5 Ideas for a Healthy Holiday Season

The holiday season and healthy living aren’t two terms that are often used together. However, more people today are concerned about their health all year long. You can still have a jolly, good time without eating a lot of unhealthy foods and remaining sedentary. Explore the top five ideas for a healthy, holiday season so that January’s reality doesn’t come as such a surprise.

Hide the Vegetables

A huge bowl of steamed vegetables tends to be lonely on the dinner table. Trick everyone into eating their vegetables by incorporating them into the tastier dishes. Add broccoli, carrots and cauliflower to the mashed potatoes. Once everything is mixed together, it simply tastes like mashed potatoes.

Make it a Walking Adventure

Slipping off your shoes and taking a nap after a big meal is often the tradition during the holiday season. Change that habit this year, however, by heading outdoors. Take a walk after each meal, which might include all three mealtimes. These walks don’t have to be long ones either. Ten to 15-minute walks are all that are necessary to get healthy this year.

Consider Low-Calorie Options

Skip heavy-cream ingredients and try low-calorie selections. In most cases, you won’t notice the difference between the fatty and low-calorie ingredients. Your waistline and health, however, will improve as the new year begins.

Try an App

It’s natural to crave a few treats during the holidays. Consider a download on your smartphone so that you can keep track of those treats. Apps that count calories for you are typically free. They give you a real tabulation of calories versus exercise goals.

Moderate the Alcohol Intake

Alcohol has a lot of calories and health risks so moderating your intake is critical. Keep track of each drink so that you know when to stop. Ideally, don’t drink more than one or two drinks a day. Men can often have more than women based on their body size.

It might be difficult to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle if everyone around you is consuming a lot of food at the table. Partner with a like-minded individual so that you aren’t isolated in your habits. Both of you can participate in your own cooking experiments and exercise regimens. Whether the partner is your spouse or other loved one, staying healthy will only make the holiday season more enjoyable than before.

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Is Gluten-Free Wheat on the Way?

Whether you suffer from celiac disease or a sensitive digestive system, gluten is a common enemy. This widespread ingredient in breads and pastas creates intestinal issues for some people. Reactions may be so severe that people seek out gluten-free foods. Gluten, however, performs the beneficial job of creating texture and cohesiveness in breads. It’s also derived from wheat plants. Many gluten-free products line the shelves today, but wheat-based products aren’t part of the line up. Gluten-free wheat may be on its way to satisfy many consumers.

Wheat-Based Starch Allowed

When most people see the word “starch,” they immediately think of cornstarch. This association is viable because most uses of this word within ingredient lists are regulated to mean corn-based substances. In the past few years, some foods marked as gluten free now have wheat-starch descriptions. This starch comes from pure plants, but it’s processed to the point of having very little gluten. If you’re wondering about wheat-based bread that’s certified as gluten free, it’s on its way.

Gluten Free Doesn’t Indicate Purity

Gluten-sensitive or allergic people are well-aware of the ingredients to look out for during a grocery trip. Any mention of a wheat-based product is grounds to put the item back on the shelf. Being gluten free, however, doesn’t mean that the product is entirely void of this substance. It merely indicates that there’s less than 20 parts per million of gluten ingredients. With this fact in mind, gluten-free wheat-based products are possible.

Trace Impacts

There are some concerns in the food industry that point out the negative impacts of gluten from trace accumulations. That 20-PPM value may not be achievable with so many ingredients adding up to more gluten in every bite. Product managers are currently working on the trace-element concerns so that gluten-free items are still healthy.

Hybridizing Plants at the Farm Level

It may not be necessary to process gluten out of plant-based products with hybridizing occurring at some farms. Researchers are altering plant characteristics to develop crops that have little or no gluten at all. Use these plants for bread and pasta production while still adhering to the gluten-free label.

Every person will have a unique reaction to gluten when they’re sensitive to it. Unless you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, the best way to find out if a food is agreeable with your system is to try a small portion. Be your own advocate so that you can discover new foods as they emerge in the marketplace. Gluten-free wheat may be on the way so be ready to try it as an open-minded person.

8 Reasons Your Teeth Hurt

Suddenly developing tooth pain is not anything you really want, but it happens to most people at least once. If your teeth hurt and you don’t know why, don’t panic. While most causes require the help of a dentist, the pain should be gone soon if you get the right care. Look at these eight causes of tooth pain and see if these might be why your teeth hurt.

Sensitive Teeth

If your teeth hurt when you eat or drink something cold or hot, or you breathe in cold air through your mouth, that could just be sensitivity, which happens when the tubules in the tooth’s dentin are exposed. See your dentist to ensure it is not a cavity; if it is just sensitivity, start using a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.

Cavities

Of course, the pain could be from a full-blown cavity. In this case, you have to see a dentist to get the cavity filled. But once that’s done, the tooth shouldn’t hurt anymore.

Bruxism and TMJ

If you grind or clench your teeth, that’s called bruxism. It can lead to temporomandibular joint syndrome, though TMJ can occur for other reasons. Both can lead to jaw and tooth pain. A night guard to help protect your teeth is what you need, and you can get these from your dentist.

Gum Problems

If your gums are infected, the nerves in your jaw could transmit pain that feels like it’s coming from a tooth. See your dentist to clear up the infection.

Root Problems

Sometimes decay hits the root of the tooth, sending pain signals into the nerve. You may have to get a root canal or have the tooth extracted; if you go the latter route, ask the dentist about implants or bridges to replace the tooth.

Fractures

Like cavities, fractures expose the nerves in the tooth. You’ll need these filled to stop the pain.

Impaction

If you have not yet had your wisdom teeth pulled, one or more might be impacted under the adjacent tooth. You’ll need to have the wisdom tooth removed.

Old Dental Work

Old dental work, like fillings, can eventually fail and need to be replaced. Once you get new dental work to replace the old, you should be fine.

Your dentist can help you combat all of these rather quickly. Don’t hesitate to set up an appointment if your teeth hurt.

Migraines and Their Link To Poor Health

If you suffer from migraines, then you should know that this type of headache can affect your overall health in a variety of ways. A migraine is a serious headache that occurs several times a month. This type of headache has several symptoms that can disrupt your life. Here are some of the ways that a migraine affects your well-being.

Health Problem 1: Nausea and Vomiting

When you have a migraine, it can make you feel nauseated, leading to vomiting. If you are nauseated from a severe headache several times a month, then your digestive tract is affected. Not only can you experience malnutrition from constant vomiting, but also, the bile from vomiting can affect your mouth, and this can lead to dental health issues such as cavities.

Health Problem 2: Vision Disturbances

Migraines cause pain on one side of the head, and this can affect your vision. You might see bright lights while you are having a migraine, or you may have blurred vision instead. These visual disturbances can make daily living difficult because you can’t drive a vehicle, read a book or use a computer. Most individuals who have a migraine with vision disturbances must remain in a dark room to reduce their pain symptoms.

Health Problem 3: Feelings Of Depression or Anxiety

When you experience a migraine frequently, it can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression. You may worry constantly about having another headache, and when you have a migraine, it is impossible to have a normal day. During one of these headaches, you can’t continue with your daily activities because the pain is too intense.

Health Problem 4: Increased Chance Of a Stroke

Researchers know that a migraine with an aura indicates changes in the brain’s blood vessels. If you experience these headaches, then you are at a higher risk of having a stroke. In addition to the changes that occur in your brain’s blood vessels while you are having a headache, the medications that you take to relieve pain can increase your chances of having a stroke.

Health Problem 5: Higher Risk Of Developing Dementia

Scientific studies indicate that migraines can cause lesions inside the brain, and this can lead to dementia. While you are having a migraine, your brain’s blood flow decreases. With these changes, your brain’s cells are damaged, making it more likely that you will have a dementia condition such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Everything You Need to Know About Your Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is manufactured in the body and found in food, and it is still not entirely understood. However, it is important to keep the levels of the “bad” down and the “good” high in order to reduce the risk of heart disease.

It moves through the bloodstream in lipoproteins, which are composed of fat and proteins. Low-density lipoproteins are known as LDL while high-density lipoproteins are known as HDL. They are also know, respectively, as “bad” and “good” cholesterol. LDL causes plaque to build up in the arteries. This plaque clogs the arteries with a mix of calcium, fat and other substances. This is known as arteriosclerosis. The plaque hardens, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the heart.

At this point, several things may happen. A blood clot can form and block blood flow if the plaque breaks open. When this oxygen-rich blood is cut off from the heart, a heart attack may occur unless the blood flow is restored. When plaque blocks the flow to other parts of the body, such as limbs or the brain, a stroke may occur. People may also be at risk of peripheral or carotid artery disease.

There are usually not symptoms associated with high levels of it, and people may not realize they have it until they have it checked. High numbers for LDL are more likely to be due to genetics than diet. However, weight and smoking also play a part. It is also a good idea to avoid trans fat and eat lower amount of saturated fat, which is fat that comes from animal products including meat and full-fat dairy. It was once believed that eggs were a significant dietary factor in the buildup of LDL in the bloodstream, but this is no longer the case. In many cases, lifestyle changes alone are not enough to significantly lower a person’s LDL, and it is necessary to take medication. If you are older than 75, your doctor may decide to treat high LDL less aggressively depending on other health factors.

Medical professionals still have some way to go in fully understanding how cholesterol works and how its levels can best be controlled. However, according to the best knowledge available now, you should try to keep your LDL level low. If it is high, you can work with your doctor to figure out whether changes in lifestyle, medication or a combination of the two produce the best results to keep you healthy.

Vegan Pudding Made From Avocados and Chocolate

A lot of the cooking beliefs people have lack factual basis. For example, many people mistakenly believe that you have to use milk when you make pudding. Nothing could be further from the truth. Vegan chocolate avocado pudding is a dairy-free favorite that has an objectively delicious taste. Without question, this is one dessert that most people will enjoy. Better yet, avocados are high in protein and good fats.

Besides being a widely appealing treat, this recipe is fairly simple and easy. The recipe tastes essentially the same as the the chocolate pudding that most people know and love. While enjoying this dessert, you will hardly even taste the avocados. The main purpose of the avocado is to add a creamier texture to the dessert and to improve its nutritional value.

To start your recipe, find yourself a medium-sized avocado that is completely ripe. You’ll want avocados that are soft and moist yet lacking in any brown spots or discolorations. After opening the avocado and getting rid of the pit, chop the fruit into medium-sized chunks and put the chunks into your blender. Add two tablespoons of organic, unsweetened cocoa powder. Next, add two tablespoons of maple syrup or organic honey. Finally, pour in six tablespoons of your favorite non-dairy milk substitute.

Start blending your mixture on low and up your blender speed to high shortly thereafter. Once your vegan pudding concoction achieves a sufficiently smooth texture, the dessert is ready to serve. If you use a larger avocado, you may need to add a bit more of the other ingredients to achieve balance in taste and consistency. In the event that your pudding is too thick, simply add more non-dairy milk substitute. Stick your vegan pudding in the fridge until it is ready to serve cold. To achieve the perfect taste, feel free to add more cocoa powder, honey or agave syrup. This avocado chocolate vegan pudding recipe is an outstanding choice when you are entertaining guests.

Quite a few people believe that the vegan diet offers unique health benefits. For dietitians, the jury is still out when it comes to the vegan lifestyle. Nevertheless, millions of vegan eaters can’t all be wrong. If you carefully plan your eating habits to meet your nutritional needs, you can switch to a vegan diet without facing any undue risk.

According to the Mayo Clinic, vegans need to plan their diets carefully to make sure their bodies receive critical nutrients. Like all people, vegan eaters should limit their intake of processed foods. All people need to eat a wide variety of vegetables, fresh fruits and wholesome whole grains. The Mayo Clinic recommends that physicians should monitor vegan patients to make sure their calcium levels and vitamin D levels are normal. Vegans should also have their blood checked regularly to ensure adequate iron and ferritin intake.

7 Signs That What You Have Might be More Than the Common Cold

When you get sick, it is important to evaluate your symptoms to determine if you are suffering from the common cold or a more serious illness requiring medical treatment. If you are concerned, it is best to err on the side of caution and make an appointment to see your doctor. The following symptoms are red flags that you should look for when trying to determine if you are suffering from an illness other than a cold.

Sniffles that persist more than four days: If your congestion and runny nose last beyond four days, you may have a sinus or respiratory tract infection. The cause may be bacterial or viral. Your doctor may prescribe medications depending upon the exact diagnosis.

High Fever: As an adult, it is very likely that your body is fighting an illness other than the common cold if you are experiencing a fever higher than 102. A high fever may indicate strep throat or another infection. Contact your doctor if your fever lasts for more than 48 hours or rises above 103 degrees.

Severe Headache: This can be an indication of meningitis, especially if a fever and neck pain accompanies the symptom. A pressure headache that is worse near the nose and eyes or gets worse when you bend forward could be a sign of a sinus infection.

Stomach Problems: A cold rarely causes digestive tract problems. Diarrhea and vomiting are usually signs of the flu, food poisoning or another medical condition. You should seek medical advice if you have been experiencing problems for more than a few days.

Acute Localized Pain: This sign can be caused by other conditions. While a cold can produce a stuffy nose, congestion and a sore throat, acute pain when swallowing is a symptom of strep throat. A cold usually does not isolate intense pain in one area.

Muscle Aches and Fatigue: A cold usually does not cause widespread body aches and pains. Along with muscle and joint pain, fatigue and chills may accompany the flu.

Chest Pains or Trouble Breathing: Even though a cough and congestion is a sign of a cold, they should not be severe enough to cause wheezing, shortness of breath or chest pain. Breathing problems can be a sign of bronchitis or pneumonia.

It can be difficult to distinguish between some illnesses because they share similar symptoms. If you notice symptoms getting worse or lingering, it may be a sign of a more serious illness. In these instances, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.