Category: Weight Loss

3 Tips for Succesful Aging

One of the most frequently asked questions that my clients ask me, as a functional, integrative nutritionist is: “How can I stop aging?”

Well, the bad news is I don’t think we have discovered how to stop aging completely. BUT, The good news is I can tell you how to dramatically slow down aging. Yep. Here goes…

1) Add in as many nutrient dense vegetables as you can to all of your meals. Try and add one vegetable from each color. Each color represents different nutrients. Guess what? We need them all! Shoot for 7-9 servings per day.

2) Hydrate. As women, our estrogen declines as we age. This can cause dry skin. Your skin on your face is the first thing others see. Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces can combat this. Plus water helps us detox and keeps things moving.

3) Make my Hearty Successful Aging Soup. See recipe below.

 

 

 

Hearty Successful Aging Soup

RECIPE – Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 large leeks, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 2 huge leaves swiss chard, deribbed and chopped
  • 8 leaves kale, deribbed and chopped
  • 1/4 head cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 med-large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 quarts homemade bone broth or 4 quarts low sodium chicken broth

Instructions:

  • In a large soup pot*, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and stir until nearly translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Be careful to not burn!
  • Add remaining veggies. Sauté for about one minute.  You are not cooking them. This will flavor the soup. Add the thyme, salt and pepper while sautéing.
  • Next place the veggies in a large slow cooker.  Add the diced tomatoes and broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 6 hours. If your slow cooker isn’t large enough, simmer the mixture in the soup pot on the stovetop for at least 1 hour.
  • Before serving, gently mash a few of the sweet potato chunks to thicken the soup.
  • Serve and enjoy.

 
If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free “How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Guide”

Look and Feel Younger: How to Naturally Slow Down Aging

Why do some 40 year olds look 60? And conversely, why do some 60 year olds look 40? Whether you like it or not, aging is the natural process we all go through. But what if I told you how to turn back the clock? I am going to share with you how to naturally slow aging by improving your lifestyle, following an healthy diet, and taking targeted supplements.

Lifestyle Recommendations

• Exercise: This is a big one! Activity keeps you young by lubricating your joints, supporting detoxification, improving lean muscle mass, and improving your cardiovascular health.

• Sleep:  A restful night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to prevent aging.  Aim to get between 7- 9 hours of sleep  in a completely dark, cool room. (Grab my Free “How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Guide” CLICK HERE )

Foods that Cause Faster Aging

• Refined Sugar: The number one food that speeds aging. It causes glycation which damages cells and causes wrinkles.

Artificial sugar and other artificial ingredients: These contain a large number of chemicals which can speed up the aging process.

• Trans fats and hydrogenated oils:  These processed fats promote inflammation which leads to premature aging, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

• Alcohol: Although an occasional glass of red wine is said to be beneficial for health because it has an anti-oxidant known as resveratrol, the overall consumption of alcohol is a bad idea. It’s pro-inflammatory and speeds up the aging process.

• Grains: All grains are pro-inflammatory unless they are sprouted. Grains cause glycation, which speeds up the aging process.

Supplements to Slow Aging Effects

• Omega-3 fats:  The omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish oil are powerful anti-inflammatories and may reduce age-related cellular damage. (1000 mg daily)

• Green Powder: Contains foods high in antioxidant compounds like chlorella, spirulina, grass juices, wild berries, and herbs that are known to slow aging. (1 serving per day)

• Resveratrol: Found in the skin of red grapes resveratrol has been shown to reduce cellular damage and slow aging. (250-500 mg daily)

• Adaptogen Herbs:  Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Ginseng. These herbs lower cortisol levels and reduce the damaging effects stress can have on the body. (500-1000 mg daily)

• Co-enzyme Q10: Acts as a powerful antioxidant by supporting heart function and is also required for the energy production of cells critical for preventing premature aging. (150 mg 2x daily)

Essential Oils to Slow Aging Effects

Frankincense, lavender, myrrh and sandalwood can be used as potent anti-aging remedies. They’re high in antioxidants and contain compounds that naturally balance hormones and reduce cellular damage. Try adding 2 drops of frankincense to your drinking water, once per day to slow the aging process.

If you would like to find out what changes you can make in your life to slow down aging I can help. CLICK HERE to schedule a free 15 minute Get Acquainted Session or jump right in and make an appointment so I can start helping you feel better right away, CLICK HERE to book a consultation.

If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

4 Clues that You Have a Thyroid Problem and 5 Natural Fixes that Work

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You’ve been to the doctor and he says you’re fine but you don’t feel good. You’ve told him you’re tired all the time, you’re having trouble losing weight, you’re constipated and you can’t remember even the simplest things. The doc said “it’s all in your head”. He showed you the blood tests and pointed to the numbers and said “look they are all in range, you’re OK”.

Approximately 25 million Americans have a thyroid problem, and most of them don’t know it. Most thyroid imbalances are caused by an under-active thyroid gland called Hypothyroidism,

The thyroid is the master gland of metabolism. How well your thyroid is functioning is directly related to every system in your body. If your thyroid is not running optimally, then neither are you.

Most conventional doctors use only one test (TSH) to screen for problems but there are other important tests that are needed to tell the whole story. Another huge problem is they only use the ‘normal’ lab reference range as their guide rather than listening to their patients symptoms.

If you suspect that you might have a thyroid problem these are the tests I suggest you ask for:

  • TSH
  • Free T4
  • Free T3
  • Reverse T3
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)

5 things you can do to improve your thyroid function:

  1. Make sure you are getting Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Vitamin D and B vitamins in your diet.
  2. Get your adrenal glands tested. They work hand in conjunction with your thyroid. Reducing stress with activities such as yoga, Pilates or even just taking a walk in nature will all help support your adrenals.
  3. Address any digestion issues you might have. A properly functioning gut is crucial to good health.
  4. Try a gluten-free diet and I don’t mean buy gluten-free junk food at the grocery store. Choose foods that don’t have gluten in them to begin with.
  5. Switch to glass. BPA (Bisphenol A) and other endocrine disrupting chemicals are found in plastics (think plastic water bottles) which can negatively affect your thyroid gland.

If you suspect you have a thyroid problem or need help with an existing thyroid condition I can help. I’ve personally had thyroid problems so I know how hard it is to get effective care.  CLICK HERE to schedule a free 15 minute Get Acquainted Session to find out how I can help you. Or jump right in and make an appointment so we can start helping you feel better right away, CLICK HERE to book a consultation.

If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

Purify the Air in Your Home with this Scientific Solution

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Pollution not only increases risk of respiratory illnesses, heart disease, learning disabilities, and even cancer, but can also accelerates aging. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “studies of human exposure to air pollutants by EPA indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times—and occasionally more than 100 times—higher than outdoor pollutant levels.”

They add that indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health.

We can reduce indoor pollution by vacuuming and dusting frequently, opening a window as much as we can, and investing in a quality air filter. But there’s another way to make indoor breathing easier while adding a nice atmosphere to our indoor spaces. Buy more houseplants! Any greenery helps, but there are certain plants that clean the air better than the rest.

For maximum efficiency, use 15 to 18 plants in a house that’s 1800 to 2000 square feet.

Think one plant for every 100 square feet.

You don’t have to buy that many at first. Invest in a few, and then propagate additional ones off the original. (my favorite way to get new plants!)

Plants that will Help Clean the Air in Your Home

  • Spider Plant: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.
  • Golden Pothos: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.
  • Snake Plant (Mother-in-Law’s Tongue): benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene and toluene.
  • Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm: formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
  • Chinese Evergreen: benzene, formaldehyde.
  • Peace Lily: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.
  • English Ivy: mold and mildew, formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and toluene.
  • Gerbera Daisies: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene.
  • Red-Edged Dracaena (Dracaena Marginata): benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
  • Warneck Dracaena: benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, and toluene.
  • Weeping Fig: formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.
  • Chrysanthemum: formaldehyde, benzene, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.
  • Boston fern: formaldehyde, xylene and toluene.
  • Philodendron: formaldehyde.

 

Sources:
“Benefits Stemming from Space Exploration,” NASA, September 2013,http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Benefits-Stemming-from-Space-Exploration-2013-TAGGED.pdf.
“Plants Clean Air and Water for Indoor Environments,” NASA,http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2007/ps_3.html.
Luz Claudio, “Planting Healthier Indoor Air,” Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2011; 119(10): a426-a427,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230460/.
Heather L. Papinchak, et al., “Effectiveness of Houseplants in Reducing the Indoor Air Pollutant Ozone,” Hort Technology, April-June 2009; 19(2): 286-290, http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/19/2/286.full.
Patricia M. Webb, “Indoor Plants for Clean Air,” Penn State Extension, January 16, 2008, http://extension.psu.edu/plants/master-gardener/counties/clarion/news/2011/indoor-plants-for-clean-air.
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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free “How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep Guide”

Sure-fire Ways to Reduce Stress and Avoid Disease

 

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Everyone gets stressed out from time to time. But when it goes on for  a long period of time that’s when you put your health in danger. Chronic stress can cause serious health problems especially for women.  Adrenal fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, abnormal periods and heart disease are just some of the negative effects chronic stress can cause. Our bodies are built to handle acute stress (the fight or flight response) which is short-lived, but not chronic stress, which is steady over a long term.

Chronic stress can come from many different sources like high pressured jobs, loneliness, family life, marriage, even traffic. When the body remains in a constant state of alarm, it affects virtually every system in the body, either directly or indirectly. It’s estimated that up to 90% of doctor’s visits are for conditions in which stress at least plays a role! That’s why it’s so important to learn stress management techniques and make some healthy lifestyle changes to protect yourself from the negative impact of chronic stress.

Here are some of my favorite stress busting strategies:

Lifestyle :

  • Take a walk
  • Get a good night sleep
  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise
  • Get a pet

Stress Management Techniques:

  • Deep belly breathing
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Soothing music

Incorporate one or all of these stress reducing activities to your life and see your stress levels plummet. Even small changes will yield big results. You can fight stress and keep yourself healthy even during very crazy times as long as you know how to cope. These simple changes and activities can help you keep stress under control and stop it from damaging your health.

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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

 

3 Easy Ways to Beat Midlife Weight Gain

Is the shape of your body changing, as you’re getting older? Were you once a healthy pear shape but recently you have noticed your body changing into an unhealthy apple shape?

pear_apple_shapes

• Pear-shaped body: wider hips and thighs, with more weight below the waist

• Apple-shaped body: wider waist and belly, with more weight above the waist

The sad fact is that most women in the United States are overweight by the time they reach midlife. Aging and poor lifestyle choices are the main causes. Additionally, as we get older our metabolism slows down. Several studies have shown that peri-menopause, regardless of age, is associated with increased fat in the belly area as well as decreased lean body mass (muscle). When we reach our midlife years we have to work harder to keep the same body we had in our younger years.

Excess weight raises the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease (which is particularly linked with excess fat in the belly area), type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and some types of cancer (including breast and colon). Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent midlife weight gain.

1. Clean up your diet

Add whole foods to your diet and stop eating the junk. Find out if you have any food allergies; if you suspect that you do eliminate those foods from your diet for at least 2 weeks. At midlife we need to adjust the balance of our macronutrients—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. We need more good fats to help with dwindling hormone production, fewer carbohydrates to keep blood sugar low, and moderate amounts of protein to build muscle. However, too much protein can also cause weight gain.

2. Get Some Sleep

Some people brag about functioning on little sleep, but we pay a huge price when we stay up late and get up early. Studies show that sleeping less than 5 hours per night promotes weight gain. The amount of sleep you get affects levels of ghrelin and leptin, the hormones that regulate hunger. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat and leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, your body secretes more ghrelin and less leptin, which leads to weight gain. Lack of sleep also leads to fatigue, which generally leads to a decrease in physical activity which leads to increased fat.

 2. Stay Active

The best exercise for losing weight is the one you’ll do on a consistent basis. In my opinion, whole body workouts are the best for us mid-lifers. The more muscles that are used the more calories can be burned and the greater the weight loss will be. Exercising isn’t only for weigh loss, it also helps balance hormones and improves mood. Working out intensely raises the heart rate and burns even more calories. Interval training, where short bursts of intense activity are followed by a recovery period, is especially helpful. Strength training is also important because it will helps to build muscle, which raises the metabolic rate and causes you to burn more calories. Strength training also has an added benefit called “after burn”.

Grab your free guide. How to Get a Good Night's Sleep.

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

Almonds are a high fiber food.

“Eat More Fiber.” “Do you Get Enough Fiber?”  How many times have you heard that before? You know it’s important to consume fiber rich foods every day, but do you know why?

What is Fiber?

Fiber is the part of foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. It passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon, and out of your body in your stool. It’s found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.

Fiber is probably best known for its ability to keep you regular, but it has many other health benefits, such as decreasing the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Fiber also helps in maintaining a healthy weight because it keeps you full, delays stomach emptying, and balances blood sugar levels. It’s needed for overall digestive health.

About Fiber

There are 2 types of fiber: insoluble (dissolves in water) and soluble (doesn’t dissolve). You need both for overall good health.

  • Soluble fiber: This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. It can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It also slows the absorption of food, allowing your body to retain more nutrients. Good sources: oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
  • Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber helps food move through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. (It can help you if you struggle with constipation.) Good sources: Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes

Most plant-based foods such as oatmeal and beans contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The amount of each type varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods.

 Benefits of a High Fiber diet

  • Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk.
  • Helps maintain bowel health. A high-fiber diet can lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
  • Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber, which is found in beans, oats, flaxseed, and oat bran, may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoproteins, the so-called “bad” cholesterol. It also lowers triglyceride levels and raise HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Studies have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Helps achieve a healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” meaning you eat fewer calories but the same amount of food.

How much fiber do you need each day? 

JJ Virgin, a nutrition & fitness expert, suggests getting at least 50 grams of fiber per day. The Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:

  • Men age 50 or younger: 38 grams    Men age 51 and older: 30 grams,
  • Women age 50 or younger: 25 grams    Women age 51 and older:  21 grams.

Bring up your fiber intake gradually over the course of a week or 2 (or even 3 if your body is used to a low-fiber diet). Also, be sure to increase your daily water intake as you increase your fiber intake.

High Fiber Choices

All plant foods: Vegetables, fruits, nuts & seeds, legumes, tubers, and whole grains have fiber. Usually, the closer the food is to its natural state, the higher the amount of  fiber it contains.

Here is a list of list of my favorites. Each serving below provides 5 or more grams of fiber.

• Legumes (black beans, pinto beans, garbanzos, lentils, etc.) are a great source of dietary fiber. On average, 1/3 cup of these foods provides 5 grams or more.
• Berries, particularly raspberries and blackberries, are the highest fiber fruit, 3/4 cup provides about 5 grams of fiber.
• Apples and pears provide 5 grams of fiber. They contain a specific type of fiber called pectin that is soothing and healing to the GI tract.
• Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and oat bran can be sprinkled on top of salads, mixed into shakes, and added to oatmeal (after cooking).  2 tablespoons provide about 5 grams of fiber.
• All raw nuts and seeds are high in fiber. Almonds provide the most fiber: 15 almonds contain about 5 grams of fiber.
• All greens are great sources of fiber. 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts or broccoli or 1/2 cup of cooked spinach provide 5 grams of fiber.
One cup of cooked steel cut oats contains 5 grams of fiber. Research supports its cholesterol lowering effects.
• Bran cereals are loaded with fiber: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of most types provides 5 grams of fiber. Make sure to choose a brand with no added sugar
• One cup of any of the winter squashes provides 5 grams of fiber. One-half of a medium sized yam or sweet potato provides 5 grams of fiber and is rich in the powerhouse antioxidant beta carotene.

Here is a sample diet that

  • Breakfast: Protein shake with 2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 1 cup of raspberries (total 10 grams)
  • Lunch: One cup of lentil soup and a mixed green salad topped with grilled chicken and olive oil vinaigrette (total 15 grams)
  • Snack: 1 apple and 10 almonds (total 10 grams)
  • Dinner: 2 cups of roasted vegetables, 1/2 of a sweet potato, and grilled wild salmon (total 15 grams)

Total for the Day=50 grams

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If you are reading this chances are you are interested in improving your health.  Fill out the form on the bottom right side of this page or use this link to stay connected to me. I wouldn’t  want you to miss out on any of my health information. I also have a free gift for you. After you subscribe I will send you a link to download my free Sleep Guide

Are You Having Trouble Losing Weight?

belly fatAre your favorite jeans getting tight and you don’t know why?

Even though stress has no calories, it can dramatically contribute to weight gain. Yes, you read that right, stress causes you to gain fat. Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight or run for our lives. Cortisol is the “stress hormone” that our bodies automatically produce when we are under stress.

Chronic stress and cortisol are a perfect recipe to make you fat. Too much cortisol can slow your metabolism, causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. Additionally, people under chronic stress tend to crave more fatty, salty, and sugary foods. These foods are typically less healthy and lead to increased weight gain. Prolonged stress can alter your blood sugar levels causing mood swings, fatigue, and conditions like hyperglycemia. Too much stress has even been linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a name for a group of risk factors that often appear together and increase the risk of greater health problems, like heart attacks, coronary artery disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Excessive stress even affects where we store fat; high levels of stress are linked to more fat around your middle. Unfortunately, abdominal fat is not only aesthetically undesirable, it’s also linked to greater health risks than fat stored in other areas of the body.

Fortunately there are simple things you can do to reduce stress and stop weight gain. Add physical activity and relaxation techniques to your daily routine to see rapid results. Exercises such as aerobics, weight lifting, or running can help. Even adding simple things like taking the stairs rather than the elevator or going for a walk at lunch are easy ways to reduce stress. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises, guided imagery, and meditation can also stop the damage caused by chronic stress.

If you need some help losing weight, contact me for a consultation. I can help.

 

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Do You Drink Enough Water?

Glass of WaterMost people don’t drink enough water or realize it’s crucial to their health. A human being can live weeks, sometimes months without food.  That same human deprived of water would be lucky to survive 3 days. Depending on body-weight and age, water makes up approximately 50-70% of total body-weight.

Every system in our body depends on water. Every chemical reaction in your body takes place in a fluid medium. Water helps with digestion, flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells, provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. It lubricates our joints and helps regulate our body temperature. The list goes on and on.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration, as little as a 1 – 2 percent loss of your body weight, can take away your energy and make you tired. Dehydration is more dangerous for the very young and the very old.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  •  Excessive thirst
  •  Fatigue
  •  Headache
  •  Dry mouth
  • Little or no urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness

Formula for Water Consumption

Divide your body weight in half. This is approximately the total number of ounces you should drink daily.

Drink more water if: you are pregnant or breast feeding, have an illness or health condition such as fever, vomiting or diarrhea, eat a high protein diet, live in a hot climate or engage in endurance exercise

Drink water throughout the day to avoid even mild dehydration

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Do You Get Enough Sleep?

 

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Getting a good night’s is important for a number of reasons.  According to Harvard Women’s Health Watch, chronic sleep loss can contribute to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a weakening of the immune system. On the other hand, good sleeping habits boost the ability to learn and remember things, keep weight in check, keep an upbeat attitude, maintain cardiovascular health, fight off disease, and avoid accidents caused by drowsiness. If you struggle with getting quality sleep, the following tips can help you develop healthy sleep habits.

Go to bed at the same time every night. 
Create a routine that you and your body become accustomed to. Make sure to get enough sleep, but not too much sleep. The National Sleep Foundations says the “right” amount of sleep is based on the individual and his or her age. Aim some where between seven and eight hours of quality sleep.

Wake up at the same time every morning. 
Waking up at the same time each day not only assures you don’t oversleep it also enables your body to get into a rhythm. Lots of studies have shown that longstanding routine, as well as adequate sleep, has been linked to longevity.

Nap if you go off schedule. 
Travel, deadlines, worries, and all kinds of other routine interruptions can put a damper on your sleep schedule. But rather than try to make up lost time by sleeping in, it’s better to take a midday nap when you can. Otherwise, you will throw off your new routine.

Don’t drink caffeine in the evening.
The drink that gets you going in the morning is also the one that will keep you up at night—if you drink it too late in the day. Know your limits and avoid caffeine too close to bedtime.

Don’t use technology in your bedroom. 
Your TV, smartphone, and computer are all gadgets that get your mind buzzing, not relaxing. In order to calm yourself down, it’s a good idea to keep all distractions out of sight.Your bedroom should only have items conducive to sleep.

Darkness.
Your body is designed to take sleep in darkness. Use thick curtains or shades, cover or hide the clock, and help your brain power down for the night.

A white noise machine. 
Some noises are soothing, such as the sound of the ocean or the whisper of the wind. But other noises—like loud neighbors or honking cars—can keep you from getting the sleep you need. Luckily, there are plenty of noise machines on the market that offer a variety of “white noise” options. Even a fan can help drown out unwanted noise.

Eat at least 3 hours before bedtime. 
Big meals right before bedtime force your body to digest rather than rest, while especially rich or spicy meals may cause sleep-depriving discomfort as they make their way through your stomach. Eat light and on the early side and you’ll ensure your food won’t keep you up.

Avoid alcohol before bed. 
Alcohol can make you drowsy and even help you fall asleep. But it also tends to wake you up in the middle of the night, disturbing the overall quality of your sleep. Steer clear of adult beverages, to increase your chances of quality sleep.

A comfortable bed. 
A quality mattress and bedding is well worth the sometimes hefty price.  But consider them a preventative medical expense. A good mattress and comfy sheets and pillows help ensure you get the sleep your body needs to stay healthy

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