Category: Motivational Issues

Get up and jump start the healthy lifestyle

Get up and jump start the healthy lifestyle

Today, let’s learn to do the impossible. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to lead a healthy lifestyle while in college. You can even get a head start on this process by creating this healthy lifestyle now, before you move.

Firstly you have to reach your full potential! By taking care of your body, you will feel better and be more apt to get other things done. Here are a few pointers to jump-start the healthy living college lifestyle.

Drink water.

This seems basic and elementary. Clearly, everybody knows that water is essential to the body. What I’m saying is to switch out one of those Dr. Pepper’s (AKA sweet nectar from Heaven) for a bottle of water every now and then. The sugary drinks that we all enjoy will inevitably result in sugar crashes, making it harder to focus on your assignments. Also, dehydration can cause a number of problems that will get in the way of your academics. Keep your body cleansed, hydrated and refreshed with something as simple as drinking those 64 oz. per day.

2. Scope out your options and choose wisely.

Most campus cafeterias have a large variety of food for each meal, and they also offer ways to access the nutritional information of the food they are serving. Be mindful of the choices you make every day. I’m not saying don’t ever indulge in that delicious piece of chocolate cake, but living a healthy lifestyle is literally at your fingertips. Don’t take it for granted! Instead of heading straight for the pizza bar every day, check out your school’s salad bar or produce section. You will be surprised at how much better you can feel by eating well!

3. Realize that 30 minute workouts are possible.

This is an easy step that is often skipped because of the classic “lack of time” excuse. Give up one episode of KUWTK to hit the gym, and you will be amazed at what 30 minutes of exercise can do. A half hour of activity can be effective in more ways that most realize.

Not only will you gain more energy, but you will also be refreshing your mind. A study break filled with productive physical activity can recharge your mind and help you regain focus when it’s time to get back to work. You don’t have time to make it to the gym? Not a problem! There are tons of workouts available online that you can do at home.

Start living the healthy lifestyle now and you won’t regret it. Carrying these healthy habits into your college life will help you feel better and perform better. Get up and get going! You’ve got this!

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How to lose weight but not much money

How to lose weight but not much money

One woman went from 330 pounds to 147 in two years after discovering a free service on the Web.

Amber Schalansky had struggled with her weight since she was 10 years old. “Over the years, I tried every program you can think of,” says the 33-year-old from Sacramento, CA. “It usually involved paying for food or a plan, but nothing worked long-term.”

Amber was discouraged by the money she’d spent on programs until her mother told her about a website called Spark People where, for free, she found a supportive community plus food and exercise tracking tools. “Stress is a big trigger for me, so if I wanted to dive into a bag of chips, I went online to SparkPeople and someone talked me out of it,” says Amber, who went from 330 pounds to 147 in two years. “My life’s completely changed.”

Anyone who’s tried to lose weight can tell you it’s no piece of cake, which is why so many dieters turn to structured programs. But effective plans don’t have to be pricey. Try one of these low- to no-cost approaches to losing weight, all of which provide the tools, resources and support you need.

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40 little things to feel happy In daily life

40 little things to feel happy In daily life

What makes you happy? Apparently it really is the little things in life that make us happy, according to research by DoubleTree involving 2,000 adults.

It may surprise you to learn humans are generally optimistic, with over half of the adults saying they have a “glass half full” attitude to life, and 56% describing themselves as particularly happy.

Over a quarter said a few little things will cheer them up, and the research determined that little surprises provide us with the greatest amount of happiness, with 82% saying the best things in life are unexpected.

Dr. Glenn Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University said: “An effective route to happiness is not necessarily through experiencing major events that we might have planned out such as getting married, moving house, getting that all-important promotion, or even being on a holiday.”

“Rather it is the small, and often unexpected, pleasures in life that can make us smile each and every day to help us build happier and more meaningful lives for ourselves and for others.”

40 little things to feel happy In daily life

40 Daily Life Happiness Sources

Check out 40 little things in daily life that bring us true happiness.

  1. Finding money in your pocket that you didn’t know you had.

  2. Being asked by someone who cares how you are doing.

  3. Climbing into bed when you have fresh sheets.

  4. Taking an extra-long bath or shower when you have some free time.

  5. Smiling at a child you see in public.

  6. Receiving a 10 minute massage from your partner or friend.

  7. Cuddling someone before you have to get up and start your day.

  8. Waking up and realizing it is a sunny, beautiful day.

  9. Having a long phone conversation with someone you care about and haven’t spoken to in a while.

  10. Watching the rain fall when you have nowhere to be, and you can curl up on the sofa.

  11. Watching children playing and laughing together, reminding you of the joy in the world.

  12. Spending some time with your pets – or animals in general!

  13. A stranger giving you a genuine smile.

  14. Having a nice, long stretch when you first wake up to get your body moving.

  15. Laughing out loud at a funny memory.

  16. A gesture of kindness from someone in your life – as simple as your child helping you cook dinner.

  17. A smell you love, from baked bread to a freshly mowed lawn.

  18. A meaningful, long hug from somebody you care about.

  19. Putting on clothes after they have been warmed on the radiator.

  20. Taking a few moments alone when things get hectic.

  21. Watching the sunset or the sunrise.

  22. The smell outside after the rain has stopped.

  23. Listening to your favorite artist or album.

  24. Receiving an email or a letter from a friend.

  25. The chance to be creative, from painting an old set of drawers to doodling a picture.

  26. Holding hands with someone you love.

  27. Eating your breakfast in bed.

  28. Playing a game you used to love when you were younger.

  29. Eating healthy, tasty food that makes you feel good about yourself.

  30. An extra half an hour to snooze in bed.

  31. Having some time to yourself to read a book you love.

  32. Buying your favorite drink or snack and savoring it.

  33. Receiving flowers from someone who cares about you.

  34. Eating your lunch outside in the sun.

  35. Trying out a new recipe and creating something delicious.

  36. A gesture of support from your friends or family.

  37. Listening to a song you used to love and haven’t heard in years.

  38. Taking the time to help someone with their problems.

  39. Spending time in your home when it is tidy and clean.

  40. Achieving a small victory, like fixing the washing machine or replacing a light bulb.

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Use your mind to be a happier person

Use your mind to be a happier person

These mental tweaks help cheery types live longer, stay healthier, and even look younger.

Fret Less

To banish worries, put stressors on paper. Writing them down and stashing the note in a “worry jar” (or a drawer) makes it easier to compartmentalize and move on, says Andrea Bonior, Ph.D., a psychologist in Washington, D.C. Limiting anxiety is healthy. A surfeit of the stress hormone cortisol may lead to chronic pain, depression, cognitive issues and even heart problems, potentially shortening your life. Not to mention that constant worry is no fun.

Keep Your Sunny Side Up

Optimists live longer, plain and simple. In a 15-year study of more than 100,000 women, cheery types were 14 percent less likely to die in an eight-year period than gloomy gals were, the National Institutes of Health Women’s Health Initiative finds. To change your thinking, visualize a happy moment: “Imagining yourself in a hammock on the beach can have an immediate, relaxing effect on the body that makes it more difficult to stay focused on the negative,” Bonior says.

If All Else Fails, Take a Nap

When life starts getting you down, catch 40 winks. If you’re stressed out, a 45-minute daytime snooze may lower your blood pressure, a study from Allegheny College reports. Siestas also help you catch up on much-needed sleep. That’s crucial, because chronic sleep deprivation can cause aging at the cellular level. So give yourself permission to nap like a kid. We predict you’ll start feeling like one, too.

Your Relaxation Rx

Which mind / body treatments have the most rock-solid science backing them up? Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, provides the big picture.

For: Back pain Try: Yoga
For: High cholesterol Try: Qigong
For: Depression Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga
For: Eating disorders Try: Meditation, yoga
For: Fertility Try: Visualization, yoga
For: Heart health Try: Deep breathing, qigong, yoga
For: Immunity Try: Breathing, chants, meditation, qigong
For: Insomnia Try: Acupuncture, visualization, yoga
For: Joint pain Try: Music therapy, qigong, yoga
For: Migraines Try: Acupuncture, yoga

The Science

The latest cutting-edge research proves your mind can heal your body. Here’s how:

Your body dials down stress. Dr. Benson’s research has found that mind/body practices—meditation, yoga, tai chi, deep breathing, visualization—all elicit the relaxation response, quelling the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your heart slows, blood pressure falls and digestion eases.

The relaxation response causes cells to release micropuffs of nitric oxide, a gas that dilates blood vessels and stabilizes the immune system, Dr. Benson reported in Medical Science Monitor. Mind/body methods worked as well as drugs designed to do the same thing, without the side effects.

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The anytime, anywhere workout

The anytime, anywhere workout

Seventeen Magazine beauty editor, Annmarie lverson, reveals her own very personal fitness routine-one that you can do when and where you like.

1. Warm Up

Okay, I admit it. I do work out almost everyday. And no, I’m not crazy. I’m just really interested in feeling distressed and looking streamlined in my clothes. But I also have to admit I wasn’t always a jock.

In high school (in Wisconsin, where I’m from) I never had the nerve to try out for volleyball or cheerleading. College at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee was the same story-no intramural sports, no rahrah activities. But in freshman-required PE, I discovered that being in shape didn’t depend on making the team, scoring big points, or showing up for practices.

Instead, the instructor showed me how to become my own personal trainer and create my own routine. How easy is it? You just do an aerobic activity to get your heart going and calisthenics to tone and shape your entire body. You can do it alone, or with a friend. So here’s the workout that works for me… where I want, when I want.

You have to ease your body into a workout. All it takes is TEN MINUTES of nonstop brisk walking, easy jogging, or cycling. Your PORTABLEGYM should include a Jump rope, resistance bands, weights (one to three pounds) and sport shoes.

2. Stretch

Go directly from the warm-up to stretches while your muscles are still warm and you have a maximum range of motion.

1 Sit on ground with legs spread to sides. “Walk” hands out from body as far as is comfortable. (If you exercise with a friend, you can ease each other into a stretch by putting your feet together and clasping hands.)

2 While still sitting, place soles of feet together. Grasp ankles with hands, and use elbows to push knees toward ground. Don’t bounce-just press up and down gently.

3 While standing, wrap a band (or a towel) across up per back, and pull while TWISTING torso from left to right until movement feels easy.

4 Slide band up, behind shoulders, and pull shoulders from side to side.

3. Aerobic

This is the key calorie-burning, fattrimming part of the workout. The trick is to get your heart rate up to an aerobic level for about twenty minutes. Do this with one activity (like running, cycling, or swimming) or do a COMBINATION of two or more activities.

1 Jump back and forth over a friend or a small table. Jumping in the air exerts an amazing amount of ENERGY and sends the heart rate up-just be sure to keep up the pace.

2 When you jump rope, keep feet together and shoulders relaxed. Jump just high enough to clear the rope.

Related Link: Beauty, Health, Fitness & Family

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Hit the Road, Girls

Hit the Road, Girls

Sportsmen who include running in their fitness program may wonder what longterm effect the pounding will have on their weight-bearing joints. Isn’t there a danger that the wear and tear on the joints could ultimately result in cartilage damage, arthritis and other problems?

Actually, the latest research indicates just the opposite: Runners develop healthier, denser bones than nonrunners and appear to have a lower incidence of wear-and-tear arthritis and osteoarthritis in the knees and hips.

The Stanford Arthritis Center in Stanford, California, conducted a study recently comparing 41 veteran runners and 41 nonrunners. The people in both groups ranged in age from 50-72. The purpose of the study was to determine whether long-term running produces a healthy heart but a worn-out skeletal system.

Hit the Road, Girls

Researchers found that the runners displayed no sign of cartilage loss in the joints and actually had slightly more joint space than nonrunners. Which is desirable, since decreased joint space is perhaps the most notable feature of osteoarthritis. Also, both male and female runners had 40% greater bone density than nonrunners. Which is desirable again, since loss of bone density is a sign of bone weakening.

At least two other studies have produced similar results, proving that our knees and hips not only stand up to the stress of running but seem to almost thrive on it!

Source: Muscle & Fitness Magazine

Related Link: Beauty, Health, Fitness & Family

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Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, and avoid stressful jobs are ingredients for a healthy heart.

Eat dark chocolate, watch funny movies, avoid stressful jobs, and pedal hard when biking are all ingredients in the recipe for a healthy heart, according to experts meeting in Paris this week.

Whether one is afflicted by a heart attack, high blood pressure or constricted arteries depends in large measure on a host of lifestyle choices. But the ideal formula for avoiding heart problems remains elusive: it is hard to tease apart the factors that impact cardiovascular health, and the right mix of things to do — or not do — can vary from person to person. Even commonsense measures such as exercise or a balanced diet must be fine-tuned.

It is not, for example, how long one rides a bike but the intensity of one’s effort that matters most, according to research presented Monday at a five-day gathering, ending Wednesday, of the European Society of Cardiology.

The study, led by Danish cardiologist Peter Schnohr, showed that men who regularly cycled at a fast clip survive 5.3 years longer than men who pedalled at a much slower pace. Exerting “average intensity” was enough to earn an extra 2.9 years.

Work less and eat chocolate for a healthy heart

For women, the gap was less striking but still significant: 2.9 and 2.2 years longer, respectively, compared to slowpokes. “A greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individual’s own perception of intensity,” Schnohr said in a statement.

The old adage “laughter is the best medicine” was proven true by another study which found that a good dose of humour helps blood vessels.

Michael Miller, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, had already shown in earlier research spanning a decade that men and women with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to see typical life events in a humorous light.

In the new study, he asked volunteers to first watch a stressful movie such as Steven Spielberg 1998 World War II film “Saving Private Ryan.” During harrowing battle scenes, their blood vessel lining developed a potentially unhealthy response called vasoconstriction, reducing blood flow.

But when the same subjects later saw a funny, heart-warming movie the blood vessel linings expanded. Over all, there was “a 30-to-50 percent difference in blood vessel diameter between laughter and mental stress phases,” Miller said.

Acutely stressful working conditions, both physical and mental, have long been associated with poor health. But new research unveiled Monday shows that a mix of intense pressure to produce results coupled with conditions making it hard to meet those demands is a recipe for heart disease, and even early mortality.

Finnish researchers led by Tea Lallukka of the University of Helsinki, in a review of recent academic literature, concluded that “job strain and overtime are associated with unhealthy behaviours, weight gain and obesity,” according to a press release.

At the same time, they noted, “employed people are generally better off.” Perhaps the most painless path to better cardiovascular health is one that comes all-too-naturally to many people: eating chocolate.

Earlier research had established a link between cocoa-based confections and lowered blood pressure or improvement in blood flow, often attributed to antioxidants, but the scale of the impact remained obscure.

Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge reviewed half-a-dozen studies covering 100,000 patients, with and without heart disease, comparing the group that consumed the most and the least chocolate in each.

They found that the highest level of chocolate intake was associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease, and a 20 percent drop in strokes, when compared with the chocolate-averse cohort.

No significant reduction was reported in the incidence of heart attack. The findings, alas, come with an important caveat: the healthful molecules are found in the bitter cacao, not in the sugar and fat with which they are routinely combined.

“Commercially available chocolate is very calorific and eating too much of it could in itself lead to weight gain, risk of diabetes and heart disease.”

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Is Greek yogurt really healthier?

Is Greek yogurt really healthier?

There are two reasons nutritionists love the trendy breakfast food even more than regular yogurt.

Move over, regular yogurt. Going Greek is in, and this exotic option has elbowed its way onto refrigerator shelves everywhere. Most give a big thumbs up to its taste—tangier and less sweet, as well as creamier—but is it healthier than its conventional counterpart?

First, to be clear: Both Greek and regular yogurt, in their plain, nonfat or low-fat forms, can be part of a healthful diet. They’re low in calories and packed with calcium and live bacterial cultures. But our Mediterranean friend—which is strained extensively to remove much of the liquid whey, lactose, and sugar, giving it its thick consistency—does have an undeniable edge. In roughly the same amount of calories, it can pack up to double the protein, while cutting sugar content by half.

Those are “two things dietitians love,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and author of The Flexitarian Diet. “For someone who wants the creamier texture, a little bit of a protein edge, and a sugar decrease, going Greek is definitely not all hype.” And it’s really got a following: In the past five years, Greek yogurt sales nationwide have skyrocketed, likely because it satisfies consumers’ needs for health, convenience, and taste, according to Nielsen, a global marketing and advertising research company.

Here’s a closer look at how the two stack up nutrition-wise.

Protein

Greek yogurt is high in protein, which helps promote fullness. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15 to 20 grams, the amount in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. That makes it particularly appealing to vegetarians, who sometimes struggle to get enough of the nutrient. An identical serving of regular yogurt, on the other hand, provides just 9 grams, meaning you may feel hunger pangs sooner.

Carbohydrates

Going Greek is a smart choice for low-carb dieters. It contains roughly half the carbs as the regular kind—5 to 8 grams per serving compared with 13 to 17. Plus, the straining process removes some of the milk sugar, lactose, making Greek yogurt less likely to upset the lactose-intolerant. Remember, however, that “both types of yogurt can contain high amounts of carbs if they’re sweetened with sugar or another sweetening agent,” says Kari Hartel, a Missouri-based registered dietitian. “No matter which type you choose, opt for yogurt with less added sugar.”

Fat

Be wary of Greek yogurt’s fat content. In just 7 ounces, Fage’s full-fat Greek yogurt packs 16 grams of saturated fat—or 80 percent of your total daily allowance if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet. (That’s more than in three Snickers bars.) Dannon’s regular full-fat yogurt has 5 grams of saturated fat in an 8-ounce serving. Saturated fat raises total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease. Read nutrition labels carefully. If you’re going Greek, stick to low-fat and fat-free versions.

Sodium

A serving of Greek yogurt averages 50 milligrams of sodium—about half the amount in most brands of the regular kind. (Low-sodium versions of regular yogurt are available.) Too much salt can boost blood pressure and increase the risk of other heart problems. The federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines urge Americans to cap sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, or 1,500 milligrams if they’re older than 50, African-American, or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

Calcium

Regular yogurt provides 30 percent of the federal government’s recommended daily amount. Greek yogurt loses some of its calcium through the straining process, but still packs a wallop. A 6-ounce cup typically supplies about 20 percent of the daily recommendation. If you’re still worried about calcium intake, load up on milk, seeds, and almonds, says Sarah Krieger, a registered dietician and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.Still undecided on which team to join? Compare the labels of Dannon’s regular and Greek varieties. (Other popular brands of Greek yogurt include Chobani, and Stonyfield Farm’s Oikos.)

Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Calories: 80
Total fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol: 10 milligrams
Sodium: 50 milligrams
Sugar: 6 grams
Protein: 15 grams
Calcium: 15 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet

Regular (6 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Calories: 80
Total fat: 0 grams
Cholesterol 5 milligrams
Sodium: 120 milligrams
Sugar: 12 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Calcium: 30 percent on a 2,000-calorie diet.Greek (5.3 ounces, nonfat, plain)

Though most experts agree that Greek yogurt has a nutritional edge, both kinds help you lose weight by keeping you full on fewer calories. The key is sticking to plain, nonfat, or low-fat varieties. In a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard researchers found that yogurt can keep help keep age-related weight gain in check. People tended to lose nearly 1 pound every four years if they added a daily serving of yogurt to their diet, probably because of the way bacterial cultures affect our intestines.

If you do opt for Greek yogurt, take advantage of its versatility. Mix it with seasonings like garlic, dill, and parsley to create a unique dip for carrots, celery sticks, or cucumber slices. Toss in some berries or high-fiber granola. You can also substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream on tacos, for example, or for the eggs and oil in baked goods. It’s an acceptable replacement for fatty ingredients like cream cheese, mayonnaise, and butter. “Its thick texture makes it an excellent swap for mayonnaise on sandwiches, or in dishes like potato salad, egg salad, pasta salad, and coleslaw,” Hartel says. “Since these are comfort foods, it makes it easier to transition to using yogurt in recipes.”

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Top ways to wake up feeling prettier

Top ways to wake up feeling prettier

Moisturizing and sleeping on a satin pillowcase will help you feel pampered when you wake up.

Before you go to bed at night try one of these simple, at-home beauty tips. You’ll wake up feeling pampered, refreshed and rejuvenated and, yes, even prettier.

Beauty Tip: Braid wet hair for nice waves. It’s an old school bedtime beauty tip for a reason. It works!

Beauty Tip: Try an overnight treatment. Use Frownies Facial Patches to reduce movement during sleep so you’re less likely to crease skin, says dermatologist Francesca Fusco, M.D.

Beauty Tip: Moisturize. Everywhere. Moisturize your elbows…your knees…your toes. Everywhere.

Beauty Tip: Protect your blowout. Flip hair upside-down, pull into a high pony and secure with a terry hair tie.

Beauty Tip: Swipe on nourishing essential oils. “When you wake up, you’ll look like you’ve had a facial,” says Chanel makeup artist Rachel Goodwin.

Beauty Tip: Wear primer over skin care products. Yes, at night! “It allows them to sink in,” says makeup artist Mally Roncal.

Beauty Tip: Change your pillowcase. Sleep on a satin pillowcase for smoother hair.

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Are you a caffeine addict?

Are you a caffeine addict?

You may love caffeine’s feel-good effects, but overdosing can harm your health. Here’s how to tell if you’re overdoing it

You know you’re a caffeine addict when your eyes won’t open before you’ve taken your first sip of morning Joe, or if your co-workers call you “Crabby” when you skip your afternoon Diet Coke. While the best part of waking up may indeed be Folgers in your cup, being over-caffeinated may also be harmful. “Studies have found that some caffeine can improve mental acuity and performance throughout the day, but too much caffeine can negatively impact your mood, energy, and even health,” says Erin Palinski, RD, CDE, CPT, who has a private practice in New Jersey.

Enjoying a latte probably won’t hurt you, and may even have surprising health benefits such as lowering your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Just keep in mind that—as with most delicious things in life—it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

“Some research has linked high doses of coffee to infertility and increased risk of hip fractures in older women,” says Keri M. Gans, MS, RD, CDN and author of The Small Change Diet. “If you stop drinking coffee abruptly, you may experience irritability, fatigue, headaches, and even depression.”

So how much caffeine is too much? The American Dietetic Association recommends having no more than 300 mg a day, or the amount in about two or three 8-ounce cups of coffee. Even if you’re not a java lover, you may be getting caffeine from sneaky sources unknowingly: Sports drinks, supplements, and even certain medications contain caffeine. Sneaky sources of caffeine include:

• 2 tablets Excedrin for headaches; 130 mg
• Vital Energy water; 150 mg
• 16-ounce Snapple ice tea; 42 mg
• 1 cup Ben & Jerry’s No Fat Fudge Frozen Yogurt; 85 mg
• 1 cup Dannon Coffee Yogurt; 45 mg
• Barq’s Root Beer; 22 mg
• Hershey’s chocolate bar, 12 mg
For perspective, one 8-ounce cup of coffee can have anywhere from 125 to 150 mg.

While caffeine’s effects may be different for different people, here are some common warning signs that you may have overdosed.

1. You hit an afternoon slump.

If you can’t get through the day without a Diet Coke fix, you may be hooked on the caffeine. “There is about as much caffeine in one can of Diet Coke as there is in a shot of espresso,” says David J. Clayton, MD, author of The Healthy Guide to Unhealthy Living. Having a few cans a day could leave you feeling high, and then low when you come down from the caffeine buzz.” Besides triggering major dips in energy, the acidity in soda can damage tooth enamel if sipped daily. Limit your Diet Cokes to one a day to avoid hitting a wall in the afternoon, and brush your teeth if possible after drinking soda to help reduce its enamel-eroding effects.

2. You’re peeing orange.

Urine that is dark yellow or orange is a telltale sign of dehydration. “Coffee is actually a diuretic that can lead to dehydration by increasing the amount you urinate so you lose too much body fluids,” says Amy Gross, MPH, RD, CDN and a clinical dietician at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Caffeine usually doesn’t trigger dehydration until after you’ve had about 500 mg, so you should be safe if you stick to a cup or two of coffee a day.

3. You can’t sleep.

“Caffeine takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get absorbed and has a very long half-life, meaning it lingers in the body for several hours and can affect your sleep cycle,” says Molly Morgan, R.D., owner of Creative Nutrition Solutions in Vestal, New York, and author of The Skinny Rules. If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to doze off at night, you might try cutting out caffeine once the clock strikes 12 p.m. to see if it helps you get more restful sleep. That applies to all caffeine-containing substances: Sipping green or Chai tea may be a sleep stealer, too, because both beverages contain caffeine. Also keep in mind that decaf coffee and decaf tea are not caffeine-free: both have about one-third the amount of caffeine as the regular kind.

4. You feel anxious.

Sweaty palms, a racing heart, restlessness, and feeling jittery are all clues that you’ve overdosed on caffeine. “Caffeine can exacerbate stress and depression because it interferes with a tranquilizing neurotransmitter chemical in the brain called adenosine,” says Palinski. Caffeine can also act as a stimulant that triggers the adrenal gland to excrete more stress hormones like adrenaline, which can increase heart rate, making you feel more anxious.

5. You have heartburn.

Acid reflux happens when the muscle at the end of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, allows food and stomach acid to come back up, causing a burning feeling under your chest. If this happens to you, caffeine could be a culprit. “Caffeine relaxes esophageal sphincter, which allows acid to come up in the throat,” says Gross. Try cutting out caffeine altogether to see if it soothes your throat.

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