12 Ways to Make Water Less Boring

by hhealthym89 on July 14, 2014

In case your head doesn’t hurt from being beaten over it with this information, here it is again: Water’s pretty good for you. It stokes your metabolism so you burn more calories all day. It helps you stay energized, keeps you regular, and can improve your skin. If you replace just one caloric beverage with water each day, you can lose more than 20 pounds in a year—without doing anything else.

But here’s the thing: Water can also be…well, boring.

Consider that problem solved: Before you swap a tall glass for a 20-ounce bottle of something sugary (or even a stuffed-with-chemicals “diet” option), try these quick fixes to add taste—and extra nutrients—to the stuff from the tap.

1. Add a Spa-Worthy Slice
Day spas and high-end salons have taken to filling their pitchers with slices you’d usually see resting on eyelids: piles of bright green cucumber . And with good reason. The resulting flavor is refreshing, and refreshingly different. And it may help you in the bedroom: The scent of cucumber has been found to increase vaginal blood flow in women by up to 13 percent, increasing libido.

2. Make Yourself Feel Bubbly
Grab a bottle of sparkling water for the bubbly feeling of a soft drink without the calories. If it’s too bland, add a twist of lime or a splash of sugar-free fruit juice, says David Jack, director of Teamworks Fitness in Acton, MA . “I love this with cranberry or pomegranate juice,” Jack says. “You can add a few dashes of each of those, and maybe a bit of lemon, lime, or orange rind.” Try different combinations to keep things interesting, or to find your signature seltzer refresher.

3. Tea Time
Choose any of the innumerable varieties of teas and herbal drinks, not only to stay hydrated, but also to reap piles of benefit for your body. Black tea contains catechins, flavonoids that can improve cardiovascular health and may help prevent cancer. Green tea lowers your risk of heart disease, reduces your risk of lung cancer, and can help your body burn fat more easily—the polyphenols in the tea appear to work with caffeine to increase calorie burn.
And take advantage of herbal teas’ many properties. Sage tea can help with excessive perspiration. Chamomile can help control blood pressure, and ease digestion and gas. Ginger tea can soothe your stomach and ease arthritis pain.

4. Bubble Some Broth Instead
Warm up in winter with a vegetable or chicken broth, or a light soup, says Jack. “Broth is a great hydrator, and you’re getting all those nutrients—vitamins from the vegetables, and protein from the chicken, if you add it,” he says.

5. Go Herbal
You don’t have to brew herbs to enjoy their flavor. Add powdered or freshly sliced ginger, bruised mint leaves, or lemongrass to amp up your H2O . Or go floral. Lavender and rose hips are loaded with vitamin C and may help ease arthritis pain.

6. Make It Fruity
You’ve tried lemon and lime. Time to diversify: Add antioxidants found in sliced berries, suggests Devon Metz, founder of Fit Health Into Life in Boulder, CO. Or try what’s on sale or in season: cherries, mango, pineapple, oranges, watermelon—anything to add flavor, vitamins, and antioxidants. Can’t get fresh fruit? Just as with seltzer, try a splash—a quarter cup or less—of fruit juice for flavor with few calories.

7. Change Up Your Cubes
Freeze some fruit juice into ice cubes to add flavor that releases slowly in your water. Or drop some fresh berries or sliced grapes into your ice cube trays, or use frozen berries as if they were cubes. Changing just the texture of your cubes can create a new experience, if not taste, says Jack. So trade cubed for crushed, or vice versa.

8. Make It Sassy
As part of the best-selling Flat Belly Diet, dieters stay hydrated with this stomach-soothing recipe for Sassy Water. It combines fresh ginger, cucumber, lemon, and spearmint for a belly-pleasing (and slimming) cocktail.

9. Eat Something Instead
If you’re on a diet, fill up with a tall glass of water in place of more food. Or “eat more fruit,” says Alan Aragon, MS, a nutritionist in Westlake Village, CA. “Fruits are 80 to 90% water, and you’re getting a bunch of good nutrition that people tend to miss in their diets—potassium, fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C.” Vegetables will do the trick too. Aragon suggests a salad of tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cucumbers, and other water-rich greens.

10. Sip Less Often
If downing water all day is what bores you, try treating it as a meal—or, better yet, three meals, says Aragon. “Have three square water meals per day. Drink water to comfortable fullness three times daily,” he says. On colder days, it might be less; on warmer days, more. But comfortable fullness should be enough to stay hydrated. “And this will lower the amount of calories you eat for roughly an hour afterward.”

11. Sip More Often
If you’re working out, says Aragon, sip slowly throughout your sweat session. If you go to the water fountain briefly between each exercise, you’ll drink plenty for the day. Or bring your own bottle of water to the gym.

12. Switch It Up
Simply change the way you drink water—out of a glass instead of a bottle, for example—says Jack. Or drink it at a different temperature. “If you change the temperature, you can change the experience, and that can be enough,” Jack says. Plus, “cold water takes longer to drink.” If you want to down it faster—to get your water-intake over with—drink it at room temperature instead of icy cold.


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7 Alternatives to Your Worst Health Habits

by hhealthym89 on July 14, 2014

1a-1 If Your Pep Comes from a Bottle
Drink a cup of water or seltzer before reaching for another caffeine-charged, guarana-ginko-ginseng-spiked energy drink. What feels like fatigue may actually be a side effect of fluid loss that’s so minor you might not feel thirsty, finds a study published in The Journal of Nutrition.

When women were only slightly dehydrated—just 1 percent less than optimal—they felt tired, unfocused and blue. The irony: Caffeine’s diuretic properties can cause mild dehydration, and energy drinks have up to five times more of the stimulant than Coke does.

2a-1 If Your Body’s on Another Time Zone
Fine, get back on that Dreamliner. Pull another string of all-nighters. But then, to avoid the subsequent week of jet-lagged, sleep-deprived misery, stop eating for 16 hours.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that the fastest way to put a mouse’s circadian rhythms on a new (or correct) time zone was to reset its “food-related master clock.” This requires a single cycle of starvation during the normal wake period, followed by a meal on the right schedule (Note: Although there have been no human trials, only anecdotal support, the researchers think this strategy may help people too.) Consult your doctor before fasting.

3a-1 If Your Derriere Is Deskbound
Run to catch the elevator. Shift your La-Z-Boy to the upright position and back again 25 times. Overweight volunteers who racked up just 30 minutes a day of short, sporadic activity—one minute here, six there—had significantly higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels than true couch potatoes, finds a study at Queen’s University in Ontario.

The key is breaking up sedentary time: If you sit for more than two hours, your “good cholesterol” drops along with your metabolic rate. A study published in Diabetes Care found that just standing up for one minute every hour during, for instance, a 10-hour slug-a-thon leads to a healthier blood lipid profile and body mass than sitting all day and being active for 10 consecutive minutes at the end.

4a-1If Your Teeth Get Fuzzy After Lunch
Use “detergent” or add “water” if you don’t brush after every meal, says Linda Niessen, DMD, clinical professor at Baylor College of Dentistry-Texas A&M University. “Detergents” are fibrous foods such as celery, apples and carrots, which scrub away debris as you chew, she says. “Water” is saliva, which neutralizes acids and washes away food particles—and you make more of it when chewing sugar-free gum. But don’t postpone brushing and flossing for too long. “Plaque must be thoroughly removed every 24 hours,” says Niessen. (To put in the requisite two minutes, she recommends the timer app Brush DJ.)

5a-1 If You Munch Mindlessly
Identify the cue—a mood or setting—that makes you eat robotically, writes neuroscientist Darya Pino Rose, PhD, in her diet guide, Foodist. Then, “take a different action whenever you encounter the cue.”

For instance, if you usually eat in front of the TV, go ahead—but try using your non-dominant hand this time (moviegoers who did so ate 30 percent less stale popcorn in a study at the University of Southern California). A mindfulness technique, this helps you slow down and actually pay attention to what you’re eating. Another option: Predict when or where you’ll be in auto-feed mode and eat something healthful (like frozen grapes).

6a-1 If You Get Nicotine Fits
Massage yourself through three cravings a day, as smokers did in a study at the University of Miami. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, they busied their hands in one of two ways: caressing their ear lobes or kneading the web of skin between their index finger and thumb for two minutes.

It worked—at least much of the time. Within a month, these self-massagers—who said they felt less anxious—smoked fewer cigarettes a day than the control group.

7a-1 If Nasal Spray Is Your Old Faithful
You know you’re a nasal-decongestant-spray addict if your nose feels acid-burned, you can’t smell, and yet you still feel stuffed up and spray all day. The alternative: a nasal steroid spray, says Neil Bhattacharyya, MD, FACS, a professor of Otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School, who has seen exposed bone in abusers’ noses.

Your doctor prescribes the steroid to break the habit while tackling the underlying problem, like polyps or a deviated septum. If your habit is light, wean yourself by spraying every other day for a week, Bhattacharyya says. (Claritin is another short-term option.)

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5 Seemingly Innocent Things That Lead to Weight Gain

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You Doubled Down on the Quantified Life Your mistake: You believe wholeheartedly in the “If you can measure it, you can manage it” theorem. That’s right, we’re recommending that you ditch your digital scale with the two decimal places. When dieters at the University of Utah received a “health index score” that was pleasingly vague—a […]

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June 18, 2014

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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