Why You Should Up Your Water Intake in the New Year

If you didn’t include obtaining a proper water intake in your new year resolutions, you may want to take another look at your goals. The need for always providing your body with good fluids should never be underestimated. Check out these top three benefits of obtaining the proper water intake every day.

Encourages Healthy Weight Loss
Many people are motivated to drink more water to ultimately lose more weight. The shocking truth is that most soft drinks, juices, and alcoholic beverages contain an absurd amount of calories. When you drink a coke three times a week, you are actually packing on pounds without even realizing. The next time you reach for the soft drink or juice in the refrigerator consider grabbing a bottled water instead. The best kept secret in the diet industry is that water is the magic weapon to helping your lose weight in a timely manner.

Supports a Productive Exercise
Along with supporting weight loss, drinking water this new year can also positively impact your exercise routine. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, exercisers should intake about 17 ounces of water before hitting the gym. When you start hydrating before working out, your cells will maintain adequate fluids, which ultimately ensures that your body will not experience tired muscles. The result is a prolonged exercise routine where you will not feel fatigue.

Promotes Optimal Organ Function
Consistently consuming an adequate water intake every day will provide profound nourishment for your kidneys. As long as you continue to drink at least eight glasses of water daily, your kidneys will work relentlessly to quickly remove damaging toxins from your body. If your system isn’t getting enough water, a toxin known as blood urea nitrogen cannot pass out of the body through your urine since you won’t be going to be the restroom as much. The best way to determine if you are consuming appropriate amount of fluids is to make sure that your urine is odorless, light in color, and releases freely.

Provides Nourishment to the Skin
Do you often suffer from dry and aging skin? These unfortunate skin qualities could be a sign that you are indeed dehydrated. The fact is that water helps to retain the moisture in your skin whereas a lack of fluids can have the opposite effect. For the best results, pair proper hydration with daily moisturization to create skin that glows.

While most of us know the importance of drinking enough water on a daily basis, sometimes a gentle reminder is all it takes to ensure that we stay hydrated. If you want beautiful skin, strong muscles, healthy kidneys, and an attractive weight, make water your best friend this new year.

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Vitamins: Do You Need a Personalized Plan

In the past few years, the basic multivitamin has gotten a bad rap. Experts claiming that the multivitamins were a waste of money. Studies said the vitamins wouldn’t help prevent chronic diseases later in life, and that there were few vitamins worth taking. But these studies also assumed that everyone was eating an optimal diet that provided everything they needed. For those who wanted or needed supplementation, then, what would the options be? And if you just wanted to ensure you were getting enough of all the vital vitamins and minerals, what could you do?

Real Vitamin Intakes

A balanced diet should provide all of the nutrients people need in sufficient amounts. The problem with that is that not everyone — in fact, a lot of people — don’t have an optimal diet. This can be due to food insecurity, a massive dislike of certain foods, a lack of knowledge of how to put a daily diet together and more.

Targeted Supplementation

For those people who aren’t getting enough through food, one option is targeted or personalized supplementation. This can take the form of picking and choosing your supplements, such as taking separate vitamin D, calcium and iron supplements daily, or getting a compounded version that contains what you need.

Targeted or personalized supplementation does have advantages. You don’t end up taking nutrients that you’re already getting enough of, you have more choices for individual doses and you avoid taking gigantic pills if you have trouble swallowing those.

However, there can also be some disadvantages. If you do the pick-and-choose method, you could end up taking a lot of pills daily if you’re not getting enough of several vitamins and minerals. You may also end up overlooking necessary nutrients.

If you want to take only those supplements that you know you need, a personalized plan is best. If you just want to fill in gaps, though, and are not concerned that you’re getting too much of certain nutrients, a multivitamin would be just fine. Speak with your doctor and a registered dietitian to work out the best plan for you.

How to Adjust Your Exercise Plan for the Holidays

The holidays are a time for reconnecting with friends and family, which can often derail even the best intentions to keep up with diet and exercise. If you are looking for ways to adjust your exercise plan for the holidays, consider the following helpful hints.

1. Carve out time in the mornings

Most holiday events revolve around evening activities, especially during the week. Find time early each morning to adjust your exercise schedule so that you start earlier than you might otherwise plan. This might require you to plan the night before with extra clothes and a gym bag.

2. Find ways to exercise from home

You may have to adjust your exercise routine to include more walking or other activities you can do inside your own house. This is especially true if you live in an area where winter storms could prevent you from driving to the gym. Some of the best moves that you can do from the comfort of your own home include push ups, crunches, planks, lunges and squats.

3. Incorporate exercise into your holiday activities

Holiday activities can include more than just baking cookies and watching your favorite Christmas movies. Find out if there are any fun 5k races or walks in your area to participate in. You can get your friends and family to sign up with you. If you plan on shopping in stores this holiday season, try to park your car as far away as possible. Consider walking a lap around the parking lot before beginning your shopping spree.

4. Make it a family affair

Invite your friends and family members to go on a walk with you before or after dinner. This will keep the fun conversations flowing and allow you to eat without the guilt of totally derailing your diet. Try planning a walk around a neighborhood known for having the best Christmas light display to squeeze in a bit more holiday cheer along your way. Dress in layers to prepare for cold weather.

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.

Why Early Baldness may be a Higher Heart Disease Risk Factor than Obesity

Multiple studies have found that men who are balding and/or graying prematurely have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It’s not comforting news at all, but it’s not a sure sign that you will develop heart disease. You might not be able to stop baldness or graying (at least not without pharmaceutical assistance), but you can affect a lot of other conditions that could reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Studies and Stats

Indian, Japanese and Danish studies have all found an elevated occurrence of heart disease in men who were prematurely balding or graying, even after controlling for factors like obesity. The Japanese study found that balding men had a 32 percent greater incidence of cardiovascular disease, and the Indian study found that the risk of cardiovascular disease related to baldness outpaced that of obesity, which has long been considered a factor in cardiovascular disease.

Potential Causes

Researchers still aren’t completely sure why early baldness and graying seem to be so indicative of disease risk. One theory is that hormonal changes that affect heart health also leave hair graying or falling out. Another theory says that people who are graying early could be biologically aging more quickly.

What This Means for You

Regardless of what’s behind the correlation, the presence of early baldness or graying is something to note, but it is not something to worry excessively about. You can’t change the fact that you have this extra risk factor, and the elevated risk is really just that — a risk factor, not a destiny. What you should do is watch those parts of your life that you can control. For example, eat a heart-healthy diet, and get a reasonable amount of exercise; also, control obesity and blood pressure. If you have other conditions that could increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, like sleep apnea, treat those so you get better sleep.

Your doctor can help you work out a suitable plan for keeping your heart healthy. Don’t worry if you have a risk factor; instead, be proactive.

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.