Most of us are more prone to sickness in the winter. It’s cold and wet and we don’t always exercise as much as we should or eat as well as we might. Here are some tips for staying healthy this winter.
The health benefits of coconut oil have been researched for many years, and numerous studies have revealed that the aromatic oil can indeed improve a person’s well-being as well as prevent health complications in the future. In fact, recent studies have shown that coconut oil may have another beneficial use- oral health and hygiene. Dr. Nadia Kiderman, DDS, an expert based in New York City, wrote an article discussing the positive effects of coconut oil on a person’s smile.
“According to a study from the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, coconut oil’s antibacterial properties could spell good news for your smile and help you avoid cavities,” Dr. Kiderman explains.
“A team of researchers is presenting the research at the Society for General Microbiology’s Autumn Conference this year. They looked at what effect coconut oil had on the mouth when it came into contact with certain enzymes used in the digestive process. The results showed that the coconut oil reduced the growth of several strains of the Streptococcus bacteria, including a strain involved in tooth decay.”
Though further research is required, lauric acid, a substance in coconut oil, becomes a monoglyceride called monolaurin when digested. Both lauric acid and monolaurin are known to have strong microbial properties, and can destroy harmful pathogens including bacteria, fungi and certain types of viruses.
Coconut oil is often used in skin care products, and is added to many health drinks and supplements. Perhaps with additional research, it will soon be added to oral hygiene products as well.
During a woman’s younger years, she may find it easier to eat a little less, exercise a little more, and maintain a steady dress size while occasionally snacking on her favorite chocolate or ice cream. Then, suddenly, she’ll hit forty and realize that her body just can’t balance itself out the same way, and that her schedule is really too busy to start working on a new, all-inclusive health regimen.
The fact of the matter is, as a person ages their body’s metabolism becomes increasingly slower. A woman’s metabolic rate falls 5% every decade starting at the young age of 20. Of course, proper nutrition and exercise throughout those years can slow the process, but the nature of things is eventually inevitable.
As you reach your forties and become more concerned with both your looks and your general health (cholesterol, heart disease…) here are a few simple tips to get started. Remember, the process will most likely take a while, and results will be slower than they were when you were 25. Don’t give up easily, and don’t get discouraged- the better your body feels, the better your mind will feel.
- Beware of Stress Fat: a lot of the weight gained at this age shows up around the waist. This is often a result of the stress hormone cortisol, which urges the body to store energy in case of an emergency. High levels of cortisol (and with it, fat) can lead to heart disease, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. It is important to deal with stress and anxiety in order to begin losing this weight.
- Watch the Time: Over-eating during the evening, as the whirlwind of the day winds down and time becomes available, is a number one cause of slow metabolism and weight gain. These hours are often mindless or stressful, leading to large, often instant meals and additional cups of coffee.
- Plan Your Meals: Instead of snacking on little tidbits throughout the day with plans to eat a large meal at night, make sure to set up three or four smaller, healthy meals to eat each day. Pack a lunch if you know you won’t have time to prepare one later, and make sure to get a real breakfast in within an hour of waking up. These meals will allow you to monitor your eating throughout the day, avoid unhealthy snacks, and eliminate the large late-night meals.
- Exercise, Exercise, Exercise: Of course, physical activity is key in maintaining a healthy, fit body. Though you’ve heard it countless times- skip the elevator and use the stairs. Do jumping jacks or jump rope when you get a private moment, or maybe sign up at the gym. Go swimming, walk the dog, run on the treadmill, ride a bike… All of these activities will not only burn calories, but also improve your general health, as well as significantly reduce stress and improve your mood.
Holiday season is now advancing in full throttle. You have outfits picked out for every occasion, new shoes, and have even managed to maintain that diet (for the most part). Why, then, do your clothes only seem to sit well on some days, while on others you feel and look so bloated?
Don’t panic. A bloated stomach is almost never related to weight gain, and it is often easily remedied. First, cut back on salty foods before your event. This does not only mean avoid adding salt to your dish; sodium is a primary ingredient in most processed foods. Salt is the number one cause of bloating in an otherwise healthy body, because it triggers water retention throughout the system. When your body retains water, it will inevitably look and feel bloated. To avoid such retention, cut back on salt intake. Other ‘diuretic’ substances also dehydrate your body, encouraging it to retain water. These include alcohol, fizzy drinks, caffeine and even fruit juice.
The best way to avoid the bloated feeling is to avoid too much of any of these substances. Try eating fruits, vegetables and lean proteins instead, at least for the day or two before your big event. Make sure to avoid sprouts and vegetables like broccoli though, as those also contribute to bloating. Milk products are also a common irritant in the human digestive system, and can linger in the stomach for hours.
The winter season is certainly taxing on our health. The sunless days, the cold-hot temperatures, the moodiness…. These are things we all deal with throughout the colder months. It may seem hopeless, but there are a few simple ways to keep your energy up, and your body healthy despite the uncomfortable outdoors. First, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, even when you’d rather just sit back with a cup of instant soup or something else that quick and easy. Instead, spend time in the morning, when your energy levels are highest, and put up a soup that will be ready to enjoy in the early evening. That way, you can relax during the day knowing you have something hot and healthy to eat later. You can find a bunch of easy winter soup recipes online.
Second, keep your body alert and moving. Although the couch and that great book are very tempting, try to limit your lazy time to the later hours of the day, or, if you can, to after-dinner hours. If you’re home from work during the day, try to go for a walk if the weather allows it. If not, maybe pick up a new hobby like sculpting, cooking, knitting- whatever keeps you entertained. Also, do some easy exercises while you wait for your bath to fill in the evenings. Jumping rope is a great way to keep your body and heart in great shape.
Third, get your sleep. The sun sets early during the winter, and all of nature takes it easy. So should you. Take advantage of the short days and catch up on all the sleep you’ve missed out on during the busy summer. Don’t sleep too late, though, as this can just make your more tired and less focused during the following day.