss of consciousness or head injuries as a result. Injuries to the head should be monitored closely after an accident. In fact, elderly people are three times more likely to suffer from seizures after a traumatic injury.

Alcohol – Alcohol abuse is common among elderly populations. Unfortunately, it is often under-recognized. Older individuals who abuse alcohol are three times more likely to experience seizures than other healthy adults their age.

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