Posts Tagged ‘Health’

This article was originally published by Woman’s Day.  Visit their website here.

By Dana Gottesman

Photo (c) Comstock

Photo (c) Comstock

Feeling under the weather? If you’re sick of running to the drugstore and popping pills, these 10 inexpensive home remedies may be just the alternative you’re looking for. We reached out to the experts for non-pharmacological treatments that can help resolve your minor health ailments. From colds to insomnia, fatigue to indigestion, read on to learn their advice for solving your everyday health problems the all-natural way.

For indigestion…

Pour a glass of fennel tea. Fennel can help with gas, bloating or an upset stomach, says Teerawong Kasiolarn, ND, a naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist, who recommends drinking the tea after meals to promote digestion. You should also take care to eat slowly, chew food thoroughly and avoid drinking very cold liquids or soda with your meals, since these factors can contribute to indigestion, acid reflex and heartburn.

For an itchy rash…

Turn to nature. Instead of using a steroid cream, why not try a plant-based cream or ointment like calendula? The cream works as a natural mild antiseptic and is ideal for treating burns, scrapes and irritated skin. Want to grow your own rash relief? Keep an aloe plant in your kitchen, says Michael Finkelstein, MD, a certified holistic physician. It’s a great remedy for itchy, inflamed skin, and is also more economical than purchasing a tube of aloe from the drugstore.

For asthma…

Strike a (yoga) pose. While you may still need an occasional puff on your inhaler, the cobra yoga posture has been found to aid ashtma sufferers by opening up breathing passages, according to Dana Ullman, MPH, founder of Homeopathic.com and author of The Homeopathic Revolution. Begin by lying on your stomach and placing the palms of your hands on the floor, under your shoulders. Inhale while you raise your head and chest by using your back muscles and hands to support you. Exhale while lowering your body. Repeat at least five times.

For a fever…

Slip on some wet socks. Before you reach for Tylenol, try this naturopathic treatment, which could lower a fever overnight, according to Dr. Kasiolarn. First, pour cool water onto cotton socks and place them on your feet. Then cover the wet layer with a pair of wool socks to draw your body heat down to your feet and reduce your overall temperature. It’s also wise to avoid sweets, dairy, and fatty or greasy foods while suffering a fever, as eating these types of foods has been found to raise body temperature. Instead, indulge in watermelon, a fruit that’s very cooling to the body.

For stress or anxiety…

Make your own recess. When stress becomes exceedingly difficult to manage, try carving out time during the day for a short break, says Dr. Finkelstein. An outdoor break is ideal, since natural light, fresh air and movement can be especially restorative for your mind frame. Can’t leave your desk? Take a five-minute time-out to do a simple stretching exercise to rev up your energy and boost circulation.

For a cold…

Concoct an herbal cure. Infuse a glass of water with natural antiviral vegetables and herbs, such as garlic, fresh ginger slices, basil, green onion and cinnamon, to ward away cold symptoms. A tincture of echinacea is also helpful for boosting immune health, says Dr. Kasiolarn. An effective tincture will numb the tongue and should be taken with early onset of cold symptoms.

For chapped lips…

Make your own salve. Mix equal parts beeswax and olive oil for a homemade balm that soothes and smooths cracked lips. If your lips are frequently chapped, you should also make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids, since dehydration could be the real culprit. Fish oil in liquid form can also be taken with meals to help with chapped lips and dry skin for additional relief, says Dr. Kasiolarn.

For a cold sore…

Tackle it with tea. Black tea contains tannic acid, which is thought to have antiviral properties, says Ullman. Pour hot water over a tea bag to moisten it slightly and then let it sit out to cool. Place the warm bag directly onto the sore for about five minutes to aid in its healing. For the best results, apply this remedy immediately after a cold sore surfaces.

For a cough or sore throat…

Chew a garlic clove. Raw garlic, which has both an antiviral and immune-stimulating effect on the body, may actually clear infection, says Finkelstein. If raw garlic is too strong for your taste, try popping it in the microwave briefly before ingesting. For a stubborn cough, also try sniffing eucalyptus essential oil, which naturally clears mucus.

For insomnia…

Slow down at nightfall. You can’t run around the block, put on your pajamas, hop into bed and then expect to fall asleep, says Finkelstein. Quiet the mind and body several hours before you go to bed by limiting your nighttime activities to relaxing pursuits like reading. To further ready yourself for bedtime, try dimming the lights and shutting off the TV and computer screen at least half an hour before hitting the pillows.

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content provided by Healthwise
The more you know about depression, the better you can understand what the person is going through.

  • Know what is true about depression, and know the myths about depression.
  • Know the warning signs of suicide, such as talking a lot about death or giving things away and writing a will. If you notice them, call the doctor.
  • Call 911 or emergency help if you think:
    • The person is going to harm himself or herself or others. For example, the person has a written plan or a weapon, or is saving (stockpiling) medicines.
    • The person is hearing or seeing things that are not real.
    • The person seems to be thinking or speaking in a bizarre way that is unlike his or her usual behavior.

Help with professional treatment
If you have permission, you can:

  • Help the person set up and get to visits with a doctor or other health professional.
  • Help the person manage medicines.
  • Know the side effects of medicines and contact the doctor if needed.
  • Remind the person with depression that medicine is important and that the dose or medicine can be changed to reduce or get rid of side effects.

Home support
A person with depression may feel alone in the world. Your support can help.

  • Listen when the person wants to talk. If you’re there to help the person talk things through, it may help the person feel better or continue treatment.
  • Avoid giving advice. But gently point out that not everything is bad, and offer hope. Urge the person to continue treatment. Don’t tell the person that he or she is lazy or should be able to get over it.
  • Keep your relationship as normal as you can, but don’t pretend that depression doesn’t exist or that there isn’t a problem.
  • Ask the person to do things with you, such as go for walks or to a movie, and encourage the person to continue with favorite activities. If the person says no, then that’s okay. But be sure to ask again in the future. Don’t push too much, which may make the person feel worse.
  • Ask what you can do to help in daily life. You might help with housework or lawn care, getting the kids to school, or running errands.
  • Don’t be offended. If you are a spouse or are very close to someone, you may feel hurt because the person isn’t paying attention to you and may seem angry or uncaring. Remember that your loved one still cares for you but just isn’t able to show it.

Take care of yourself
Spending a lot of time with someone who has depression may be hard on you too. These caregiver tips can help:

  • Take care of yourself first. Do things you enjoy, such as seeing family or going to movies.
  • Don’t help too much. A common mistake caregivers make is providing too much care. Even if they don’t admit it, people like to help themselves. Take some time off.
  • Don’t do it alone. Ask others to help you, or join a support group. The more support you have, the more help you can give to the person.

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by Jane of Weigh the FAQs.  Link at bottom of article.

Every dieter knows that junk food is bad for them. They call it junk food because it’s full of all the things people should avoid (namely: trans fats, high refined sugar, empty calories), and lacking of all the things people need (namely: vitamins, fiber, actual nutrients). And yet, around a third of the calories most American adults eat are from junk food. Instead of swearing off junk food altogether, here are some tips to get the same craving-filling taste with actual nutritional value.

The salt. The oil. The starch. For many people the french fry is the ultimate in junk-food comfort. Unfortunately, most french fries are loaded with trans fats and almost no nutritional value. In fact, the high starch can play havoc with blood sugar levels and make you feel worse after eating them. To fix the high-fat, high salt craving and actually get some nutrients in, pick a vegetable-based side-dish at restaurants instead. Creamed spinach or buttered broccoli aren’t great, but they aren’t as bad. If you want to do even better yet, a side salad with a salty vinegarette and some cheese should also hit that fat and salty fix. If you simply must have something crunchy and fry-shaped, at home make your own sweet potato fries by coating sliced sweet potato with egg whites and your favorite salty seasoning and then baking them in the oven. Sweet potatoes (and yams too) are much lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes, which translates to being much better eats for you.

The ultimate office and road trip treat, donuts combine a fried fix with sweet sugar. They also happen to be one of the most useless foods people can consume, and worse, are loaded with hydrogenated fat. To resist the donuts in the break room or sitting in the case at your favorite coffee place, go for a bran muffin instead to get the same sugar fix. Watch the portions though — most large muffins are at least twice as big as they need to be. And if you absolutely can’t resist, settle for enjoying a single donut hole.

There is a reason why they say you can’t eat just one chip. This crispy salty trans-fat loaded starchy treat is very hard to give up once you’ve started eating them. You’re best bet? Don’t start. Reach for fat-free popcorn or nuts to get that salty, eat by the handful sensation. Avoid vending machines where they are sold, and when buying your sandwich, opt for healthier side items like apple slices or a side salad. If you have to have some, buy a small individual sized bag and share with friends — and better yet, eat the baked variety. However, keep in mind that when you’re craving salty foods, you just may be dehydrated. When people are dehydrated they crave salt. You might opt to drink an electrolyte-enhanced water instead.

You scream. I scream. Your body screams. Ice cream is loaded with fat and sugar, things that your body doesn’t need. Ice cream is an easy dessert to keep in the house, or to get while out walking, or at a restaurant. In fact, ice cream seems to be available everywhere. But whether it’s the sweet, the creamy, or the cold you are craving, there are healthier alternatives. All-natural frozen yogurt is a good substitute, or even better – frozen grapes or berries. And for those times when nothing but pure milk and sugar will do, go for high quality, all-natural ice-cream for your indulgence. But make it a once in a blue moon treat rather than a daily occurrence.

Candy bars may seem like a good mid-afternoon snack (the advertisers certainly seem to think so) but nothing could be further from the truth. The high sugar and fat content of most candy bars will give your body a quick sugar rush, and then a sugar fall-out. If it’s an afternoon pick-me-up you’re looking for, yogurt or a handful of nuts would be better. If it’s the chocolate itself that you are craving, go for it, so long as it’s a nice dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher). If it’s the sweet, a piece of fruit is better for you. Better yet, some dark chocolate and some berries combine for a decadent, good-for-you treat.

Your parents might have told you that soda will rot your teeth. They weren’t that far off from the truth. The chemicals found in most soda pop drinks, in higher concentrations, can rot a lot more than your teeth. They are all almost pure chemicals and refined sugars without a single redeeming calorie in the mix. If you’re looking for a caffeine fix, natural iced-teas are a much better choice. In fact, many teas, like green tea, have anti-oxidants and other good-for-you properties. If it’s the sweet you need, try adding a lemon or orange slice to your water. And if you need the carbonation, go for soda water, and either mix with your tea or some raspberries. And as for diet sodas? Those aren’t any healthier for you (even if lower calorie) and in fact have been linked to a decreased ability to lose weight. It’s better to just give up the pop. If you absolutely must have one, have JUST one, and pick one with actual sugar in it (like Hansens) instead of the chemical compounds found in most pops.

Pizza has become a default meal in America and it’s easy to see why. Greasy cheesy goodness over starchy crust loaded up with a variety of toppings spell one word and one word only: Y-U-M. (Can you tell this is my hardest junk food to avoid??) And there are so many kinds nowadays with gourmet toppers like artichokes, BBQ chicken, and a plethora of exotic cheeses. Keep the veggies, keep the healthier of the meats, and even a small amount of the exotic cheeses—and put them over salad instead of the empty-calorie crust. If it’s the melted cheese you’re really craving, have a chicken breast with marinara and provolone melted over it. Eggplant works too. In fact, that’s what we had for dinner last night when we were desperately craving pizza.

While most people can’t always eat completely healthy all the time, putting some nutrition into junk food can help. Find better alternatives for your cravings. And when you do indulge, make it few and far between, and, as with anything, watch your portions. Of course, I’d love what all of you have to say about this too. What’s your healthy junk food alternative?

This article was first published over at Weigh the FAQs.

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Depression: Offering Support

Trying to offer support to a friend or loved one with depression can be hard. You may not know how to act. You may worry that you’ll say the wrong thing. Here are some suggestions about how to offer positive support.

  • Don’t ask your loved one to snap out of it. Depression is a real illness. People who are depressed can’t just “pull themselves together” and feel better. Recovering from depression takes time and treatment. Think about it: You wouldn’t ask someone with cancer to snap out of it. Depression is just as real and just as serious an illness.
  • Listen. Right now, what your loved one with depression may need most is someone to listen. Don’t dismiss his or her concerns. Don’t assume that you know what he or she is going through. Just listen.
  • Encourage your depressed loved one to be more active. Most people who are depressed isolate themselves. Isolation can make things worse. So gently encourage your friend with depression to get out more. Suggest that you do things together. Invite your loved one out to dinner or to a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Don’t push too hard. Be encouraging but not forceful. Don’t make demands. People who are depressed feel overwhelmed as it is. If you’re always pushing, a person with depression may pull back more. So if your friend or loved one declines your invitations, don’t force the issue. Instead, just give it a little time and then ask again. Be persistent but gentle.
  • Encourage your loved one to stick with treatment. It’s key that your loved one with depression stay on his or her medication and get regular checkups. He or she may also need encouragement to eat well, get enough sleep, and stay away from alcohol and drugs. You could also offer to go with your loved one to therapy or health care appointments.
  • Create a stable environment. Reducing stress around the home can help a person with depression. Try to get your loved one on a schedule, so he or she knows what to expect each day.
  • Emphasize that your loved one will feel better. Because of depression, your loved one may feel hopeless. Be reassuring. Depression distorts a person’s perception of the world. But with time and treatment, your friend or loved one will see clearly again.

WebMD Medical Reference

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10 Soda Alternatives

Content provided by Revolution Health Group

1. Club soda mixed with pomegranate juice. 160 calories per cup; still bubbly.

2. Tonic water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Only 80 calories; still bubbly.

3. Light yogurt and fruit smoothie.
Creamy and sweet, high in calcium and only 174 calories per cup.

4. Tomato juice or V8.
Packed with flavor; high in vitamins C, A, and potassium and only 50 calories per cup.

5. Flavored seltzer. Carbonated, but zero calories.

6. Energy drink (such as Gatorade). Tastes sweet, 60 calories per cup, contains electrolytes.

7. Apple cider.
Has 120 calories per cup, but packs a tangy, substantial flavor.

8. Milk, whole or skim.
High in calcium and protein–and you need both. With 145 calories per cup of whole milk; 85 calories for skim.

9. Ovaltine made with skim milk.
It’s chocolaty, fortified with vitamins and minerals, high in calcium and protein and 170 calories per cup.

10. Tea or coffee, unsweetened. Get a boost on less than five calories per cup, plus it’s high in antioxidants.

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WebMD Feature from “Shape” Magazine

By Amanda Pressner

There’s something empowering about hitting the supermarket to shop for your week’s meals. Rather than putting yourself at the mercy of the local Chinese take-out restaurant or succumbing to the lure of the drive-through, you’re taking dinner—and your waistline—into your own hands. “Eating out less and cooking more may be one of the most effective things you can do to keep fat and calories in check,” says Cheryl Forberg, R.D., author of Stop the Clock! Cooking. “Plus, building your diet around produce, whole grains, beans, and lean protein practically guarantees you’ll reach your recommended targets for most vitamins and minerals.” But while we may be tossing the freshest, most wholesome foods into our carts, many of us are storing and preparing them in ways that rob them (and our bodies) of the very nutrients we’re seeking. Nutritionists and food-safety experts point to nine typical kitchen blunders that negatively impact the quality of our diets. Fortunately, you can sidestep all of them easily. Follow this advice to make your next meal healthier.


You’re overloading on produce
Sure, making one big grocery run at the start of the week seems like a no-fail way to get your five a day. After all, if those carrots, greens, apples, and berries are around, you’ll eat more of them and therefore get more nutrients, right? Wrong. “The vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables begin to diminish the moment they’re harvested,” says Geri Brewster, R.D., a wellness consultant at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, New York. That means the longer you store produce, the fewer nutrients it will contain. After about a week in the fridge, for example, spinach retains just half of its folate and around 60 percent of its lutein (an antioxidant associated with healthy eyes), concludes a study in the Journal of Food Science. Broccoli loses about 62 percent of its flavonoids (antioxidant compounds that help ward off cancer and heart disease) within 10 days, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “You’re better off buying smaller batches at least twice a week,” says Brewster. If you can’t shop every few days, pick up frozen produce. These fruits and veggies are harvested at their peak and are flash-frozen immediately. Because the produce isn’t exposed to oxygen, the nutrients stay stable for a year, according to researchers at the University of California, Davis. Just be sure to avoid frozen products packed in sauces or syrups. These additions can mean extra calories from fat or sugar, and sometimes they’re high in sodium as well.


You’re stashing foods in see-through containers
If you’re still buying your milk in clear plastic jugs, consider switching to cardboard cartons. Milk is rich in the B vitamin riboflavin; when exposed to light, a chemical reaction is kicked off that reduces the vitamin’s potency, according to researchers from Ghent University in Belgium. Other nutrients, such as amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and vitamins A, C, D, and E, are also affected. And because lowfat and nonfat milk varieties are thinner than whole milk, light can penetrate them more easily. “This process, known as photo-oxidation, can change the flavor of the milk and create disease-causing free radicals,” says Susan Duncan, Ph.D., a food scientist at Virginia Tech. Since grain products (especially whole grains) are also high in riboflavin, they too are susceptible to this breakdown of nutrients and production of free radicals. Duncan recommends avoiding the practice of storing dry goods like pasta, rice, and cereals in clear containers on your countertop. Instead, keep them in their original boxes or in opaque containers and stash them in your kitchen cabinets, where they’ll be shielded from light.


You’re too quick to cook your garlic
Legend has it that these pungent little bulbs can ward off vampires, but science shows that if you cook them correctly, they may have the power to fight off an even more frightening villain: cancer. “Chop, slice, or crush your cloves, then set them aside for at least 10 minutes before sautéing,” says John Milner, Ph.D., chief of the nutritional science research group at the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland. “Breaking up garlic triggers an enzymatic reaction that releases a healthy compound called allyl sulfur; waiting to cook garlic allows enough time for the full amount of the compound to form.”


The only time you eat avocados is in guacamole
Adding this green fruit to salads and sandwiches is an easy way to raise your nutritional bar. Avocados are exceptionally rich in folate, potassium, vitamin E, and fiber. It’s true that they’re also high in fat, but it’s the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind. And half an avocado has just 153 calories. One novel way to work them into your diet is to use them as a fat substitute in baking. Many of us have been using applesauce or puréed prunes in place of butter and oil in brownie and cookie recipes for years. Researchers at Hunter College in New York City wanted to see if avocado could work in the same way without affecting the taste. They replaced half of the butter in an oatmeal cookie recipe with puréed avocado. Not only did this swap cut the total fat count by 35 percent (avocados have fewer fat grams per tablespoon than butter or oil), it also made the resulting treats softer, chewier, and less likely to crumble than cookies made according to the original recipe. If you’re still wary of using such a nontraditional ingredient in sweets, try adding it to savory baked items, such as quick breads and muffins.


You skimp on seasonings
Herbs and spices not only enhance the flavor of your cooking without adding fat or sodium, many of these fragrant ingredients also protect you from food poisoning. After testing 20 common seasonings against five strains of bacteria (including E. coli, staphylococcus, and salmonella), researchers at the University of Hong Kong found that the higher the antioxidant value of the spice, the greater its ability to inhibit bacterial activity. Cloves, cinnamon sticks, and oregano were the most effective at fighting off these food-borne pathogens. A separate study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, and bay leaves are also antioxidant-rich. Of course, you can’t ignore standard food safety practices, but adding half a teaspoon of herbs or spices to salads, vegetables, and meats can give you extra peace of mind and boost your intake of disease-fighting antioxidants.


You’re a serial peeler
Most of the antioxidants and polyphenols in produce are located very close to the surface of the skin or in the skin itself. A study published in the journal Nutrition Research found that most fruit peels exhibited two to 27 times more antioxidant activity than the pulp of the fruit. “Many of us remove the skins from eggplant, bell peppers, peaches, apples, and nectarines while preparing recipes, but we’re really just tossing away nutrients and fiber,” says nutritionist Forberg. She recommends gently scrubbing potatoes and carrots rather than removing their skin, and using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to pare away as thin a layer as possible from fruits and veggies that must be peeled.


You’re simmering away vitamins and minerals
Boiling may seem like a simple, no-fuss way to prepare vegetables without adding oil, but this cooking method can cause up to 90 percent of a food’s nutrients to leech out, says Karen Collins, R.D., a nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

“Minerals like potassium and water-soluble vitamins like B and C end up getting tossed out with the water,” she says. To keep these essentials from draining away during the cooking process, try steaming (use a minimal amount of water with a steamer basket), microwaving, or stir-frying. A study from the University of Essex in England showed that when certain vegetables were prepared using these techniques, most of the nutrients they contained were spared. And stir-frying scores even more points when you’re cooking dark green or orange vegetables. These are rich in beta-carotene, and the oil you use in stir-frying them can increase the amount of the anti-antioxidant you absorb by up to 63 percent, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. You don’t need to use a lot of oil; even just a tablespoon will do.


You don’t wash all your produce before eating it
Most of us remember to rinse plums and berries before noshing on them, but when was the last time you doused a banana, orange, cantaloupe, or mango with water? It may seem strange to wash peel-and-eat produce, but harmful bacteria lingering on the surface could be transferred to your hands or even to the inside of the fruit when you cut into it. To clean produce, simply run each piece under the tap and gently scrub. “Using your hands to rub fruits like oranges, bananas, and peaches under water is sufficient,” says Ruth Frechman, R.D., a dietitian in Burbank, California, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. When you’re done, dry the items with a clean cloth or paper towel. It’s important to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after you handle the items to further reduce the spread of bacteria. Frechman also suggests throwing out the outer leaves of greens like cabbage and lettuce before washing, as they’ve been handled the most and can have the highest levels of bacterial contamination.


You’re not pairing foods properly
Many of us think about getting enough iron only when we feel lethargic or fatigued. But we should pay attention to our iron intake every day, before symptoms occur. Our bodies absorb about 15 to 35 percent of heme iron (found in meats and seafood), but just 2 to 20 percent of non-heme iron (from beans, whole-grain cereal, tofu, and dark, leafy greens). We can maximize how much iron we take in by pairing the latter group with vitamin C–rich foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, strawberries, and melons. On the other hand, drinking tea or coffee at meals can inhibit how much iron we absorb by up to 60 percent, says Marla Reicks, R.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. That’s because these beverages contain compounds called polyphenols that bind to the iron. Wait until you’ve completely finished your meal before putting the kettle on to boil.

You can find the original article here.

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Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Sure, we all get draggy from time to time. A sleepless night here and there, a stressful day at the office, or one too many Krispy Kremes can take their toll. But when you’re constantly feeling drained, it might be time to look at what’s bringing you down. Check out these energy zappers and see how many apply to you.

1. Sugar

Sugar provides quick energy, but after picking you up, it drops you hard and leaves you looking for more, says Debi Silber, MS, RD, president of Lifestyle Fitness Inc. in New York.

One key to cutting back on sugar is having the right food with you so you don’t head to the nearest vending machine. “The best intentions go out the window when you’re not prepared,” says Florida nutritionist Pamela Smith, RD, author of The Energy Edge. Smith tries to make sure she always has healthy snacks on hand, and she advises making sure they contain at least 1 to 2 ounces of protein to keep your blood sugar stable for several hours, combined with a complex carbohydrate to give you a quick boost of energy. Here are a few of her favorites:

  • Whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese
  • Fresh fruit or a small box of raisins and low-fat cheese
  • Half a lean turkey or chicken sandwich
  • Plain, nonfat yogurt blended with fruit or all-fruit jam
  • Small pop-top can of water-packed tuna or chicken with whole grain crackers

2. Caffeine

Caffeine can also leave us “tired and wired,” Silber says. “If we need sleep and we choose caffeine instead, we continue to throw off our natural sleep cycle. If you find that too much caffeine — whether it comes in the form of coffee, tea, cola, or even chocolate — is keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep, switch to decaffeinated varieties of your favorite beverage (and cut back on the chocolate), says Joyce A. Walsleben, PhD, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the NYU School of Medicine and author of A Woman’s Guide to Sleep: Guaranteed Solutions for a Good Night’s Rest.

3. Exercise (Too Little or Too Much)

When it comes to fitness, there are two ways to zap energy, Silber says. The first is by not exercising. “Exercise energizes us physically, mentally, and emotionally,” she says. “Without it, we’re naturally more sluggish.” Exercise also enhances our mood by increasing the release of endorphins, a “feel good” chemical that increases energy levels. On the other hand, too much exercise also presents a problem. Overtraining depletes our energy reserves, breaks down muscle, and eventually makes us weaker, not stronger. Overdoing the workouts also suppresses the immune system, which in turn reduces our resistance to bacterial and viral invasion, Silber says. “We’re more vulnerable to illness, which further zaps our energy as a result,” she says.

4. Dehydration

“Most people don’t drink enough water,” says Scottsdale, Ariz., nutritionist Susan Ayersman of Kronos Optimal Health Center. “We need water to flush out toxins, keep our tissues hydrated, keep our energy up.” Water is the perfect no-calorie beverage, and you can dress it up by adding citrus slices or a sprig of mint. But when you want another alternative, try 100% fruit juices (while not necessarily low in calories, they contain important nutrients); nonfat milk, which will give you a calcium boost; unsweetened tea (try herbal or decaffeinated); seltzer water with a splash of juice or slice of fruit; homemade lemonade, with lemon, water, and a small amount of sugar or artificial sweetener; or coffee (again, choose decaffeinated if caffeine keeps you up) with skim milk and artificial sweetener; try it iced in hot weather.

5. Lack of Sleep

If you don’t get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis, chances are, one of these “sleep busters” is keeping you awake, says Joyce Walsleben:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Illness
  • Noise
  • Light
  • Overcommitted schedule
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Stimulant medications (such as diet pills, cold and allergy remedies, asthma medications)
  • Depression or anger
  • Fear

To get a better night’s sleep, you need to strengthen your natural sleep patterns, says Walsleben, who offers these suggestions:

  • Regularize your sleep-wake patterns. Get up at the same time every day. If you wake up at 7 a.m. during the week, skip the temptation to sleep in on weekend mornings. Avoid naps, unless you take one regularly. Try to sleep the same amount of time every night. Some people need nine hours of sleep every night; some do fine with less. Find out what works for you and stick to it.
  • Ritualize your cues for good sleep. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Keep the room quiet, dark, and cool. Get in bed only when you’re sleepy.
  • Start a worry notebook. Using a child’s school notebook, on the left side of the page, list the issues that have been running through your mind; on the right side, list actions you can take to resolve those issues.
  • Resist temptation. That includes alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, all of which can interfere with sleep.

6. Attitude

A bad attitude will zap your energy, says motivational speaker Sam Glenn, author of A Kick in the Attitude. Change your attitude and your energy level, feelings, responses, outlook, and perspectives on your situation change along with it, he says. “This one simple choice can transform your life,” Glenn says. “In changing the nature of the way we think and act, we build an attitude force so strong that it will attract favor, opportunities, people, and dreams into our existence.”

7. Clutter and Disorganization

Being disorganized or having clutter in your home can make you feel lethargic and lacking in energy and optimism, says Candita Clayton, founder of Your Life Organized in Rumford, R.I.

Looking for lost or misplaced stuff is a huge physical drain. And trying to remember where things are and all you have to get done on your to-do list is a big mental drain, says professional organizer Jamie Novak, author of 1,000 Best Quick and Easy Organizing Secrets. To cope with clutter, Novak says:

  • Give everything a storage place, and put it back when you are done.
  • Make a short daily to-do list; when it’s on paper, it’s out of your head.
  • Divide a big pile of “stuff” into smaller containers. A few small sorts are easier than one big one.
  • Take action. Choose one area to get under control; set a timer for 20 minutes and dive in.
  • See a project through. Do not put the mail down, for example; stand over the shredder and sort it right then.
  • Love it or lose it! Keep only the items around you that you find beautiful and uplifting. Sort through the clutter, letting go of items you no longer love. This frees up space for all the items you want to have around.

8. Not Enough Food

Cutting back on calories helps you lose weight, but not eating enough can leave you feeling drained, say Alex Lluch and Sarah Jang, authors of Simple Principles to Eat Smart & Lose Weight.

If you maintain a diet that severely restricts calories for long periods of time, your body will have the tendency to go into “starvation mode,” they say. Your metabolism will slow down and your energy level will be low. During times of severe calorie restriction the body tends to store calories as fat and burn muscle as a way to conserve energy. Figure out your recommended caloric intake based on your age, weight, level of activity, and the rate at which you want to lose weight.

Waiting too long between meals can also sap your energy, they add. Increase your metabolism by eating enough calories at regular intervals during the day. Try to have something small to eat every 2 to 3 hours. Avoid large gaps of time without food where your hunger completely takes over. If you skip meals, your body starts conserving energy because it lacks nutrients.

9. Stress

Conflict and stress can quickly deplete your energy resources, say Lluch and Helen Eckmann, EdD, authors of Simple Principles to Feel Better & Live Longer. To deal with stress, they advise, communicate, compromise, and problem-solve. Cope with anxiety and stress by meditating, taking a walk, or breathing deeply and slowly. Keep a journal or diary by your bedside and write down the top issues that are stressing you out that day, says Rose Forbes, co-author of 101 Great Waysto Improve Your Health. “By putting your thoughts on paper, you’re giving your brain the approval to let them go for the night.”

10. Lack of Self-Esteem

Spending all your time pleasing others and trying to fit in can be a big energy zapper, says confidence coach Kathleen Hassan, co-author of Square Peg in a Round Hole. “It takes so much energy to wear a mask to the world … so that others will like you,” she says. “It is exhausting and leaves you feeling utterly powerless.”

Hassan offers these tips for building self-confidence:

  • Get to know yourself. Who are you? What makes you unique and different from anyone else?
  • Don’t get caught in the comparison trap. Stop comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides. Instead, shift your focus and attention within and learn to become more congruent by having your insides match your outsides. Check in with yourself several times during the day and notice how you’re feeling.
  • Affirm your own self-worth. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Affirmations are statements made in the present tense as if they’ve already been achieved, such as: I am worthy and deserving. I make a difference.
  • Rid yourself of jealousy. Stop focusing on what you don’t have, and start appreciating the gifts in your life. Jealousy is one of the most negative energies and attracts more scarcity and lack. Gratitude, along with joy and love, is the most powerful energy.
  • Learn to love and accept yourself — just the way you are. Know that you’re worthy and deserving of only the best. We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves, and unconditional love has to begin with you.

11. Saying Yes

Spending time doing things you don’t really want to do can be another energy drainer, says Erick Plasker, author of The 100 Year Lifestyle: Dr. Plasker’s Breakthrough Solution for Living Your Best Life-Every Day of Your Life. Do you tend to do things that fuel you? Or do you find that most of your time is spent on activities that deplete you? “Your personal energy inventory is a reality check on where your energy is being distributed,” he says. “I don’t want you to perceive it as a list of problems, or a way to defend why things are the way they are. Instead, it is a way to raise your awareness about where all your energy is going and how to get it flowing back into your life.” Here are some of Plasker’s energy enhancers:

  • Quality time with kids
  • Reading good books
  • Prayer
  • Eating healthfully
  • Date night with spouse
  • Quality time with friends
  • Focusing on the positive
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Massages
  • Celebrating special occasions

This article was found on WebMD.  It can be found here.

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