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Published: Thursday, December 28, 2017 @ 12:01 PM
— Watch enough "as seen on TV" and social media ads, and it's easy to believe the only way to boost your energy is to rev up your credit cards.
But that doesn't mean that people without the budget for $300 juicers, supplements at $5 a pop or $10 designer energy drinks are doomed to low energy.
» MORE: Do you need 8 glasses of water per day? 6 myths and truths about drinking water
According to fitness and health experts, many proven energy boosters are inexpensive or even free. Here are seven suggestions from the cost-conscious pros.
Bring a banana: Instead of a smoothie stand beverage that tallies six or seven bucks by the time you've added whey and wheat grass and the such, Fitness magazine recommends stocking up on healthy snacks at the grocery store.
"Snacking keeps your metabolism revved up and is a great way to boost your energy," Tara Gidus, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, told Fitness.
One of her favorite choices: a fresh banana, which can cost as little as a quarter if you shop at a grocery store instead of the convenience store.
"It's got vitamins, minerals, and good carbs, which give you quick energy," says Gidus.
A serving size is considered one piece of fresh fruit or a cup of chopped fruit.
Snack on a healthy half sandwich: Another budget-friendly snack that will boost energy: half a sandwich made with 2 ounces of turkey, mustard and a slice of whole wheat bread. According to Gidus, this snack includes energy-boosting carbs and satiating protein that will keep your energy up a little longer. Keep the ingredients on hand at home or in the office fridge.
Walk your way to an energy boost. In the five or 10 minutes it would take you to fix a caffeinated beverage, you could be well on your way to recharging yourself with a walk.
Thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise will significantly improve both your mood and energy, clinical exercise physiologist Tom LaFontaine told Fitness. Walking for a half-hour will elevate your serotonin levels for an energy boost that will rev you up for several hours.
Make sure to bring walking shoes when you head for the office.
Tap your thymus. You could pound a can of energy drink, but it's cheaper and quicker to revitalize by tapping your thymus with your fingertips for 20 seconds while slowly and deeply breathing in and out. The thymus is at the center top of your chest, below your collarbone and between your breasts.
"When tapped, it triggers the production of T-cells, boosts energy, relieves stress, and increases strength and vitality," Marian Buck-Murray, a nutrition coach and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner told Shape.
Get up, stand up. If you're feeling fatigued when you aren't even sleep deprived, you may have been sitting way too long.
"Vessels have a natural tendency to constrict during periods of inactivity, zapping you of energy and making you feel tired," Moshe Lewis, chief of the department of physical medicine and rehab at the California Pacific Medical Center, told Shape.
Standing up and walking around even for just a few minutes will jump-start both your heart and muscles, Lewis said.
Just breathe – deeply. If you can learn to inhale and exhale completely, you can tap one of nature's best free energizers at any time. Laurel Clark, president of the School of Metaphysics in Windyville, Missouri, shared this breathing pick-me-up with Shape:
Sit with your spine straight and eyes closed.
Focus your attention on your breath, and slowly inhale to a count of six.
Hold your breath to a count of three and tense all of the muscles in your body.
Exhale for a count of six, completely releasing all of the breath, relaxing the muscles as you do so.
Hold the breath out to a count of three.
"After a while, you can cease tensing and relaxing the muscles and just focus on the slow rhythmic breath," Clark said.
Scent your bath with peppermint oil. While taking a bath is certainly soothing, if you add 5 or 10 drops of peppermint oil to your water, the aroma can lead to increased alertness, according to Health.
To get the full refreshing effect, inhale deeply.
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 9:00 AM
— You've probably heard winter health myths for years and you may have even accepted some of them as fact.
From being told to bundle up, so you don't catch a cold to your neighbor swearing he got the flu from his flu shot, these myths make the rounds every winter.
We separate fact from fiction with the following five winter health myths:
Cold weather can make you get sick.
Mom always warned you you'd get sick if you didn't bundle up before heading out in cold weather. Her advice wasn't exactly horrible, since you'll certainly be more comfortable and protected from frostbite. But cold by itself doesn't make you more likely to get sick, according to The Weather Channel. Most experts think we're more likely to get sick in colder months, but that's because we're all cooped up together, exchanging germs. Cold weather also dries out your nasal passages, reducing their ability to filter out infections. Despite evidence to the contrary, moms will probably keep warning their kids to bundle up. It's what they do.
You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head.
Of all your body parts, your head is more likely to be exposed in cold weather. But that doesn't mean the myth about losing 90 percent of your body heat through your head is true, according to Business Insider. Sure, wearing a hat in cold weather will help you stay warm, but that's just because you're covering an exposed body part, not because there's anything special about your head. You could cover up any other exposed body part and also feel warmer.
You don't need sunscreen in the winter.
If you think you only need sunscreen in hotter weather, you've probably packed your lotion away by the time winter comes around. But even when the weather's overcast in the winter, up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds, according to Reader's digest.
UVA rays are always present - even in winter - and they can damage the deeper layers of your skin, increasing your risk for skin cancer and causing premature aging of your skin. And if you're planning a ski trip, you should be even more careful. UV radiation increases with elevation, and snow reflects and intensifies sunlight. So whatever the season, wearing sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF is the safest way to go.
Feed a cold, starve a fever.
The origin of this myth may be rooted in antiquated beliefs about colds and fevers, according to CNN. It was once believed that your body literally became colder if you had a cold, so it needed to be "warmed up" with food. Fever was thought to need "cooling down" by not eating.
In reality, you need to eat whether you have a cold or a fever. Good, nutritious foods are important, but it's OK if your illness suppresses your appetite a little. Staying hydrated is most important, especially if you have a fever. You may need to replenish electrolytes, so sports drinks can be a good choice. Good ol' chicken soup will keep you hydrated while also helping to clear your nasal passages.
The flu shot can give you the flu.
This isn't true, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). Flu shots are made with either an inactive form of the virus or no flu virus at all. Neither type can give you the flu. You may have a sore arm after getting a flu shot and some people report having a low-grade fever and aches for a day or two, but it's not the flu.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:01 PM
— When you're trying to lose weight, you may not give much thought to what you drink, but those calories definitely add up! These "liquid calories" can sabotage your weight-loss efforts, and you may not feel as full as if you'd eaten the same number of calories. Many drinks also provide little to no nutrients and are often loaded with sugar, which can further hamper your weight loss.
These drinks – and their calories – may add up to more than you realize, even on a single day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offered a sample list of the drinks you may choose during a day in order to total the calories. They started with a morning coffee shop run with a 16-ounce café latte made with whole milk at 265 calories. A non-diet soda with lunch had 227 calories, and an afternoon sweetened lemon iced tea from the vending machine was 180 calories. A glass of non-diet ginger ale with dinner added 124 calories for a daily total of a whopping 796 calories!
The following four drinks are some that can sabotage your diet when you're trying to cut calories:
You may think that swapping out sugary sodas for fruit juices is good for your diet, but it may not be as good as you think. Fruit juices are concentrated sources of natural sugar, so they have more calories and don't fill you up as much as fresh, frozen or canned fruits do, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For example, a 20-ounce glass of 100 percent apple juice has 300 calories, and the same portion of 100 percent orange juice has 280, the CDC says.
A plain black cup of coffee isn't a calorie problem, according to the Mayo Clinic. It contains fewer than five calories and no fat, but most people need at least a few extras with their coffee, and these also add extra calories.
Although at-home add-ins like creamer and sugar raise the calorie count, a specialty coffee can make it soar. A grande (16-ounce) size of white chocolate mocha espresso at Starbucks has 360 calories. If you choose a venti (20 ounces), you'll be drinking 460 calories.
A few drinks after work with your friends or a couple of beers or glasses of wine with a meal can raise your calorie count.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously took a look at some of the calories contained in popular alcoholic beverages and found that five ounces of red wine has about 106 calories, and five ounces of white wine has 100 calories. A regular Budweiser beer comes in at 143 calories, and Bud Light isn't far behind at 110 calories. Cocktails like a four-ounce margarita up the calorie count even higher at 168 calories, and a 4.5-ounce Piña colada packs 245 calories. These counts could vary somewhat depending on the alcohol and sugar content of your specific drink.
Smoothies have a "health halo" that leads many people to believe they're harmless, Marisa Moore, a local dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told the AJC.
Serving size is important, she pointed out. For example, a 20-ounce Angel Food smoothie from Smoothie King containing 340 calories. If you order the 40-ounce mixture of strawberries, bananas, nonfat milk, vanilla and other natural flavors and turbinado sugar, you'll be getting a whopping 690 calories. You can save some calories by omitting the sugar, saving 90 calories on a 20-ounce Angel Food smoothie, but it's still fairly high in calories.
Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 5:43 AM
TULSA, Okla. — As Oklahoma voters prepare to make a decision on legalizing medical marijuana, one family is using cannabis oil to help a young girl with a rare medical condition.
KOKI has been following the story of Jaqie Angel Warrior for years now. Her mother, Brittany Warrior, said she needs cannabis oil to help with the seizures she has every day.
Jaqie Angel Warrior suffers from a rare and potentially deadly form of epilepsy. Traditional pharmaceuticals haven't worked well for her, the family says.
She started having seizures at 5 months old. At 20 months old, the family put her on cannabis oil at the advisement of her neurologist. Since then, she has been weaned off all pharmaceuticals.
Jaqie's mother, Brittany Warrior, said they were losing all hope before they tried cannabis oil.
"Prior to starting cannabis, Jaqie had anywhere from 150 to 300 seizures a day. She was catatonic and life was fading out of her before my eyes," she said.
The family has traveled back and forth, and even temporarily moved to states with legalized medical marijuana.
Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 11:28 AM
— What was known to previous generations as a "sweet tooth" is known to ours as a widespread health threat.
Too much dietary sugar causes or contributes to ailments and diseases from insomnia tonight to kidney failure down the road.
One study from University of California San Francisco found that drinking sugary drinks like soda can age a body as quickly as cigarettes.
"Our high-sugar diets are a big part of why more than one-third of American adults are clinically obese," Self magazine reported. "Obesity can lead to insulin resistance, which ramps up blood sugar levels, which leads to diabetes."
And if that wasn't enough bad news about the sweet stuff, experts say that the brain responds to sugar the same way it would to addictive drugs. Eating sugar creates a wave of dopamine and serotonin, the brain's "feel-good" chemicals, just as certain drugs do, including cocaine, according to Self. Just like an emerging drug habit, a body craves more sugar after the initial high.
"You then become addicted to that feeling, so every time you eat it you want to eat more," Gina Sam, director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital, explained to Self.
Mark Hyman, M.D. cited a study from David Ludwig, author of Ending the Food Fight, and his Harvard colleagues and concluded that "foods that spike blood sugar are biologically addictive" and they "trigger a special region in the brain called the nucleus accumbens that is known to be 'ground zero' for conventional addiction, such as gambling or drug abuse."
Think you might be hooked on sugar? Hyman has your answer.
He indicated five clues that a person has become biologically addicted to foods that spike blood sugar:
Other signs that you're eating too much sugar
Even if you're not eating sugar at rates that could be described as an addiction, don't be too quick to breathe a sigh of relief. You can be eating way too much of the sweet stuff without being entirely hooked. Sugar detox expert Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D. and other medical experts described these red flags that you're consuming too much sugar:
You eat more sugar and then crave more sugar. "It becomes a vicious and addictive cycle," Alpert noted in Self. Part of the cycle is that your taste buds have adapted and you need more sugar to get the same taste, the other component is that the sugar high is followed by a crash. "By eating a high sugar diet, you cause a hormonal response in your body that's like a wave, it brings you up and then you crash down and it triggers your body to want more sugar," Alpert said.
You feel sluggish during the day. "Energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, so when you're consuming too much sugar, the highs and lows of your blood sugar lead to highs and lows of energy," she added. Too much sugar doesn't leave room in your diet for protein and fiber, which are both important for sustained energy.
Your skin breaks out a lot. "Some people are sensitive to getting a spike in insulin from sugar intake, which can set off a hormonal cascade that can lead to a breakout like acne or rosacea," Rebecca Kazin, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology, told SELF. Binging on sugar may show up on your face within a few days.
You look old before your time. Eating too much sugar can cause long-term damage to skin proteins−collagen and elastin − leading to premature wrinkles and aging, nutritional therapist Natalie Lamb told Harper's Bazaar. Less desirable gut bacteria also feed on sugar, which might lead to inflammation of the sort seen in skin conditions like eczema.
You're losing sleep. People who eat sugary foods late at night might experience a rush of energy precisely when the body needs to be preparing for rest, resulting in insomnia. "If you're someone who has trouble sleeping, then it might help to reduce the sugar in your diet and be kinder to your gut," Lamb noted.
Your brain gets foggy, especially after a meal. When you eat a lot of sugar, blood sugar levels rise and fall too quickly. "Poor blood sugar control is a major risk for cognitive issues and impairment," Alpert said.
How low should you go?
If you're determined to reduce your sugar consumption, a reasonable amount might seem like a deprivation. (Why does sugar have to taste so good?)