Mythbusters: WTH Edition

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originalYou’re always hearing about what to eat and what not to eat. But sometimes, some of the foods that may seem bad might actually be good for you. Here are the 5 myths that you should avoid when it comes to your diet.

  1. Carbohydrates make you gain weight. Carbohydrates are the biggest supplier of our bodies’ fuel. Of course, carbohydrates that are highly processed like white flour turn to sugar. Instead, look for carbs that have 100% whole grains, such as quinoa, oatmeal, and wild rice. Also, be sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to get the carb’s benefits.
  2. Fat is always bad for you. Believe it or not, fat helps with vitamin absorption, cushions our organs, protects our cell membranes, provides shine to our hair, skin, and nails, and well, makes food taste good. So if you exclude fat from your diet you could be missing out on a lot of benefits.  Avoid the unhealthy saturated fats, such as trans fats, which heighten cholesterol. Instead, look for healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, olive oil, oily fish, seeds, and so on! Also be sure to try and bake, poach, and steam your food for a healthy alternative to frying.
  3. You should avoid snacking.  When you think of snacks, Oreos, Goldfish, and some other fan favorites come to mind. But if you bring healthy snacks into your diet, they may actually be good for you! Snacks help prevent a drop in your blood sugar, which causes you to reach for those Oreos. Instead, snack on low-fat yogurt, hummus and carrots, or fresh fruit with almond butter. Keep the portions small and don’t go longer than 3 to 4 hours without eating — This will help you avoid those night time munchies
  4. Gluten-free is better. Not always. For those with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity, yes, gluton-free is absolutely better. But for the rest of us, eating gluten-free removes, iron, B12, vitamin D, and fiber from our diets. Also, most gluten-free foods aren’t fortified with vitamins and minerals, so be sure to find those elsewhere if your on a gluten-free kick
  5. Strenuous exercise is the only way to go. Nope. You don’t need to spend an hour on that treadmill to reap the benefits of working out. Even a 15-minute walk is better than nothing. Although exercise is often used just for losing weight, regular physical activity is never a bad thing! For example, being active for only 150 minutes (2 and a half hours) each week can help prevent the risk of heart disease. Exercise also helps your mental and physical well-being and boosts your immune health.

By Aisling Williams

Photo courtesy of io9.com

The Dangers of Hair Dye

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Are you looking to reinvent yourself this fall? Do you wish to start new and feel your best after a bad breakup or a bad test grade? Well, now you can. Just as quickly as you can change your clothing style, you can change your hair color. Don’t overlook your safety when choosing a hair dye, however. Many dyes are harmful to your scalp and your health. Look beautiful this season without the dangerous chemicals!

Lead acetate, which is found in some hair dyes, is often thought of as a possible carcinogen. Look for salons using ammonia-free, herbal-based, low-PPD, and coal tar-free dyes. These salons view safety as a top priority. Although many dye companies have stopped using some of these harmful chemicals, there are still others that have replaced the old chemicals with new chemicals that are just as harmful. Dyes such as Herba Shine by Garnier are ammonia-free and safer for your scalp.

People who are obsessed with having the perfect color may not choose the healthiest option. Hair dyes such as “Henna” only last six weeks and don’t cover up your old hair color as well.  Temporary hair dyes are also safer because they have organic material. However, they only last one or two washes. The best dye’s, especially if you want to go from blond to brunette, contain PPD which is extremely dangerous for your health. People will continue to buy it because it helps them create that dramatic change they’ve been looking for.

How to be safe:

  1. Dye your hair less frequently
  2. Check if your hair salon has organic dyes
  3. Don’t use dyes with harmful chemicals. Check the box for details.
  4. Don’t keep the dye on for too long.

By Ediva Zanker

Photo Source: beautylifeline.com

To Eat Organic, or Not?

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Eat your fruits and vegetables! This is what you’ve been told since you were four years old. And for good reason – when it comes to health, eating the proper amount of fruits and vegetables is crucial (visit this site to calculate your own requirements). Fruits and vegetables help reduce the risk of cancer as well as ward off other diseases. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. And they are low in calories and fat and are made mostly of water, which helps you stay hydrated and maintain a healthy weight.

Pesticides used in farming fruits and vegetables have become a source of controversy. Pesticides prevent weeds, diseases, and pests from affecting crops. According to the USDA, 45 percent of the world’s crops are ruined due to spoilage or other damage, and this is why farmers rely on pesticides to produce quality crops. Many debate the importance of buying organic foods, while others simply avoid organic food because of its higher price.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit focused on protecting people from the health risks associated with toxic contaminants, like pesticides. The EWG searched through 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to identify those fruits and vegetables highest and lowest in chemical residue. Based on their findings, they created two lists:  the “Dirty Dozen,” and the “Clean 15.”

The fruits and vegetables dubbed the “Dirty Dozen” have 47 – 67 pesticides per serving. Their soft skin makes them more susceptible to absorbing the chemicals. For this reason, you should buy these fruits and vegetables organically grown. The “Clean 15” is a list of the fruits and vegetables with lower amounts of pesticides, which are safer to eat non-organic.

Now, don’t avoid fruits and vegetables all together in an effort to steer clear of pesticides. Instead, aim to buy the foods on the “Dirty Dozen” organically grown. If you’re on a tight budget, maybe it’s for the best you skip the potato chip aisle and invest in the organic apples instead. The few extra cents may save you from health problems down the line.

Here is the “Dirty Dozen,” and the “Clean 15” for you to use as a guideline:

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries – domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

Clean 15:

  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe – domestic
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

By Emily Borgeest

Boost Your Metabolism

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“I can’t lose these last pounds because my metabolism is so slow.”

“I can eat whatever I want because I have a great metabolism.”

“My metabolism is just slow today.”

Whatever you’ve heard about metabolism, it almost always has to with weight. But does anyone actually understand what your metabolism does?

Your metabolism consists of a network of hormones and enzymes that convert food into energy and control how quickly that food is changed into energy. This is why people trying to lose weight may blame their metabolisms if they aren’t shedding the pounds as quickly as they’d hoped. A faster metabolism generally means that it is easier for your body to lose weight.

There are quite a few factors that affect your metabolic rate, such as age, sex, and muscle mass. Your metabolism rate naturally slows as you age, slowing 5 percent after you turn 40. Men tend to have a higher metabolic rate than women, and those with a high lean body mass (more muscle and less fat) also have a faster metabolism. Part of it is also just hereditary.

There are a lot of simple ways to boost your metabolism. Eating breakfast helps to jump start your metabolism, and eating often (small snacks) will keep your metabolic rate up all day. Exercise and staying hydrated also helps promote a faster metabolism.

Though your metabolism is an important factor, it is not the only thing that controls weight loss.

By Fiona O’Connor

Get Flossy

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So every year you get your teeth cleaned, and every year the dentist tells you, “Brush your teeth twice a day and floss.” If you’re like me, you that first part and just toss that “floss” bit to the wind. Who needs to floss? Brushing your teeth does the same thing, right? Wrong. Believe it or not, dentists know what they’re talking about. Flossing is a crucial part of maintaining dental hygiene. If you don’t floss, you could end up with some serious problems.

Brushing and flossing reduces the bacteria that creates cavities and bad breath. While brushing your teeth is good and removes the combination of mucus and debris in your mouth that is known as plaque, it doesn’t get all of it. It’s like washing only 65 percent of your body. That 35 percent you skip is the plaque that escapes the toothbrush and ends up in the cracks between your teeth, which then sits and becomes tartar. Although you can remove plaque with a brush or floss, you can’t remove tartar; only a dentist can.

As this tartar builds, more dangerous types of bacteria build up, producing toxins which can irritate and inflame your gums. This inflammation is known as gingivitis, that thing they talk about in Listerine commercials. If left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontal disease, a condition where that dangerous bacteria and toxins invade not only the gums but also the bone structures supporting it. Yikes! This can lead to bone loss, loose teeth, and subsequently tooth loss. It has also been reported that it increases your risk of heart disease.

So paw around for that dusty container of floss in the back of your drawer and use it today when you brush your teeth. If you don’t, you might end up losing a tooth or two!

By Aisling Williams

Meditate Your Way to a Calmer Life

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You can’t walk around campus without hearing someone complain about how much work they have to do or how stressed they are. Stress is a part of life but, thankfully, there are a lot of ways to get rid of it. One way is meditation.

Meditation has been used for over 5,000 years as a way to find serenity and focus. Originally used by Brahman priests to deepen their religious understanding, meditation is now used by people all over the world as a way to de-stress.

There are many different types of meditation, including guided meditation to tai-chi. The most basic form of meditation involves closing your eyes and either sitting or laying down. Then focus on your breathing and try to forget the other activities you have for the day. By doing this, your mind slows down and allows you to relax. Meditation can last for five minutes or for over an hour, and can be practiced everyday or once a week.

Some may find meditation frustrating at first because it is hard to clear you mind and think of nothing, but practicing meditation will make it easier. If traditional meditation doesn’t work for you there are other, more active ways to practice meditation, like combining walking or prayer with meditation.

Neuroscientists from Harvard and MIT performed research and found that the brains of those who meditated over an eight week period produced more brain waves that suppress irrelevant information. This means they could focus better on work they were doing and better handle stress.

Syracuse University has its own meditation sessions in the lower level of Hendricks Chapel every Monday from 12-1. You can check it out here.

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

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For years, coconut oil has been considered “off limits” along with other hydrogenated oils due to its saturated fat content. But researchers have been studying this oil carefully, and have found that coconut oil may not be as harmful as was once thought. Other coconut products such as coconut milk and coconut water are now staples in health food markets due to their abundance of nutrients and health benefits. It seems coconut oil is finally getting the recognition it deserves and will soon be as popular as Vita Coco (coconut water) and So Delicious (coconut milk).

The fatty acids in coconut oil are unique as they are mostly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are more easily metabolized by the body. These MCTs affect your heart differently; evidence has proven that virgin coconut oil primarily raises the good cholesterol, HDL.

The health benefits of coconut oil are endless. It provides nutrients for hair care, skin care, stress relief, weight loss, maintaining cholesterol, weight loss, increasing immunity, proper digestion, proper thyroid function, relief from kidney problems, dental care, and bone strength. The oil is also high in antioxidants. These benefits are due to the strong presence of lauric acid and stearic acid in coconut oil.  Coconut oil fights fatigue, too, and acts as a natural energy booster.

There are many different ways to use coconut oil. An easy way is to use it in place of butter. Spread it on toast in the morning and if you’re craving something sweet, sprinkle some cinnamon and a sugar-replacement such as Stevia on top. Another option is to add it to water or any sports drink for a workout – it will boost your energy. Incorporate it into your post-workout meal to help with muscle recovery.

Coconut oil is a great addition to smoothies, especially a whey protein shake, which has been proven to fend off hunger, promote muscle building, burn fat and keep your energy up. You can also use coconut oil as you would any other oil to cook chicken, fish, or any other meat. The oil is very resistant to heat, making it a good choice for frying. Or ry melting it and adding it to desserts or in place of cream in coffee. You can also melt it and use it in any baking recipe.

Adding coconut oil to your diet will make you feel more energized while providing you with an abundance of nutrients and health benefits. And best of all, it tastes delicious.

Glycerin in Hand Cream: Good or Bad?

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At the peak of the winter season in Syracuse, along with the large amounts of snow comes dry skin, especially on our hands, which experience biting winds and excessive hand-washing. So we turn to our hand creams, seeking fast-relief and a return to softer, smoother hands. One of the main ingredients in our hand creams, however, is glycerin, which might actually be harming your skin.

Glycerin in its purest form is known as glycerol, which is an alcohol and dries the skin out. Glycerol has been known to dehydrate the skin so greatly that it causes blistering, so beware of products that have this as one of the main ingredients.

It is used in many skin and hand lotions and creams because it is hydroscopic, meaning it draws water from other sources, in this case mainly from the lower layers of skin known as the dermis. This could only be good for skin, because it brings water to the dry, surface layers of the skin, right? Wrong. In reality, this process ends up drying your skin from the inside out. Worse yet, if there is too much glycerin, it ends up creating a invisible layer on the skin, which blocks outside moisture from actually entering the skin.

In smaller amounts, however, when combined with enough water and other oils such as jojoba oil, the effect of this chemical isn’t as harsh. Also, if you naturally have more oily skin, the effects may not be as drastic. Just to be safe, though, be sure to read the ingredients before you decide to buy, or else your hands may end up feeling even more dry!

The Truth Behind Raw Meat

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With the growing popularity of sushi and rare meats, raw food is getting a lot more attention than ever before. The question is, can eating raw food be harmful?

Meat is usually cooked all the way through, which kills many of the bacteria that can make you sick, like E. coli or salmonella. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that all raw meats, poultry, and seafood are cooked to the appropriate temperature.

Some people, known as raw foodists, have started eating raw food because of its reported health benefits. Eighty percent of a raw foodist’s diet consists of fruits and vegetables. Raw foodists choose this lifestyle choice because some foods have a greater nutritional value before they are cooked. Raw foods also tend to be less processed, meaning that they generally have a greater health value.

A study done by researchers at the University of Nottingham in England found that eating steak rare is no less safe than eating steak well-done. After preparing steaks containing E. coli, both the rare steak and the well-done steak were found to have no traces of the bacteria. Researchers found that the actual danger of bacteria is in the preparation of the meat and cross-contamination through different cooking utensils, not in its cooking time. While the amount of time a steak is cooked does not really matter, it is important to thoroughly cook other meats like ground beef and sausage.

More and more people are eating sushi containing raw fish, which can carry many different types of bacteria and parasites. To reduce these possibilities, make sure you are eating only fresh fish and know where it came from. This can give you an idea of what possible bacteria it may contain.

Raw foods are becoming a regular part of our diet, so it is important to know the dangers of eating them. There will always be risks to eating raw meats and proteins, but by handling these foods carefully you can minimize your risk of illness.

By Fiona O’Connor

Stress-Free Finals

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It’s that time of year again – no, not Christmas. It’s finals. Just saying the word makes us feel stressed, which is the last thing we need when trying to study. Here are some ways to relieve stress during exams.

1. Get organized. During this time you may feel overwhelmed with the amount of things you need to do, whether it’s writing a paper or reading that textbook you haven’t touched since September. So to feel a little more in control, make lists and lay out what you need to do down to the last detail. It will calm you down and you’ll get excited when you can scratch things off the list. Mission accomplished.

2. Eat well. No, don’t go for that fifth cup of coffee. Although coffee is great and provides focus, it’s short-lived and you’ll end up crashing and feeling more anxious. Instead, turn to foods like salmon, blueberries, and almonds, all of which give you energy that will last all day.

3. Use self-control – it’s a blessing when it’s time to crack down and focus. Procrastination is the worst thing for studying, and you’ll get majorly stressed when you realize how much you have left to do and how little time you have to do it all.

4. Exercise. Whether that’s running on a treadmill or doing some yoga, exercise provides you with endorphins, which improves your mood, and also allows you to process your thoughts and get out any extra anxiety. Even if it’s just 15 minutes of your time, you’ll feel a lot better.

5. Sleep. This is the most crucial. Although you may feel like you need to pull an all-nighter, not getting enough sleep will leave you forgetful and on edge, and when your taking a series of tests that’s the last thing you need.

By Aisling Williams

Staying Active Over Winter Break

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With winter fast approaching, it is easy to fall into a lazy slump instead of hitting the gym. When the sky is gray, snow is falling, and there is a bitter chill in the air, it’s easy to come up with excuses as to why you shouldn’t get off the couch.

Winter makes many people shy away from outdoor activity, forcing them to rely on an indoor gym. But going to the same gym day after day can get daunting – that ten minutes on the treadmill feels like a half hour. This funk happens to everyone and the best way to avoid it is to make exercise fun by taking advantage of the weather. There are plenty of fun activities available to stay active during winter.

Here are some fun ways to spice up your winter workout:

  • Cross Country Skiing – A fun but intense workout. It involves skiing on a flat surface and is a great cardiovascular exercise. It is a total body workout and can be done with friends and family. Many parks have trails made for this type of skiing.
  • Snowshoeing – Strap snowshoes on and go for a hike. This exercise is just like hiking, but with shoes that are designed for snow. It is also a great cardiovascular exercise. Your favorite summer hiking trails can be enjoyed in winter too!
  • Ice Skating – A less intense workout but still a great way to get moving.
  • Sledding – Yes, sledding is a workout! It isn’t easy dragging your sled uphill after taking a few downhill runs. This is a great leg workout.
  • Bikram Yoga – This yoga class is sure to warm you up. If you don’t like the cold, head inside to a Bikram yoga class. This is a 90-minute class that goes through a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. The room is usually heated to 105 degrees and is a great way to sweat out toxins and stretch out your muscles.
  • Swimming – Indoor pools can provide you with a hint of summer during the long winter.
  • Shopping – Turn shopping into a workout! Take a walk either outdoors or indoors at the mall.
  • Wii – if you have access to one, Wii makes many games for exercise as Just Dance and Wii Fit.
  • Enjoying the snow – Go outside and have a snowball fight, build a snowman, make a snow angel or help mom with the shoveling.

It doesn’t matter which activity you choose as long as you do something. So avoid a lazy winter slump and get moving. Trying one of these fun activities with friends or family will you help motivate one another to stay active. Remember, it’s easy to stay fit and have fun at the same time.

By Emily Borgeest

The Truth About Kale

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Most people hear the word kale and either don’t know what it is, or they do know what it is and make a face that indicates disgust. What people don’t know is that it has a tremendous amount of nutritional value and tastes delicious, too. It is versatile and can be prepared in many ways.

Kale, also known as borecole, is a type of cabbage, which is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. There are both green and purple types. Other, more familiar vegetables of this family are broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

Kale has proven to lower cholesterol as well as to reduce the risk of five different types of cancer – bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate. It can also help with the body’s detoxification process. The isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from kale’s glucosinolates help to eliminate toxins from the body.

One cup of raw kale contains only 36 calories with a whopping 5 grams of fiber, 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 and 200% of Vitamin C. Kale is also high in beta-carotene and Vitamin K.

The great thing about kale is that its peak season is during the cooler months, making it a perfect winter vegetable. When choosing kale, look for firm and dark colored leaves with thick stems. Store it in an air-tight plastic bag in the refrigerator, where it will keep for five days.

Kale can be eaten raw, steamed or sautéed. It has a mild taste but can be slightly bitter. Here are some ways to enjoy kale:

  • Use it in a salad with toppings of your choosing and your favorite dressing.
  • Add it to whole-grain pasta with pine nuts, feta cheese and a little olive oil.
  • Sauté with olive oil and garlic, then season with salt and pepper.
  • Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-size pieces, drizzling with olive oil, and sprinkling with salt, pepper, garlic or onion powder, cayenne pepper, or even cheese! Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  • Steam or braise it, then add any mix-ins such as apples, chopped walnuts, raisins, dates, avocados, tomatoes, or balsamic vinegar.
  • Use in omelets or frittatas.

Many people have never heard of kale or know nothing about it, but for those who want to be healthy, it is a vegetable that should be eaten frequently. So, if you’re sick of eating broccoli and Brussels sprouts to meet your vegetable requirement, try kale and you are likely to be pleasantly surprised!

By Emily Borgeest

Birth Control – To Take or Not To Take?

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Whether you take “the pill” or are considering taking it, there are always a few questions floating around this oral contraceptive.

Let’s begin with the question of the pill’s effects on our skin. It first depends on what kind of pill you are taking – whether it is one that increases or decreases your testosterone levels. Those that increase the levels increase our production of sebum, which is the stuff that clogs our pores and thus leads to more zits. To keep your skin clear, look for a testosterone-decreasing pill that contains artificial estrogen, which produces a protein called sex hormone-binding globulin that lowers sebum production.

What about the effects on your weight? Many girls believe that the pill they are taking has caused them to gain or lose weight. Here’s the truth: Birth control does not physically make you gain weight. Those pills containing high estrogen levels cause you to retain water, and thus cause bloating. These increased estrogen levels also cause an increase in breast tissue growth, which explains why you feel like your breasts are bigger than ever. However, these days there are pills on the market that contain a much lower level of estrogen, some even containing a diuretic, which prevents water retention. Sadly, ladies, there is no birth control that will cause you to lose weight.

Another side effect of the pill is mood swings, which are considered hormonal. Although some women aren’t affected by these changes in mood, many are. This is due to a spike in estrogen levels. Using a progesterone cream has been shown to keep your estrogen levels steady, as well as your mood. Or try a different form of contraceptive, like the ring, patch, etc. Some of these aren’t hormonal and could keep you at an even keel.

Every woman is different, and the pill is not for everyone. Check out your options before starting birth control.

By Aisling Williams

High Heels – Worth the Pain?

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Every girl loves a cute pair of shoes. Flats and boots dominate on campus during the day, but when the sun goes down the heels come out – the higher the better. Other than the obvious challenges of high heels, like climbing SU’s snowy hills, heels can actually be very harmful for your feet and the rest of your body.

The biggest problem with heels is that they don’t provide any support, meaning that it is easy to lose your balance or sprain an ankle. Heels cause you to lean forward, placing most of the pressure on the balls of your feet. High heels increase the pressure normally placed on your feet by 76 percent, causing back pain or even deformities to your toes.

If you regularly wear heels, your feet will become used to the unusual positioning. Because the heel of your foot is elevated, the tendons in your leg may shorten over time, so wearing flat shoes will become painful.

Women will continue to wear high heels, despite their negative effects, but there are ways to prevent injuries. The best thing you can do for your feet is to wear heels in moderation, rotating between flats and heels, or saving the high heels for special occasions only. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society suggests wearing heels two inches or shorter. If you feel like you can’t give up your four-inch heels, look for shoes with more straps, which will give you better ankle support. Platform heels and wedges can also give you more height while providing balance.

If you’re like me, you can’t imagine getting dressed up without a good pair of heels. My four-and-a-half-inch black booties were a staple in my wardrobe, regardless of the painful walks home at the end of the night. You don’t have to give up heels altogether, but skip the stilettos every so often and try some flats.

By Fiona O’Connor

Healthy Apps

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I remember when smart phones were considered a novelty, but now it seems that everyone has them. With smart phones there come thousands of new apps, so why not find some apps that help your health? I found these free apps that will help make your life easier and healthier, too.

Everyday First Aid (LITE)

This app lists various injuries, their causes, symptoms, and cures. Each injury is organized by topic and if the injury isn’t listed you can add it. There are a lot of apps similar to this one, but the Everyday First Aid app works without WiFi or 3G so even if you’re on top of a mountain you can still figure out how to fix up your scraped knee or tend to that snake bite.

 

RunKeeper

RunKeeper is an app that lets you track how far you run, walk, or bike. This app allows you to create a profile with all of your personal information and then uses this profile to track your exercise. It has a GPS that tracks how far you go, measures how fast you are moving, and how many calories you’re burning.  You can also sync playlists through this app and upload your progress onto the website.

 

Whole Foods Recipes

This is an amazing app that gives you tons of different recipes. You can search different meal subjects with specifications, like gluten free or vegetarian. The app will give you a list of delicious choices to choose from. When you click on one dish it shows a picture of the dish, a description, and gives ingredients and cooking instructions.

 

WebMD

This is basically the app version of WebMD (if you couldn’t tell by the name) but in a simpler format. The homepage has different categories, such as symptom checker and local health listings. The symptom checker lets you put in your personal information along with your symptoms and see what you might be suffering from. WebMD also lets you browse different medications or make a list of your own treatments.

 

Hot Body Yoga

I was hesitant about any app that lays out workouts for you, but this app gives different yoga poses as well as specialized workouts. If you choose a workout, the app will show each pose and count out how much time to hold each pose. The workouts vary from beginner to advanced, so even if you don’t know much yoga it’s pretty easy to make it part of your day.

By Fiona O’Connor

How to Keep Those Whites Pearly

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Everybody wants to have clean teeth. If you brush your teeth twice a day you’re doing all you can, right? Wrong. What we eat plays a lot in to our dental health and hygiene. Here’s what to look for and what to avoid:

The Best

1. Fiber-filled fruits and veggies. Look for foods like celery, peppers, spinach, apples, berries, and bananas. These foods stimulate salivation in your mouth (yes, a little gross), which naturally cleans your teeth, preventing cavities and decay. After you eat, saliva helps neutralize the acids and enzymes that are attacking your teeth.

2. All things dairy. That means milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. The calcium and phosphorus in these foods restore lost minerals to your teeth.

3. Green and black teas. These teas contain polyphenols, which help destroy the plaque that builds up on teeth and creates acids that attack our teeth.

4. Sugarless gum. It may be less tasty, but it also helps activate those saliva glands to clean our teeth.

5. Fluoridated foods. AKA anything that has fluoride, like tap water, some bottled water (it will say on the bottle), and dehydrated soups. Remember fluoride rinses in elementary school? It’s the same thing, only natural.

 

The Worst

1. Soda. Soda contains sugar, allowing for cavities to build, as well as citric and phosphoric acids, which break down tooth enamel.

2. Raisins. Yes, they contain iron, but they are also high in sugar. Even worse, they are very sticky, so that sugar sits in your teeth and causes cavities.

3. Starchy foods. Foods like white and other soft breads and potato chips stick to teeth, where they break down into sugar and then acid, both of which are harmful for teeth.

4. Gummy and sugary sweets. That means all gummy candies, things with caramel, and hard candy, too. Although they are great in taste, they also have high amounts of sugar,and build cavities. Luckily, chocolate’s sugar is coated in fat, thus slipping out of teeth. Yay!

5. Acidic foods. Foods like lemons, tomatoes, and orange juice all are high in acidity, which break down the enamel on teeth.

By Aisling Williams

Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and for many people, this is their favorite holiday of the year. Why? Family bonding coupled with an abundance of delicious foods! Unfortunately, though, the holiday season tends to add unwanted inches to your waistline. But don’t worry; Thanksgiving doesn’t have to mean weight gain! There is an easy way to successfully navigate the Thanksgiving buffet and to fill your plate with delicious, yet healthy, foods. Here are some guidelines to help you enjoy Thanksgiving without sacrificing your weight.

To start, eat a good breakfast before heading out to your Thanksgiving celebration. People often think that it is a good idea to save up their calorie allowance for the big feast, but this is a bad idea. You will be starving by the time the main meal is served, and thus more likely to overindulge. A perfect breakfast would be an egg with whole grain toast or a bowl of oatmeal with low fat or skim milk. Protein and fiber will help to control your hunger and help you to make better choices when the big Thanksgiving meal is served.

 
Another good idea is to exercise before the big feast. Try to burn off some of those extra calories you will enjoy during the Thanksgiving meal. Take a walk; go for a bike ride or even a hike. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts too!
The main course on Thanksgiving is turkey, and fortunately it’s a healthy source of lean protein. You want to eat the white meat and avoid the dark meat and the skin, which have extra fat.

 
There also are some simple ways to lighten up the classic Thanksgiving dishes. Connie Diekman, RD, recommends using fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and to make gravy. She also recommends using sugar substitutes in place of sugar, and fruit puree instead of oil in baked goods. To lessen oil and butter usage, try using a nonstick fat-free cooking spray to grease pans. Try substituting plain fat-free yogurt for sour cream in dips and casseroles. When it comes to pie, the crust is the most fattening part, so use crushed graham crackers instead.

 
Be sure to drink plenty of water. This will help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated. Avoid soda and other fattening drinks like eggnog. Limit your alcohol consumption, too.

 
Now, when it comes to actually building your plate, be selective and stay aware of portion sizes. Try pairing your white turkey meat with just vegetables. Have some sweet potatoes and a small helping of mashed potatoes, but go easy on the gravy. Stuffing is a classic seasonal dish, so don’t be afraid to indulge; just watch your portion size and take a small amount. You want to invest the majority of your calories in the healthier foods such as the white meat and vegetables, and consume smaller amounts of the more caloric and fattening foods. For dessert, pumpkin pie is your best bet. Remember, everything is okay in moderation!

 
While eating, chew slowly and thoroughly, and pace yourself. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that it is full. Try and resist the urge to go back for seconds. If you take your time and savor each bite, you will feel satisfied and won’t need more. Besides, the leftovers always taste better the next day anyways!

 
By Emily Borgeest

End the Pain

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Everyone

has experienced pain, whether it be from a headache or a sprained ankle. Many times we choose to bite the bullet, but when the pain becomes too much or slows us down we turn to our medicine cabinets for relief. We often ask ourselves, what medicine should I take? Here’s a little insight as to what each pain medication does and when you should take it.

Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory medication that can be used to relieve both swelling and pain. While people typically think to take ibuprofen when they have physical injuries (like a swollen ankle), it can also be used to relieve headaches and fevers. Advil and Motrin are both types of medication that contain ibuprofen. Ibuprofen can be taken to treat many different symptoms of pain, but it is important to take the smallest amount needed.

Aspirin can treat similar symptoms as ibuprofen, and is found in pain medications like Bayer Aspirin and Bufferin. There isn’t much of a difference in results between the aspirin and ibuprofen, but it is important to choose one medication or the other. By taking both types of treatment at the same time, the effects of each medication may be canceled out. Both aspirin and ibuprofen can have harsh effects on the stomach, so it helps to eat or drink something before taking them.

Acetaminophen is a pain medication that changes how your body senses pain. It is most commonly found in Tylenol, but can be found in other pain medications as well.  Acetaminophen is different from ibuprofen and aspirin because it can be taken in combination with other medications, though it is always important to be careful when mixing medications. Acetaminophen combined with ibuprofen and caffeine can help to get rid of a migraine.

Whichever medication you choose, look at the directions on the bottle before taking it. There are specific directions for a reason. Taking too much of any medicine can end up hurting your body instead of helping it. If you still aren’t completely sure about which pain medication you should take, your doctor or local pharmacist should be able to guide you in the right direction.

By Fiona O’Connor

Tips for a More Restful Night

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We’ve all spent the night tossing and turning. Some of us turn to music, TV, or Facebook in the hopes of falling asleep, but this might actually be the problem. Here are six tips for a more restful sleep.

1. You are what you eat. What we eat before we hit the sheets has a lot to do with how quickly we doze off. Avoid foods high in caffeine, like coffee, green tea, and chocolate, as well as those high in tyramine, like ham, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, red wine, peppers, smoked meats, and fish. Look for foods in the dairy family like cheese and milk, soy products, lentils, hummus, hazelnuts, eggs, peanuts, and sesame and sunflower seeds. Try and eat a dinner low in protein but high in carbohydrates, which allow us to form melatonin and serotonin, our body’s magical sleeping agents.

2. Let there be (no) light. Light, artificial or natural, largely affects whether we can sleep. Light influences the timing of our body’s internal clock, thus affecting our preferred time to doze off. Close the curtains and try to use softer light late at night.

3. Relax. Like so many things in our life, stress also affects our sleep. Try practicing relaxation techniques, take a yoga class, or jump in a hot shower.

4. Exercise is essential. Exercise helps alleviate stress and anxiety, relaxing you at night, and also tires you out. Try to exercise in the afternoon to keep you going, but not at night. The adrenaline and endorphins will keep you up all night.

5. Keep a routine. Your body likes a routine, and the more you stick to one, the more likely you are to fall asleep at the same time. Although routines are tough to maintain as a college student with late-night studying, try to find a balance. Avoid naps for a more consistent sleeping schedule.

6. Eliminate electronics. Yes, that means the TV, the computer, your phone, and your iPod. All of these devices stimulate the brain and actually make you more awake. Read a book instead, which relaxes the brain and induces sleep.

By Aisling Williams