5 Surprising Foods for Healthy Teeth

If you’re trying to score top marks at your next dental appointment, in addition to your brushing and flossing regimen, the food you put in your mouth plays a crucial role for overall oral health.


We know that there are many foods that sneak into the diet that can damage teeth. Sugar is the main culprit, especially added, refined sugar. Any food that increases your intake of refined sugar can feed harmful bacteria to cause tooth decay. Other harmful foods include acidic beverages like sodas and sports drinks.
However, if you’re really trying to stay on top of your dental health, you want to make sure that you’re eating the right types of foods that assist your body in balancing and managing the oral environment. Here are five to add to your diet:

Garlic

Not only for warding off vampires, garlic is known for its antibacterial properties. Rich in the compound allicin, garlic prevents the activity of a wide range of bacteria that can cause imbalance in the oral environment. Adding some chopped garlic to your stir-fries or even raw garlic to your salads is a great way to ensure your mouth bacteria stay in check. Watch out, though! Garlic is notorious for causing bad breath.

Cloves


Widely cultivated in the traditional Spice Islands like Indonesia, cloves have been known for their antimicrobial properties for centuries. Their remarkable properties can be attributed to the rich source of eugenol and oleic acid.A powerful spice with a sweet kick, cloves can be used in a range of cooking, such as curries and soups. However, cloves are also particularly useful as a sugar replacement for desserts like spice cakes and muffins.

Turmeric


For many years, this rich, yellow-colored plant has been used in India, where it has been consumed in spice form for thousands of years. Long believed to be a remedy for problems in the mouth, we now know turmeric to have its antimicrobial activity because of its primary active component curcumin. Turmeric is an excellent addition to curries and cooked meats. It’s also great in your morning smoothie – simply add a teaspoon.

Butter


While we were long told that butter is bad for our heart and arteries, we now know that it’s one of the most nutrient-rich foods that humans can eat. Packed with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 (if raised from grass-fed cows), it’s also rich in calcium and conjugated linoleic acid, which is a booster of the immune system. You can add butter to nearly any meal; however, it’s important to limit the amount of heating during cooking as the smoke point may cause it to burn.

Green Tea


Steeped with a rich history in Chinese medicine where it was known for its wide-ranging health benefits, today there’s not much that green tea can’t do. Rich in the antioxidant EGCG, green tea has powerful antibacterial properties.

Are You Washing Your Face Wrong?


Washing your face is one of those basic beauty routines that you do when half asleep — literally. Rub, rinse, pat dry, and that’s it, right? Well, according to skin-care pros, if you really want to maintain a clear, glowing complexion, there’s a bit more to washing your face than a half-awake rinse.


1. Don’t ignore your hairline.

“Sometimes women don’t work their cleanser close enough to their hairline as they should because they don’t want to mess up their blowouts. You could get acne there if you don’t clean that area,” says Francesa Fusco, MD, a dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City. Slip on a wide headband to protect your edges and then be sure to massage your cleanser all the way out to your hairline to thoroughly get rid of makeup and gunk.


2. Use the right water temperature.

If your skin feels uncomfortably tight or not quite clean enough after you wash it, don’t be so quick to blame your cleanser. The problem might be your rinsing game. “Stick with lukewarm water when you rinse. Hot water dries out your skin, and cold water doesn’t remove dirt and oil as well,” says Debra Luftman, MD, a dermatologist in Calabasas, California and a Simple Advisory Board Member.

3.  Slow Down

For the best results, work your cleanser all over your skin in a circular motion with your fingertips. Start from your nose (where makeup is usually the heaviest) and go outward toward your hairline. Want to turn the whole process into a de-stressing mini-massage? Use an oil cleanser — it feels luxe on the skin and not at all greasy.


4. Give Your Cleanser an Assist

Creamy formulas are great for dry and sensitive skin types, but to whisk away heavy makeup (think stick foundation or an elaborate strobing job), it’s a good idea to follow up with a cleansing water to zap every last trace. Start by saturating a cotton pad with the liquid, and wipe it over one-half of your face. Then flip the pad over to its clean side and do the other half.

5. Rinse the Right Way

For healthy skin, the way you take off your cleanser is just as important as how you apply it — see tip no. 3. “When you’re rinsing, rub your fingers over areas where lather tends to accumulate, like the sides of your nose, your eyebrows, and near the hairline. Then once you think you’ve rinsed enough, splash three more times [for a thorough clean],” says Dr. Fusco.


6. Master the Art of Face Wipes

To avoid redistributing the very makeup you’re trying to get rid of, grab a cleansing cloth and take Dr. Luftman’s advice: “Start with one side of the face, wipe it from top to bottom, skipping the nose. Then turn the towelette over and repeat on the other side. Do your nose last — [but make sure you do a pinching motion as you go down the length of your nose] to avoid spreading bacteria onto your skin.”

How Should Busy People Pick The Optimal Time To Work Out?

The Pros of a Morning Workout

When you wake up, all of your muscles are relaxed and you’re likely to feel lethargic – exercise is the perfect remedy for this. Furthermore, a morning workout wakes you entire body up, including your metabolism. This means you’re more likely to lose weight when exercising in the morning as opposed to the evening. Moreover, if you don’t eat a big breakfast (especially not carbs) you will burn even more fat, according to PubMed studies.

A different study by Appalachian State University found that exercising at 7 a.m. lowers your blood pressure and improves sleep quality.

The Bad Points of Working Out In The Morning

You need to have the motivation to get up early each and every day. It’s too easy to hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off! It’s worth keeping in mind that you will probably have to get up earlier than normal if you want to exercise properly. You should also note that mornings can sometimes be hectic, especially if you have to go into work earlier than normal, which means you might be tempted to avoid exercising from time to time.


Evening Workouts Have Some Advantages

If you’ve had a stressful day at work, exercising is the ideal way to take your mind off things. On top of this, your body has had a chance to wake up and all of your muscles will be ready for the most strenuous of workouts. A study conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians found that your lungs are at peak performance in the late afternoon, making exercising much easier.

One final point about working out in the evening: it can also help you get to sleep! We said earlier that morning workouts are best for getting a good night’s sleep, but if you exercise at least two hours before bedtime, you should find that sleep comes just as easily since you’re burning off excess energy and calories. However, exercising too close to bedtime will likely have the opposite effect so try not to leave it too late!

The Cons of Evening Workouts

Sometimes when you’ve had an exhausting day at work, any kind of exercise is the last thing on your mind. We’ve all had days like this. It’s unavoidable, unfortunately. You might also have some unexpected family commitments to attend to after work, means that going to the gym isn’t possible. This general lack of control over what might happen each evening makes it more likely that people will skip workouts, and once people miss too many they might stop exercising completely.

Okay, so what’s the best time to exercise?

If you want to lose weight and maintain a strict schedule, morning workout is probably your best option. If, however, you want to exercise when your body is most alert and optimized for performance, evening workout might be preferred. Of course, it’s important to note that everyone is different – some people are naturally morning people, while others are night owls – so, your optimal time might be suited to a particular time of the day regardless of what scientific evidence says.

How Much Water Should You Drink In A Day

Everyone’s heard the old refrain — drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Turns out that’s not entirely accurate. The Mayo Clinic recommends about 13 cups a day for an average male and about nine cups a day for the average female. But the actual amount of water a person should drink in a day can vary based on where you live, how much you weigh, and what kind of lifestyle you lead.

Water makes up 60 percent of our body’s weight and is absolutely imperative for our organs to function. Since we are constantly losing water through sweat, urine and even our breath, drinking enough water is crucial. If you become dehydrated, you will lose energy and become nauseated, headache-y, and tired. Severe dehydration can even send you to the hospital so drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial to maintaining your health on a daily basis.


If you exercise, you are losing more water than the average person. Therefore, it’s important to drink water before, during and after your workout — an extra 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups should be sufficient for a short workout. If you’re doing prolonged exercise, like running in a marathon, you have to drink much more than that.

In the summertime or if you live in a warm climate, you’ll also need to drink more water than the recommended amount. That’s because heat can make you sweat more and lose fluids faster.


You’ll also need to drink more water than is usually recommended if you’re sick with a fever, vomiting or diarrhea. If all you’ve got is a pesky cold, drinking water can also help keep your nasal passages hydrated and prevent you from getting sicker.

Another instance where you need to drink more water? If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. The Mayo Clinc recommended that a pregnant woman drink at least 10 cups of water a day and a nursing woman to drink 13 cups of water a day. That’s because nursing drains your body and can leave you dehydrated if you’re not drinking enough. Not to mention that adequate hydration while breastfeeding can ensure an ample milk supply.


How do you know if you’re drinking enough? You can count the cups you drink or you can just peek in the toilet after you pee — you should be peeing a clear or light yellow liquid. If your urine is dark yellow or cloudy, you definitely are not drinking enough.

This is a lot of water to drink for physical health, but drinking water can have an influence on your emotional health as well. A 2014 study published in PLOS ONE found that, if you’re not drinking enough water, drinking more water will better your mood and increase general positive emotions. If you’re already drinking a good bit of water during the way, keep it up! The same study found that folks who drank a high amount of water over the course of the day experienced a decrease in their happiness levels if they decreased their water intake.


If water isn’t your thing, you can also safely substitute juice, milk or coffee for a cup or two a day. Since I was never a major water drinker, I like to combine 1/3 cup juice with 2/3 cup water. 

The Four Types of Sleep Schedules


A new study suggests that some people are neither “owls” nor “larks”. Erwin Schrödinger, the Nobel-prize-winning Austrian physicist, was able to make major contributions to the fields of quantum mechanics, general relativity, and color theory during his lifetime. There was only one caveat: He was not able to make those contributions … in the morning.


“He couldn’t work in the mornings at all,” his wife, AnneMarie, said in an interview. “The [Max] Planck lectures—as you know, it was 30 or 40 years ago that Planck was in Berlin—were given in the morning from nine to ten. When he got this very, very honorable call from Berlin, he wrote first thing and said, ‘I’m very sorry, but I can’t keep the lecture hours because I can’t work in the morning.’ … They understood, and changed it to the afternoon—two lectures, one after the other—on two days.”


Scientists would later classify people like Schrödinger as “owls”—people who prefer to wake up late and are more alert in the evenings. It’s one of two basic chronotypes, or preferred sleep schedules. The other is “larks,” or crazy people those who prefer early mornings.

But now, scientists in Russia are proposing that there are actually four chronotypes: In addition to early and late risers, they say, there are also people who feel energetic in both the mornings and evenings, as well as people who feel lethargic all day.


For a study forthcoming in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, biologist Arcady Putilov and his colleagues at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences asked 130 people to stay awake for 24 hours. The subjects filled out questionnaires about how awake they felt, their sleep patterns, and how well they had functioned during the previous week.

The results showed that among them were 29 larks, who showed higher energy levels at 9 a.m. than at 9 p.m., and 44 owls, for whom the opposite was true. The owls also went to bed about two hours later, on average, than the larks. But the rest of the group fell into neither of these patterns.


There was a “high energetic” group of 25 people who reported feeling relatively sprightly in both the morning and evening; and a “lethargic” group of 32 others, who described feeling relatively dozy in both the morning and evening.

Both the lethargic and energetic participants went to bed and woke up somewhere between the owl and lark times. The energetic people slept about a half-hour less overall than the other three groups, netting about 7.5 hours of sleep each night.

So next time, rather than complain to your co-workers that you’re “always tired,” just let them know that you’re part of a newly discovered chronotype that is, in essence, all out of awakes to give.

Running Changes Our Brains and Affects Our Thinking

Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance – you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet by Doris Brown . Are you familiar with this feeling? Do you gain insight into your emotional and physical self while you run? Do you enjoy the feeling of the wind against your face and the freedom of being outdoors alone with your thoughts? You may feel that after a good run your mind is clear and ready to absorb information. You can also find that your outlook is more positive after a run and that things that were troubling you no longer feel so bad. Well, your feelings have a scientific basis. Research conducted in the field of neuroscience shows the effects aerobic exercise have on cognitive clarity and emotional well-being.

New Neurons Would Be Created

It used to be accepted that we were born with a certain amount of neurons and that by the time we became an adult no new neurons would be created. This however, has been proven to be incorrect. Through research on animals it has been discovered that new neurons are continually produced in the brain throughout our entire life. Karen Postal, president of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology says that the only activity that is shown to trigger the birth of these new neurons is vigorous aerobic exercise. “If you are exercising and you sweat – about 30 to 40 minutes – new brain cells are being born,” says Postal. So sweating it out on the treadmill or out in the open is doing your brain a lot of good and helping it stay mentally healthy for years to come.

People Who Run Can Recover From Negative Emotions More Quickly


In a study by Emily Bernstein and Richard McNally it was found that aerobic exercise may help reduce negative emotions. Bernstein is a runner and she said, “I notice in myself that I just feel better when I’m active”. She wanted to find out why this was the case and to know exactly the effect that exercise has on us. The study set out to look at the way exercise changes the way people react to their emotions. Participants were told to stretch or jog for 30 minutes and were then were shown a sad movie; the final scene of the 1979 film The Champ. The participants then reported their emotional responses. It was found that those who had run for 30 minutes recovered more quickly from their sad emotional experience than those who had just stretched.

Working Memory Would Be Enhanced


A recent study by Lin Li et al titled: “Acute Aerobic Exercise Increases Cortical Activity during Working Memory: A Functional MRI Study in Female College Students” looks at the effect of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive function. Their study looked at the effect of a session of acute aerobic exercise on working memory. Fifteen young females participated in the study. There were scanned, after an acute exercise session, using a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) while they performed a working memory task. It was found that the cortex and the left frontal hemisphere showed signs of improvement of control processes. From these findings the researchers noted that this indicates: “acute exercise could benefit working memory at a macro-neural level.” Thus, the study shows a connection between aerobic exercise and improvement in memory.

Summation



Next time you are out for a run know that you are doing yourself a world of good. Not only are you aiding your brain on a neurological level you are also working to improve your emotional health. Your cognitive abilities such as memory will be improved and your outlook on life will probably be more positive. If you don’t already run, then you may want to take out those old running shoes and give them a try.

7 Tips For Finding the Best Sleep Position For Your Health

If you have back or neck pain, don’t sleep in the fetal position.


The fetal position (scrunching your knees up to your chest and pulling your arms into a tiny ball) may feel safe, but it’s not the best position for your body. Tucking your chin and curling your body up into itself can strain your neck and head. According to Rothstein, sleeping in the fetal position can also compromise your circulation and restrict healthy, diaphragmatic breathing. To avoid overstretching your back and neck, try to straighten your legs and arms so you’re lying flat on your back instead.

If acid reflux keeps you awake, sleep on your back.


To get a more restful night when you suffer from acid reflux, sleep on your back with your head elevated. Dr. Eric Olson, the co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine, told Health that acid or food is less likely to come back up if your stomach is positioned below your esophagus. Besides helping to minimize acid reflux, sleeping on your back also puts less strain on your back and neck than other positions.

Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach.


When you lie on your stomach with your head turned to one side, you could be straining your neck, spine, and lower back. If you’re only able to doze off while positioned belly-down, consider using a thin pillow to minimize the angle that your neck is placed, and put a pillow under your pelvis to encourage your spine to stay in neutral alignment.

If you snore, sleeping on your side may help.


Because the position of your tongue can obstruct your airway, making it harder to breathe, sleeping on your back usually increases snoring. Rothstein warns, “If you snore regularly, it is critical to seek diagnosis for possible sleep apnea, a serious condition which when undiagnosed can lead to multiple health issues.” If your physician diagnoses you with sleep apnea, ask him or her what the best sleeping position is for you.

If you snore but don’t have sleep apnea, try sleeping on your side to keep your airway open. “And consider placing a pillow between your knees to alleviate pressure on your lower back,” says Rothstein.

Sleeping on your back is best for preventing wrinkles.


If you’re worried about premature facial wrinkles, try to sleep on your back rather than on your stomach or side. When you sleep on your back, your pillow doesn’t rub against your face all night. “Sleep wrinkles are the lines that are formed when the face is compressed against a pillow night after night,” Dr. Goesel Anson, a plastic surgeon, told Harper’s Bazaar. “[They] will eventually become permanent from constant compression and decreased skin elasticity with age.”

Pregnant women should sleep on their left side.


There are pros and cons to sleeping on your left side versus your right side. If you’re on your left side all night, you can put strain on your liver and lungs, but being on your right side can make heartburn worse. Most experts agree that a pregnant woman should sleep on her left side rather than her stomach or back in order to take pressure off her uterus, stomach, and breasts, and to optimize blood flow.

Avoid the starfish position if you wake up with shoulder pain.


Although sleeping on your back with your arms above your head can feel good on your back, you could be hurting yourself by putting too much pressure on the nerves in your shoulders.

7 Ways To Train Your Brain To Be Happy

Three Walks


Pennsylvania State researchers reported in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology that the more physically active people are, the greater their general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. Researcher Amanda Hyde reports, “We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual.” It doesn’t take much: Half an hour of brisk walking three times a week improves happiness. The American Psychosomatic Society published a study showing how Michael Babyak and a team of doctors found that three thirty-minute brisk walks or jogs even improve recovery from clinical depression. Yes, clinical depression. Results were stronger than those from studies using medication or studies using exercise and medication combined.

The 20-Minute Replay


Writing for twenty minutes about a positive experience dramatically improves happiness. Why? Because you actually relive the experience as you’re writing it and then relive it every time you read it. Your brain sends you back. In a University of Texas study called “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Words”, researchers Richard Slatcher and James Pennebaker had one member of a couple write about their relationship for twenty minutes three times a day. Compared to the test group, the couple was more likely to engage in intimate dialogue afterward, and the relationship was more likely to last.

Random Acts of Kindness


Carrying out five random acts of kindness a week dramatically improves your happiness. We don’t naturally think about paying for someone’s coffee, mowing our neighbor’s lawn, or writing a thank-you note to our apartment building security guard at Christmas. But Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, did a study asking Stanford students to perform five random acts of kindness over a week. Not surprisingly, they reported much higher happiness levels than the test group. Why? They felt good about themselves! People appreciated them. In his book Flourish, Professor Martin Seligman says that “we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.”

A Complete Unplug


“The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal,” say Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement. And a Kansas State University study found that complete downtime after work helps us recharge for the next day.

Hit Flow


Get into a groove. Be in the zone. Find your flow. However you characterize it, when you’re completely absorbed with what you’re doing, it means you’re being challenged and demonstrating skill at the same time. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this moment as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

2-Minute Meditations


A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at brain scans of people before and after they participated in a course on mindfulness meditation and published the results in Psychiatry Research. What happened? After the course, parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew while parts associated with stress shrank. Studies report that meditation can “permanently rewire” your brain to raise levels of happiness.

Five Gratitudes


If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy. Find a book or a journal, or start a website, and write down three to five things you’re grateful for from the past week. I wrote five a week on 1000awesomethings.com. Some people write in a notebook by their bedside. Back in 2003, researchers Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough asked groups of students to write down five gratitudes, five hassles, or five events that happened over the past week for ten straight weeks. Guess what happened? The students who wrote five gratitudes were happier and physically healthier. Charles Dickens puts this well: “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

A Dietitian Dishes On Yogurt


Nonfat or full-fat?


With so many conflicting headlines about fat these days, it’s no wonder people are stumped when buying dairy products. It seems logical that forgoing the fat would be a better choice for keeping weight in check.

But this view has been challenged recently with a few well-publicized studies that surprisingly link the fat in dairy with a lower risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Researchers surmise that full-fat dairy might offer some as-yet-unknown health benefit. It also might help with weight management because the fat in it makes it more satisfying, helping keep your appetite in check.


It’s important to recognize that although these new studies are compelling, they are not conclusive, and more research needs to be done to fully understand dairy fat’s health impact. Until there’s more clarity, I suggest basing your yogurt-buying decisions on two things we do know. First, because unsaturated fats from foods such as nuts and olive oil offer well-documented protective health benefits compared with saturated fat, as well as satiating power, opt for nonfat or reduced-fat yogurt and add healthy fats by topping it with nuts or swirling in some nut butter. For a savory yogurt dish, add chopped vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil. Second, because calorie for calorie, refined sugar appears to be worse for your health than saturated fat, if faced with a choice between a sugary nonfat yogurt and an unsweetened full-fat option, go for the latter.


Greek or Regular?

About a decade ago, Greek yogurt was a treat you could find only at a specialty store. I can provide directions for making your own by straining the regular stuff. You just put regular yogurt in a fine-mesh strainer that has been lined with a paper towel or cheesecloth, place it in the refrigerator over a bowl and let it sit. After several hours, you remove the thickened yogurt from the strainer and discard the liquid whey that has accumulated in the bowl.

Now, Greek yogurt dominates the store shelves with dozens of flavors and just about every brand in the game. It has become popular in part because of its luxuriously thick, creamy texture and because it taps into today’s nutritional zeitgeist with more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt.

It has these qualities because with the straining process, the yogurt’s protein is concentrated and some of its naturally occurring sugar is drained off with the whey. But on the downside, a lot of nutrients are drained off with the whey, too — more than a third of the yogurt’s calcium, potassium, and zinc. Besides, thickened yogurt’s lower sugar content is not the win you might hope it to be since the sugars inherent in foods such as dairy are not at issue; rather, the problem is the sugar added to foods to make them taste sweet. The bottom line is that thickened yogurts and regular yogurts offer different culinary and nutritional benefits. Mix it up and enjoy both.


What about sugar?

It’s worth repeating that there’s no need to worry about the sugars that are inherent in dairy products. They’re naturally “packaged” with so many important nutrients that it would be misguided to avoid them. It’s the sweeteners added to these foods that are best kept to a minimum. Sure, if a yogurt is packaged with cookie crumbles or candy, it’s a pretty good clue that it should be considered a dessert rather than an everyday, nourishing staple. But sometimes the delineation is not so clear. Many seemingly healthy fruit-flavored yogurts have little actual fruit and nearly as much added sugar as the cookie-packed kind. Your best bet is to get plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with plenty of fresh, ripe fruit and perhaps a little drizzle of honey.

Spicy food changes your brain and health


Do you love to eat spicy stuff? What if you could feel great whenever you indulged in a curry or other hot dish, knowing that it was actually giving you a health boost? Well, guess what? Research has shown that spicy foods can change our brains and boost our overall health with a high concentration of flavour.

Spicy Food Strengthens Connections Between Brain Cells

Red peppers contain a compound known as apigenin, which has been shown to strengthen connections between brain cells. Other research has shown that apigenin, a flavonoid, may also be a powerful agent in preserving key brain functions such as memory and learning. This, in turn, may provide protection against disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and some mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

Spicy Food Actually Makes You Live Longer

A massive study of half a million Chinese people, conducted by researchers at Harvard, suggests that spicy food may help you live longer. Specifically, people who eat chilli peppers a few times a week lower their risk of death by 14% in any given period compared with those who stick to blander foods. Why? It’s thought that capsaicin, a compound found in peppers, has a beneficial effect on metabolism and directly reduces your risk of developing a range of ailments, including cancer.