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Most Adolescents Don’t Get Enough Sleep

8 Feb

For teens, getting enough sleep each night can make a huge difference to both their physical health and academic performance. In general, teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Unfortunately, only 15% manage to sleep 8.5 hours on a school night. Insufficient sleep can not only result in difficulty concentrating and solving problems but it can also hinder their ability to retain the information they’ve learned in class. Teens who don’t get enough sleep are also more prone to aggressive or inappropriate behavior, which can place a strain on their social lives. Lack of sleep can also lead to acne, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, and a greater likelihood of smoking or drinking alcohol.

So, how can a teen get back on track? First, make sleep a priority and get to bed and wake up at a consistent time each day, even on weekends. Exercise each day, as studies have shown regular exercise is associated with better sleeping habits. Avoid consuming foods and drinks containing caffeine late in the day, as they can make falling asleep more difficult. Also, don’t smoke or drink alcohol (which should go without saying). Refrain from watching TV or using electronic devices before bed, as the light from screens can interfere with the body’s ability to fall asleep.

Best of all, these tips can also be used by “grown-ups” to improve their sleep too.

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Some of the Ways the B Vitamins Benefit Your Body…

11 Jan

Though you may commonly see foods or drinks touting they contain one or more of the various B vitamins, you may wonder what they do for you. While they play a number of roles in keeping you healthy, here are some of their more important jobs:

  • Thiamine (B1) plays an important role in both the creation of new cells. Like all the other B vitamins, it also helps in the process of turning the food you eat into energy.
  • Riboflavin (B2) helps to transport oxygen throughout the body and also assists in removing free radicals that may damage cells.
  • Niacin (B3) supports over 200 chemical reactions in the body and is believed to improve cholesterol levels.
  • Pantothenic Acid (B5) is critical for the production of the sex and stress-related hormones in the adrenal glands.
  • Pyridoxine (B6) helps produce mood and sleep regulating hormones like serotonin, melatonin, and norepinephrine.
  • Biotin (B7) is called the beauty hormone as it is associated with the production of healthy hair, skin, and nails.
  • Folate (B9) helps reduce the risk of birth defects in developing fetuses and may also help adults lower their risk for depression and memory loss.
  • Cobalamin’s (B12) most important job may be its role in the production, repair, and maintenance of red blood cells.

 

Three Ways to Boost Your Memory

8 Dec

Did you know that parts of your brain actually shrink as you grow older? It’s true. But it’s not as bad as it seems. There are ways you can slow down this process and possibly even improve your brain power as you age. It is commonly known that puzzles and crossword puzzles help retain memory power, but here are three other things you can do that you may like better.

The first thing you can do is go for a walk. Research shows that going for a 40-minute walk three times a week helps to increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for memory formation.

Laugh! Studies show that laughing for approximately 20 minutes will boost your short-term memory. Spend more time with the people who make you happy doing the things you love. That’s what life is really about, anyway.

Listen to music! But wait, not just any music. Researchers found that listening to classical music increased the brain wave activity linked to memory retention and enhances your ability to concentrate and perform cognitive tasks.

When in doubt, stay active and remain positive. There is little doubt that stress harms your body and brain in countless ways, and there is some truth to the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” There are many things in life we cannot control. Stop worrying about them and concentrate on the things you can control. Being happy—in most cases—is a choice.

Six Tips to Improve Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being!

9 Nov

Healthy living involves more than physical health, it also includes emotional or mental health.  The following are some ways people can support their mental health and well-being:

  • Get enough sleep daily: 12-18 hours from birth to 2 months; 14-15 hours from 3-11 months of age; 12-18 hours for 1-3 years of age; 11-13 hours for 3-5 years of age; 10-11 hours for 5-10 years of age; 8-1/2 -9-1/2 hours for 10-17 years of age; and those 18 and above need 7-9 hours of sleep.  Elderly people need about 7-9 hours but do not sleep as deeply and may awaken at night or wake early, so naps may be needed to accumulate the total of 7-9 hours needed.
  • Take a walk and reflect on what you see and hear at least several times each week.  Try something new and often (eat a new food or try a different route to work).
  • Exercise your mind by reading or solving a puzzle.  Try to focus intensely on the activity for one to several hours, then take a break and do something relaxing (walk, exercise, or take short nap).
  • Try to make some leisure time to do some things that interest you every week.
  • Have fun. Go on a trip with someone you love, go shopping, or go fishing. Do not let vacation time slip away.
  • Have a network of friends. Those with strong social support systems lead healthier lives.

These Five Types of Food Are Good for Your Eyes!

15 Oct

Two of the most important and delicate organs in the body are the eyes. Because a lot of the natural degenerative processes in relation to the eyes are irreversible, it’s better to take steps now to prevent eye-related problems from happening in the first place. And one of the best places to start is by eating more of these kinds of foods…

  • Fish –Cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These can help protect against dry eyes, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
  • Leafy greens – Spinach, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and other leafy greens are packed with zeaxanthin and lutein that can help stem the development of macular degeneration.  For best results and preservation of nutrients, try eating these greens raw (like in a salad, for example).
  • Whole grains – The vitamin E, zinc, and niacin found in whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, whole oats, and whole wheat bread promote overall eye health.
  • Citrus Fruits and Berries – Fresh fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and berries are great sources of vitamin C, which can reduce the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Apricots and Blueberries – The eye requires vitamin A to repair damaged tissues and cells. Apricots and blueberries are rich in the lycopene and beta-carotene that the body uses to create vitamin A.

Natural Weapon Against Urinary Tract Infections

14 Sep

If you suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI), especially a drug-resistant UTI, this information may be very helpful. Doctors and researchers have known for quite some time that bacteria evolve and become resistant or “immune” to treatments such as antibiotics. One of the most commonly known and dangerous is Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), which is an infection caused by a strain of staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used to treat ordinary staph infections. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is one of the most common extra intestinal bacterial infections and the second most common infectious disease encountered in community practice. UTI alone poses a serious health problem affecting about 150 million people each year around the world. Antibiotics have revolutionized medicine in many respects and their discovery was a turning point in medicinal history. Regrettably, the misuse of these wonder drugs has been accompanied by the rapid appearance of resistant strains.

Because of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, there is an urgent need to explore alternative non-antibiotic treatments to help effectively manage these infections. Garlic (Allium sativum) has been traditionally used for the treatment of different diseases since ancient times. Researchers from the University of East London took aqueous extracts of allicin, a compound found in garlic, and formulated a simple cream. When the cream was applied to vast swathes of the so-called “superbug” MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus), it eliminated them. In a study conducted at the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in India, researchers found that “even crude extracts of [garlic] showed good activity against multidrug resistant strains where antibiotic therapy had limited or no effect.” This provides hope for developing alternative treatments which may be of help in fighting the menace of growing antibacterial resistance around the world.