Finding the Right Food Plan and What it Means for You

We have all heard that eating right and getting enough exercise are the keys to maintaining a healthy weight and staying healthy in general. Rather than simply going on a crash diet plan or deciding that you are going to only eat a select few foods, the way to make sure you are starting out with a sustainable eating plan. While one of the reasons you may be considering ways to improve your diet is that you want to lose weight, there are also many other health benefits of sticking with healthy eating, such as higher energy levels, improved overall mood and lowering your risk for many preventable diseases.

When you are picking the right food plan, you need to do more than simply figure out the unhealthy foods to eliminate from your diet. In addition to this, you need to find the specific foods that will boost your nutrient intake and help you fight off cravings throughout the day. As you find foods to eliminate, make sure to replace them with healthy, low-calorie alternatives. Along with eliminating unhealthy foods, you should pay attention to your portion control. Eating too much of relatively healthy foods can still contribute to weight gain. If you need help with portion control, you can try preparing your meals ahead of time using containers with the correct proportion sizes for your needs.

You should also think about your daily schedule and ask yourself if you are eating at the right times during the day. For example, if you are skipping breakfast every day and then snacking before lunch, this could be an opportunity to adjust your meal time and save on unhealthy calories. One of the best methods for portion control and a healthy eating schedule is to make sure that you eat breakfast during the day and then consume more frequent, smaller-sized meals rather than a massive lunch and dinner. Another cardinal rule is to avoid eating late at night because your metabolism will be slower.

While everyone may have different specific nutrient needs, a good general rule of thumb is to reduce the amount of sugar that you are eating during the day. Consider replacing sugary drinks with water and sugary foods with fruit as healthier alternatives. This will also help you stay fuller longer and avoid snacking on unhealthy choices in between meals. If you need a good transition from sugary drinks like soda to water, try switching to unsweetened iced tea first.

Stressed Out Dads May Influence Toddler's Development

A new study suggested dads who stress out about parenting could negatively effect their toddler's development.

The study involved 730 families and concluded that families in which the fathers experienced high levels of stress over parenting had sons with lower language skills at 3 years old than other families. Both girls and boys tended to score lower on cognitive tests, which involve skills such as learning, reasoning, and paying attention.

This study's findings add to a growing body of research explaining how fathers influence the development of their children. Most studies regarding kids' well being focus primarily on the mothers' influence, rather than the fathers'. More recent studies have begun looking into the influence of both parents or that of the father.

This study found that dads involved in their child's upbringing affect their preschoolers' emotional development and language skills, in addition to older children's risk for depression and behavioral problems.

Gender roles are shifting as times change. There are more fathers sharing responsibility for raising kids, as well as more fathers acting as stay-at-home parents. The study focused on lower-income couples in the United States, with a focus on their parenting related stress in particular. Participating families filled out a standard questionnaire for researchers to assess stress levels. They had to agree or disagree with statements such as "Sometimes I feel my child doesn't like me" or "I feel trapped…"

The study overall concluded the fathers' level of parenting stress influenced cognitive development and language development in young children. In addition, the study concluded kids more often had behavioral problems throughout their childhoods if the father experienced depression symptoms or was chronically stressed.

The researchers noted that the fathers' influenced seemed independent of the mothers; in other words, the fathers were not stressed because their wives were stressed.

The study established an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship, but nonetheless either parents' stress could influence a child's development. For example, if a parent's mind is racing, frantic, or busy, they may be less responsive to cues from their child, including words and behavior.

This study supports growing research on the importance of fathers in children's behavioral and cognitive development. In general, fathers can provide unique encouragement. For example, fathers are generally more likely to encourage young children to take risks, explore, and be clearer with their words.

This study underlines the importance of a father's wellbeing to the development of their child. As with many care-giving situations, it is very important to care for yourself in order to better care for your family. 

Summer Strong: Keeping You Kids Active While School’s Out

A local Physical Education teacher has been working with UCLA on a study that encourages children to stay active during summer months while school is out.

Martin Wurmlinger is that physical education teacher and he is working with the University of California in Los Angeles’ Sound Body Sound Mind organization. He has stressed that “getting out and finding an activity that keeps [kids] moving and raises heart rate levels” is the most important thing a child can do to keep healthy during the summer months.

While the simple task of raising heart rate levels is important in Mr. Wurmlinger’s opinion he offers a five-pronged approach to maximize a child’s athletic performance. The five important areas to focus on are: muscle strength, heart endurance, muscle endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
There are various ways to tackle these areas of athletic performance.

To fight the summer heat Mr. Wurmlinger suggests that children exercise in a pool, if they have access to one. Swimming can activate more than one of these five core areas of athletic competency.

Another full-body exercise that the organization from UCLA suggests is the burpee. With these exercise your child will start in a standing position, squat into a plank position, then jump into the air from that plank. You can find out more how to do a burpee in THIS YouTube video.

Finally, one of Mr. Wurmlinger’s most unique ideas is to give your child a pedometer. You and your child should sit down at a map and find a location that is far way that your child might like to travel to. This could be Disney World, China, or maybe even around the world. Determine how far in miles these locations are from your front door and have your child try and travel this distance on his or her pedometer over the course of the summer, or even year. This gives children a goal, something to strive towards.

It’s easy to let your kids stare at the TV screen or play video games all summer long. This summer we suggest that you take some of the advice that the Sound Body Sound Mind organization have presented in this new study and get your kid moving.

To learn more about Mr. Wurmlinger’s project and the Sound Body Sound Mind organization you can find their website HERE.

What Foods Boost Immune System

Fighting colds and flus doesn't have to be a yearly experience when you eat the proper foods. Explore some particular superfoods that actually boost your immune system and keep you healthy.

Your immune system is always ready for a fight as foreign cells enter your body on a daily basis. White-blood cells lead the charge as they try to balance the body into a healthy homeostasis. As you grow older, however, fighting off germs becomes difficult. There are some foods that you can eat, which will strengthen your immune system through enhanced vitamin resources.

Orange-Colored Produce

Molecular compounds called carotenoids are found in produce that's bright orange. Keep a healthy stock of sweet potatoes, carrots and squash in the house because the carotenoids within each of these items turns into vitamin A as the digestive system breaks them down. Your body uses this vitamin in an antioxidant capacity, which fights off infection as foreign cells invade your body. Other produce, such as pumpkin, is also rich in carotenoids. Simply look for colors as you shop, and adding vitamin A to your diet will be simple.


Oysters can be a secret weapon against sickness because they hold countless nutrients. Their main offering is zinc, which tends to calm inflammation down. When the body becomes inflamed, certain areas are so swollen that fighting off infection is often difficult. By reducing the inflammation, zinc allows the immune response to be more centralized to the foreign body. You also gain omega-3 fatty acids, protein and calcium from oysters. All of these essential nutrients improve the body's response to germs as it recovers from almost any sickness.


Although no foods can actually prevent sickness, citrus comes close to that ultimate dream. The vitamin C hidden within this food helps the body form defenses against invading germs. Scientists don't know exactly how vitamin C works for the immune system, but it seems to boost white-blood cells' strength against colds and flus. Try oranges, lemons and limes in your daily diet in order to achieve the best effects.


Vitamin B6 and potassium are both found in bananas. The vitamin alone is reason enough to eat at least one banana each day because it helps your body with hundreds of critical biochemical reactions. With cells that can react with ferocity, those invading germs can be killed off before they reproduce into huge numbers.


Get your fill of lean chicken cuts because they're rich in iron. This element is crucial to oxygen transport around the body. Without oxygen permeating your tissues, the immune system becomes weakened and allows germs to invade. Consider a chicken-based meal twice a week in order to gain the most iron out of this cut.

If fresh foods are hard to find at certain times of year, head toward the freezer aisle at the local grocery store. Frozen fruits, meats and vegetables have the same nutritional values as the items in the produce or meat sections. By being creative with your eating habits, the immune system can win out against almost any invader.

Change can be Difficult, But it's Worth It!

Staying on top of your health is one of the most important things you can do during rough periods of time. No matter whether you are dealing with an illness or trying to stop the development of one, taking a proactive approach towards your health always yields results. If you are not sure where to begin, consider some of these easy exercises and lifestyle changes you can make to live better and enjoy change at a slow, comfortable pace.

One of the most important things that all people can do to improve the quality of their health is to eat better. This means taking the time to look into nutritional information to make sure that you only put what you want into your body. Look for foods that are high in proteins and fibers and low in fats and calories to make the most out of your lifestyle.

Always exercise whenever you have the chance as well. When exercising comes to mind, many people think that it means taking time out of the day to do an entire routine. While this can bring about the best and most desired results, the fact of the matter is that any amount of exercise can help. Take a walk instead of driving, and take the stairs instead of the elevator and see what a difference it can make.

Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink as well. Alcohol, in moderation, can be a great way to enjoy some additional health benefits. However, drinking in excess can have the opposite effect. Reducing the frequency of other bad habits, such as smoking and taking recreational drugs can also have a profoundly positive effect on your health.

Finally, be sure to stay social and reduce stress. Keeping your overall stress levels low is one of the best ways for you to achieve a longer life. Stress is directly linked to a number of different diseases, and taking the time to relax and enjoy a slower pace can be tremendously beneficial. Take some time out of your busy day to enjoy the activities that reduce your stress levels and be sure to keep up with friends to improve your efforts further.

Seatbelt Use Important in ALL Seats

Be sure to fasten your seatbelt, regardless of what seat you’re in in the car.
Hundreds of people die in car wrecks every year because they don’t buckle up in the backseat, according to a new report.
There were almost 900 deaths in 2013 among kids 8 and older who were in the backseats and not wearing their seatbelt. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), more than 400 of them would likely have survived if they had worn a seatbelt.
Sitting in the back seat and not wearing a seatbelt makes you about three times more likely to die in a wreck. Yet 32 states still do not have solid seatbelt laws for passengers in vehicle back seats.
Just 78 percent of adults who sit in the back seat wear a seatbelt, compared to 87 percent of adults in the front seat. Seatbelt use in fatal car crashes are 60 percent for rear passengers and 74 percent for front passengers, according to the study.
The GHSA emphasizes the need to wear your seatbelt regardless of which seat you’re in. Almost 42 million people in the United States drive 50 miles or more from home JUST for Thanksgiving. Also around Thanksgiving, there are more than 400 deaths from car accidents.
Seatbelts are there to protect passengers, and it’s important to use your seatbelt regardless of whether you are driving or sitting in a rear seat, as is common for families traveling together around holidays. Many think they are protected by the seatbacks in front of them when they’re in the back seat, but this is simply not the case.
Buckle up in every seat for every trip, no matter how far or near, front or rear. Convincing adults of this will necessitate a united effort among highway safety professionals and lawmakers alike. It will save lives, though, and be more than worthwhile.

According to the GHSA, seat belt use in states that require use in rear seats is at 83 percent compared to 74 percent in states that do not have such laws.

Top Five Reasons Mosquitos Love to Bite You

Do you ever feel as if mosquitos just love you for some reason? Well scientists say this is due to much more than paranoia. Some people are naturally more appealing to mosquitos because of the chemicals and odors they secrete. Here is why you might be a favorite for feasting mosquitoes:

1. You’re sweating
You may be one of those hard core runners, who runs no matter how hot it is outside. Well beware of the bugs. The lactic acid that is released when you sweat attracts hungry mosquitos. When you sweat a lot during intense exercise, your rising body temperature is also attractive to mosquitos looking for a warm host. It is best to work out indoors during hot, buggy days.

2. You’ve got a bun in the oven
That’s right. If you’re pregnant, the mosquitos just can’t get enough of you. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide. The female ones, the ones that bite us, even have specific receptors that help them discover the gas around them. When you are pregnant, especially in the final trimester, you exhale about 21% more carbon dioxide then the rest of us. That is why pregnant women experience about twice as many bug bites on average. Researchers believe that pregnant women may also release certain odors that are pleasing to insects, drawing them closer. Make sure to wear your bug repellent this summer.

3. You are drinking an iced cold beer
Beer is tasty to mosquitos and humans. In fact, studies in West Africa and Japan show that people who drank beer rather than water were much more attractive to mosquitoes. Make sure to protect against bites at those outdoor sporting events and concerts this summer.

4. You have the right kind of blood
That’s right, blood-sucking mosquitoes have a preference when it comes to blood type, and unfortunately for people with type O, it’s you. Apparently type O blood may have a certain odor that is particularly pleasing to a hungry mosquito, and you are her number one landing preference.

5. You have that special something
Studies that include identical twins have shown that certain genetic make-up can cause you to be more susceptible to bug bites. Some people naturally repel mosquitos because of their genes, while others might actually attract bugs just by being who they are, genetically.

The best way to avoid those pesky bites is to cover up. Wear long-sleeved clothing and apply bug spray that includes DEET to your exposed skin and over your clothes. 

The Walking Movement and What it Means for You

Walking your way to good health is one of the simplest ways to achieve your fitness goals. With little impact and good conversation, the walking movement gives your body a complete workout.

There's a walking movement that's sweeping the nation, and you can be part of that trend. Whether you're taking a lunch break at work or relaxing with a group of friends, you can always perform this exercise in various situations. Take a look at this trend and its physical details, such as your speed, in order to understand what walking means for your health.

Managing the Weight

A major side effect to the walking movement is weight control. You may eat a relatively healthy diet, but your weight isn't moving in any direction. The addition of walking into your life means that you're boosting your metabolism at the same time. Because your body is burning calories more efficiently, you'll see some consistent weight loss when walking is coupled with nutritious food.

Speed Counts 

When you're 50 years of age or older, you may not be concerned with speed as you walk. However, your walking movement plays a part in your health in the form of speed. Scientists have learned that faster walkers tend to be more healthy overall. If you walk at a consistent 2.25MPH speed, you'll typically have a longer lifespan compared to slower people. 

Everyone is Doing It

Because everyone can walk, you can form a fun group of friends to get out there and challenge each other. Socializing during an exercise is psychologically helpful, which contributes to consistent walking movement. If your friends aren't available one day, you can always join up with a new crowd and enjoy fresh faces to meet.

Reducing Cardiovascular Problems

Weight loss and mental health aren't the only perks of the walking movement. Your cardiovascular system also benefits with better blood flow and fewer chances of a serious ailment. Your blood pressure may drop and cholesterol numbers might plummet as a result of your walking efforts.

Typically, you can walk in almost any weather unless it's considerably dangerous outside, such as an icy day. If the weather is less than desirable outside, you may want to try some indoor walking. Use your indoor stairs or try out a treadmill for your walking pleasure. Although you might feel a bit confined, you'll still feel the benefits of the walking movement when you perform it on a regular basis.

Try some Lemon Balm – Natural, Medicinal and Delicious

Gardeners love bee-friendly plants and herbs. Lemon Balm, officially called Melissa officinalis, is just such a bee charming herb that it is even nicknamed “Bee Balm.” Not only does lemon balm attract plant pollenating bees, it also has many health benefits and is rather tasty too.  

This perennial, medicinal herb is plentiful in many a well-groomed garden, as it grows in most climates, is low maintenance, and spreads far and wide through its roots and seeds. Lemon balm thrives during the warmer part of the year, with leaves withering during winter months, and sprouting forth again in the spring.

To add a little Lemon Balm to your life, you can ask a local gardener friend, most of them have plenty to spare. Or you can easily buy some seeds or a plant at the garden store nearby. Lemon balm promises to make your garden and your tummy happy.

The herb is delicious, with a zesty, lemony flavor and can easily be added to any recipe or brewed to make tea. Some of the tried and true uses for lemon balm are remedies for common, everyday symptoms.

Its most well-known use is as a slight sedative, which can calm your nerves, but it has many other medicinal purposes as well. Lemon balm can help soothe digestive issues, gas, bloating, or an upset stomach. It can also help with premenstrual syndrome symptoms like menstrual cramps, anxiety and irritability. The herb also can soothe mild symptoms of depression and even headaches.

So what is the easiest way to get your daily dose of soothing lemon balm? Tea of course. Use fresh leaves from your plant, placing them in the bottom of your mug. Add hot water and let the leaves steep for a few minutes before you take a sip. There is no need to strain the leaves if you are using them fresh from the garden. If you don’t have a fresh plant, you can use dried leaves from the health food store, just make sure to strain them before you drink the mixture.

Another creative way to include lemon balm in your diet is to add it as a citrus, acidic herb to your salads. This lemony, tangy herb will replace your need for lemon or a vinegar flavor in your salad. It can also be used as a citrusy garnish for a desert or even blended up into a pesto or vegetarian pate. You can get creative with this delicious and helpful, bee attracting garden herb. 

Centenarians Show that Health is the Key to Longevity

Centenarians Show that Health is the Key to Longevity
Centenarians Show that Health is the Key to Longevity

Summary: What is the secret to a healthy and long life? Centenarians share what they found out and help younger readers with a few long-term health tips.

Everyone wants to live as long as possible, but, often, few know where to start. A few obvious exercise and dieting goals may come to mind, but many younger health-conscious people may feel as though there is simply too much information to absorb. Fortunately, living healthy can be as easy as taking tips from those who already have: centenarians. Many elderly individuals shared their secrets, showing that healthy practices are the key to longevity.

Drink Plenty of Water

Every centenarian agrees: water is absolutely necessary. Don't just drink water when you think you've gone long enough without it, be sure to drink it regularly throughout the day. Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to regulate the body's processes and make sure that you are getting all of the necessary nutrients you need. Not only does water help in the nutritional delivery process, but it can also help remove harmful wastes and toxins from the body at an expedited rate, improving every other bodily function in the process.

Exercise Often

All centenarians discussed their active youths and put emphasis on the fact that they were still physically active to an extent, even in their present age. Whether it's weight-lifting, dancing or just taking a walk around the block, it is critical to remain physically active in order to improve the way your body functions as a whole. Physical activity trains the body's muscles and internal systems to always perform at their peak. Though there are numerous regimens and plans to maintain an active lifestyle, experts believe that as long as the body is moving, it doesn't matter what exercises you do!

Stay Social

Keeping up with friends and family is crucial throughout life. Studies show that there are numerous physical benefits that come with social ones. Those who have friends to talk with and enjoy good times with have reportedly experienced fewer stress-related problems. When staying social, the body enjoys a reduced overall level of stress and anxiety. Though many individuals concern themselves with overt issues, few realize that stress can be a silent killer. With stress and anxiety levels managed, the body is stronger and better equipped to handle other concerns.

Be Positive!

Finally, and perhaps most unsurprisingly, many centenarians believed that it was their positivity that helped them live a long and fulfilling life. Positivity, much like keeping up with friends and family, is a great way to reduce stress and improve the way the body functions. When individuals are more positive, their immune systems operate at their peak, resulting in a greatly reduced risk for a wide number of issues, including all types of diseases. With a little bit of positivity, many elderly people found that it was easier to motivate themselves to live a healthier lifestyle, such as eating right and enjoying regular walks.