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Tone Up in 4 Minutes With This Full-Body Pilates

Curtsy-Hops

Short on time but looking for big results? Fortunately, this Pilates workout from Burn Pilates founder Lisa Corsello combines cardio with toning moves that work multiple muscle groups at once, giving you a better burn in less time. Do these four moves in four minutes and you’ll have worked your whole body in about the same time as a commercial break.

Full-Body Pilates
Image Source: Lisa Corsello
Lunge Hops
  • Begin in a low lunge, anchoring through your front heel.
  • Push off your front heel and the ball of your back foot to jump while extending your arms behind you.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds on each leg.
  • Modification: For a low-impact modification, pulse in the low lunge position. It will get your heart rate up and you’ll really feel your legs!
Image Source: Lisa Corsello
Standing Oblique Crunches
  • With your hands behind your head and elbows wide, put your weight on your right foot and reach your left leg out to the side as you tilt to the right.
  • Keeping your weight on your right leg, exhale as you draw your left knee toward your left elbow and engage your left side. Return to standing. This completes one rep.
  • Repeat for 20 reps on each side.
  • Modification: Break this movement up into two completely separate moves. Keep both feet on the ground while you draw your left elbow toward your left hip 10 times and then stay upright while bringing your left knee up and out to the side 10 times.
Image Source: Lisa Corsello
Curtsy Hops
  • Externally rotate both legs slightly and bend both knees to come into a curtsy lunge.
  • Engage your entire lower body and extend your arms behind you as you jump up and land back in the curtsy lunge. Draw your inner thighs together at the top of the hop for an extra burn.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
  • Modification: Just like with Lunge Hops, come into a deep curtsy lunge and pulse for 30 seconds on each side.

 

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5 Easy Ways To Prevent Stretch Marks During Pregnancy

prevent-stretch-marks

When a woman is pregnant, a lot of changes happen to her body. One of such changes is the appearance of stretch marks. For some women, it is only when they are pregnant these marks appear while for others they don’t have to be pregnant.

Stretch Mark Photo

Although stretch marks are very easy to get, they are not difficult to get rid of. The only thing women fear is the stigma, especially from men. Some men say that they dislike stretch marks. Whatever the case may be, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency, shares 5 ways to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

Keep your body hydrated

Your body needs to be hydrated for maximum skin elasticity. Skin elasticity is the skin’s ability to stretch and then go back to normal. So, drinking between 8 and 12 cups of water daily can help skin elasticity and thus prevent these stretch marks. Generally, it is not good for pregnant women to be dehydrated.

Use moisturizers and creams

Creams and moisturizers can be used to keep the skin moist and damp. It is advisable to use creams that contain Vitamin E or Vitamin A. This types of cream cannot cause any damage to the skin and can also prevent these marks. You should use it preferably after having your bath. Important, avoid using harsh chemicals on your skin.

Don’t eat for two

Yes, you are carrying an extra life in your belly and the temptation or craving will be there to eat for two. You don’t need to eat for two no matter how hungry you are. You should eat enough that will satisfy you. The only thing you need to do is to eat a balanced diet. Eating for two or eating too much during pregnancy can cause stretch marks.

Exercise during pregnant

Not all pregnant women will be disposed to exercise during pregnant. But it is good you try to do it as exercising help retains skin elasticity by improving the circulation. There is no gainsaying that the exercises you perform should not be intense.

Gain weight gradually

This is perhaps the quickest way to get stretch marks. The faster you gain weight, the more you are vulnerable to stretch marks. You should follow your doctor’s recommendation for slowly gaining weight. Usually, women add weight when pregnant.

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Smart Tips To Help You Sleep Faster and Better

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Adults need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. But, due to circumstances that is usually within their control, they don’t get this recommended amount of sleep. Even when they do, they wake up tired and with a headache.

This means they didn’t sleep well and as a result, their eyes are always begging and pleading for sleep. When they can’t control it, you find them sleeping in commercial buses, at work and dangerously behind the car steering. This shouldn’t happen to a gentleman or beautiful lady like.

Simply follow these tips shared by Jumia Travel, the leading online booking agency to help you sleep faster and better.

Set your environment

The way you set your environment will definitely determine how well you sleep especially at night.  For you to sleep better and faster, you should switch off phones, and light bulb as well as get rid of outdoor noises like the one from your generator. In addition to this, the temperature in the room is important. You can never sleep well in a room that is hot. You should leave your windows open for fresh air to come in.

Clear blocked nostrils before sleeping

When you sleep, you breathe in less air compared to when you are wide awake. Consequently, if your nostrils are blocked, the oxygen flowing into your body will be very limited. Thus affecting your sleep. So, if your nostrils are blocked, you should clear them before you sleep. To make it easier, you should buy an inhaler.

Maintain a regular sleep schedule

There are quite a number of factors that will prevent you from maintaining a regular sleep schedule, especially, if you reside in Lagos. Nevertheless, you can do it of you put your mind to it. You can decide sleep 9 or 10 pm daily depending on when you return from your everyday hustle. This body will automatically tailor itself to this schedule and you will sleep well. But the day you miss this schedule, it is back to complain that you don’t get enough naps. Regular exercise can also help you reset your body to fit into the schedule.

Think less

You can think about anything and everything during the day. But in the night, or whenever you want to sleep, you should think less or get rid of these thoughts if you seriously want to sleep faster and better.

Change your bed and pillow

Your bed and pillow have a vast role to play in how well you sleep. There are now orthopedic beds that can help you sleep better. So, if you don’t sleep well, you should probably change your bed and pillow.

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13 Powerful Home Remedies for Acne Problem

blonde-pointing-to-acne-on-her-face

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, affecting an estimated 85% of people at some point in their lives.

Conventional acne problem treatments can be expensive and often have undesirable side effects like dryness, redness and irritation.

This has prompted many people to look into how to cure acne naturally at home. The internet is filled with suggestions, but do natural treatments actually work?

This article explores 13 home remedies for acne problem that are backed by science.

Blonde Pointing to Acne Problem on Her Face

What Causes Acne?

Acne problem starts when the pores in your skin get clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

Each pore is connected to a sebaceous gland, which produces an oily substance called sebum. Extra sebum can plug up pores, causing the growth of a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.

Your white blood cells attack P. acnes, leading to skin inflammation and acne. Some cases of acne problem are more severe than others, but common symptoms include whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.

Many factors contribute to the development of acne problem, including genetics, diet, stress, hormone changes and infections.

Below are 13 home remedies for acne problem that you might want to try.

1. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar in a Decanter

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples.

Like other vinegars, it is known for its ability to fight many types of bacteria and viruses (1, 2, 3).

Apple cider vinegar contains several organic acids that have been shown to kill P. acnes (4, 5).

In particular, succinic acid has been shown to suppress inflammation caused by P. acnes, which may prevent scarring (6).

Also, lactic acid has been shown to improve the appearance of acne scars (7, 8).

What’s more, apple cider vinegar may help dry up the excess oil that causes acne problem in the first place.

How to Use It

  1. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water (use more water for sensitive skin).
  2. After cleansing, gently apply the mixture to the skin using a cotton ball.
  3. Let sit for 5–20 seconds, rinse with water and pat dry.
  4. Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.

It is important to note that applying apple cider vinegar to your skin can cause burns and irritation, so it should always be used in small amounts and diluted with water.

Summary: The organic acids in apple cider vinegar may help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce the appearance of scars. Applying it to the skin may cause burns or irritation, so it should be used carefully.

2. Take a Zinc Supplement

Zinc is an essential nutrient that’s important for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism and immune function.

It is also one of the most studied natural treatments for acne problem. Research shows that people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those with clear skin (9).

Several studies have shown that taking zinc orally helps reduce acne.

In one study, 48 acne patients were given oral zinc supplements three times per day. After eight weeks, 38 patients experienced an 80–100% reduction in acne (10).

The optimal dosage of zinc for acne has not been established, but several studies have shown a significant reduction of acne using 30–45 mg of elemental zinc per day (11, 12, 13).

Elemental zinc refers to the amount of zinc that’s present in the compound. Zinc is available in many forms, and each one contains a different amount of elemental zinc.

Zinc oxide contains the highest amount of elemental zinc at 80%.

The recommended safe upper limit of zinc is 40 mg per day, so it is probably best to not exceed that amount unless under the supervision of a medical doctor. Taking too much zinc may cause adverse effects, including stomach pain and gut irritation.

It is also important to note that applying zinc to the skin has not been shown to be effective. This may be because zinc is not effectively absorbed through the skin.

Summary: Individuals with acne problem tend to have lower zinc levels than people with clear skin. Several studies show that taking zinc orally can significantly reduce acne.

3. Make a Honey and Cinnamon Mask

A Pot of Honey and Cinnamon

Both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants (14, 15, 16, 17, 18).

Studies have found applying antioxidants to the skin is more effective at reducing acne than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids (19, 20, 21, 22).

These are two common acne medications for the skin that have antibacterial properties.

The antioxidants studied were vitamin B3, linoleic (omega-6) fatty acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), which is a vitamin C derivative.

These specific antioxidants are not found in honey or cinnamon, but there is a possibility that other antioxidants may have a similar effect.

Honey and cinnamon also have the ability to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two factors that trigger acne (23, 24, 25).

While the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties of honey and cinnamon may benefit acne-prone skin, no studies exist on their ability to treat acne.

How to Make a Honey and Cinnamon Mask

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together to form a paste.
  2. After cleansing, apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10–15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the mask off completely and pat your face dry.

Summary: Honey and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Because of this, they may be beneficial for acne-prone skin.

4. Spot Treat With Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Australia.

It is well known for its ability to fight bacteria and reduce skin inflammation (26).

What’s more, several studies show that applying 5% tea tree oil to the skin effectively reduces acne (27, 28).

When compared to 5% benzoyl peroxide, 5% tea tree oil did not act as quickly, but it did significantly improve acne after three months of use (29).

It also resulted in fewer adverse effects like dryness, irritation and burning, compared to benzoyl peroxide.

Tea tree oil is very potent, so always dilute it before applying it to your skin.

How to Use It

  1. Mix 1 part tea tree oil with 9 parts water.
  2. Dip a cotton swab into the mixture and apply it to affected areas.
  3. Apply moisturizer if desired.
  4. Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.

Summary: Tea tree oil has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying it to the skin has been shown to reduce acne.

5. Apply Green Tea to Your Skin

Green Tea in Two Glass Cups

Green tea is very high in antioxidants, and drinking it can promote good health.

There aren’t any studies exploring the benefits of drinking green tea when it comes to acne, but applying it directly to the skin has been shown to help.

This is likely because the flavonoids and tannins in green tea are known to help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two main causes of acne (30, 31, 32).

The major antioxidant in green tea — epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) — has been shown to reduce sebum production, fight inflammation and inhibit the growth of P. acnes in individuals with acne-prone skin (33).

Multiple studies have shown that applying a 2–3% green tea extract to the skin significantly reduces sebum production and pimples in those with acne problem (34, 35, 36).

You can buy creams and lotions that contain green tea, but it is just as easy to make your own mixture at home.

How to Use It

  1. Steep green tea in boiling water for 3–4 minutes.
  2. Allow tea to cool.
  3. Using a cotton ball, apply tea to skin or pour into a spray bottle to spritz on.
  4. Allow to dry, then rinse with water and pat dry.

You can also add the remaining tea leaves to honey and make a mask.

Even though there isn’t any evidence that drinking green tea can fight acne, some research suggests it may still be beneficial.

For example, drinking green tea has been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne (37).

Summary: Green tea is high in antioxidants that help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. Applying green tea to the skin has been shown to significantly reduce acne.

6. Apply Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is extracted from the bark and leaves of the North American witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana. It contains tannins, which have strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (38, 39).

That’s why it’s used to treat a broad range of skin conditions, including dandruff, eczema, varicose veins, burns, bruises, insect bites and acne.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies on the ability of witch hazel to treat acne specifically.

However, there are several studies that show applying witch hazel to the skin can fight bacteria, reduce inflammation and help with healing (40, 41, 42, 43).

How to Use It

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon witch hazel bark and 1 cup water in a small saucepan.
  2. Soak witch hazel for 30 minutes and then bring the mixture to a boil on the stove.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and let sit for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Strain and store the liquid in a sealed container.
  6. Apply to clean skin using a cotton ball 1–2 times per day, or as desired.

You can also buy witch hazel extract at most health food stores, but it is important to note that commercially prepared versions may not contain tannins, as they are often lost in the distillation process.

Summary: Applying witch hazel to the skin has been shown to fight bacteria, reduce inflammation and help heal the skin. It may be beneficial for individuals with acne, but more research is needed.

7. Moisturize With Aloe Vera

Fresh Aloe Vera Leaves With Water Drops

Aloe vera is a tropical plant whose leaves produce a clear gel.

The gel is often added to lotions, creams, ointments and soaps. It’s commonly used to treat abrasions, rashes, burns and other skin conditions.

When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal wounds, treat burns and fight inflammation (44).

Aloe vera also contains salicylic acid and sulfur, which are both used extensively in the treatment of acne (45).

Several studies have shown that applying salicylic acid to the skin significantly reduces acne (46, 47, 48, 49, 50).

Similarly, applying sulfur has been proven to be an effective acne treatment (51, 52).

While research shows great promise, the anti-acne benefits of aloe vera itself require further scientific evidence.

How to Use It

  1. Scrape the gel from the aloe plant out with a spoon.
  2. Apply gel directly to clean skin as a moisturizer.
  3. Repeat 1–2 times per day, or as desired.

You can also buy aloe vera gel from the store, but make sure it is pure aloe without any added ingredients.

Summary: When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal wounds, treat burns and fight inflammation. It may be beneficial for individuals with acne-prone skin, but more research needs to be done.

8. Take a Fish Oil Supplement

Pile of Fish Oil Capsules

Omega-3 fatty acids are incredibly healthy fats that offer a multitude of health benefits.

You must get these fats from your diet, but research shows that most people who eat a standard Western diet don’t get enough of them (53).

Fish oils contain two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA benefits the skin in several ways, including managing oil production, maintaining adequate hydration and preventing acne (54, 55).

High levels of EPA and DHA have been shown to decrease inflammatory factors, which may reduce the risk of acne (56).

In one study, 45 individuals with acne were given omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing both EPA and DHA daily. After 10 weeks, acne decreased significantly (57).

There is no specific recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, but most health organizations recommend healthy adults consume a minimum of 250–500 mg of combined EPA and DHA daily.

You can also get omega-3 fatty acids by eating salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, chia seeds and ground flaxseeds.

To learn more about fish oil supplements, check out this article.

Summary: Fish oils contain EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a fish oil supplement may help decrease acne.

9. Exfoliate Regularly

Young Girl Doing Her Skin Care Regime

Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells. It can be achieved mechanically by using a brush or scrub to physically remove the cells. Alternatively, it can be removed chemically by applying an acid that dissolves them.

Exfoliation is believed to improve acne by removing the skin cells that clog up pores.

It is also believed to make acne treatments for the skin more effective by allowing them to penetrate deeper, once the topmost layer of skin is removed.

Unfortunately, the research on exfoliation and its ability to treat acne is limited.

Some studies show that microdermabrasion, which is a method of exfoliation, can improve the skin’s appearance, including some cases of acne scarring (58, 59).

In one small study, 25 patients with acne received eight microdermabrasion treatments at weekly intervals. Based on before and after photos, this helped improve acne (60).

96% of the participants were pleased with the results and would recommend the procedure to others. Yet while these results indicate that exfoliation may improve acne, more research is needed.

There are a wide variety of exfoliation products available in stores and online, but it’s just as easy to make a scrub at home using sugar or salt.

How to Make a Scrub at Home

  1. Mix equal parts sugar (or salt) and coconut oil.
  2. Scrub skin with mixture and rinse well.
  3. Exfoliate as often as desired up to once daily.

Summary: Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells. It may reduce the appearance of scars and discoloration, but more research needs to be done on its ability to treat acne.

10. Follow a Low Glycemic Load Diet

Shopping Basket Full of Fruit and Vegetables

The relationship between diet and acne has been debated for years.

Recent evidence suggests that dietary factors, such as insulin and glycemic index, may be associated with acne (61).

A food’s glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly it raises blood sugar.

Eating high-GI foods causes a spike in insulin, which is thought to increase sebum production. Because of this, high-GI foods are believed to have a direct effect on the development and severity of acne.

Foods with a high glycemic index include white bread, sugary soft drinks, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, candies, sugary breakfast cereals and other processed foods.

Foods with a low glycemic index include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole or minimally processed grains.

In one study, 43 people followed either a high- or low-glycemic diet. After 12 weeks, the individuals consuming a low-glycemic diet had a significant improvement in both acne and insulin sensitivity, compared to those eating carb-dense foods (62).

Another study with 31 participants yielded similar results (63).

These small studies suggest that a low-glycemic diet may be helpful for individuals with acne-prone skin, but further research is needed.

Summary: Eating high-glycemic foods may increase sebum production and contribute to acne. More research is needed to determine whether a low-glycemic diet can effectively treat or prevent acne.

11. Cut Back on Dairy

The relationship between dairy and acne is highly controversial.

Drinking milk and consuming dairy products exposes you to hormones, which may cause hormonal changes and lead to acne (64).

Two large studies reported that higher levels of milk consumption were associated with acne (65, 66).

However, participants self-reported the data in both of these studies, so more research needs to be done in order to establish a true causal relationship.

Summary: Some studies found a positive association between drinking milk and acne. Limiting milk and dairy consumption may be a good idea for those with acne-prone skin, but more research needs to be done.

12. Reduce Stress

Exercise Mat

The hormones released during periods of stress may increase sebum production and skin inflammation, making acne worse (67, 68, 69).

In fact, multiple studies have linked stress to an increase in acne severity (70, 71).

What’s more, stress can slow wound healing by up to 40%, which may slow the repair of acne lesions (72).

Certain relaxation and stress-reduction treatments have been shown to improve acne, but more research needs to be done (73).

Ways to Reduce Stress

  • Get more sleep
  • Engage in physical activity
  • Practice yoga
  • Meditate
  • Take deep breaths

Summary: Hormones that are released during times of stress can make acne worse. Reducing stress may help improve acne.

13. Exercise Regularly

Exercise promotes healthy blood circulation. The increase in blood flow helps nourish the skin cells, which may help prevent and heal acne.

Exercise also plays a role in hormone regulation (74, 75).

Several studies have shown that exercise can decrease stress and anxiety, both of which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne (76, 77, 78).

It’s recommended that healthy adults exercise for 30 minutes 3–5 times per week. This can include walking, hiking, running and lifting weights.

Summary: Exercise promotes healthy blood circulation, regulates hormones and helps reduce stress.

The Bottom Line

Acne is a common problem with a number of underlying causes. However, conventional treatments can cause dryness, redness and irritation.

Fortunately, many natural remedies can also be effective. The home remedies listed in this article may not work for everyone, but they just might be worth a try.

Nevertheless, you may want to consult a dermatologist if you have severe acne.

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7 Reasons to Eat More Citrus Fruits

citrus-fruit-in-bowl

Sweet, brightly colored citrus fruits bring a burst of sunshine into winter days. But citrus fruits are not only flavorful and pretty — they’re also good for you.

This class of fruits includes lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit, as well as many more hybrids and varieties.

They have a bunch of health benefits, from boosting immunity to fighting cancer.

Read on to find out 7 reasons to eat citrus fruits.

Citrus Fruit in a Bowl

What Are Citrus Fruits?

Citrus fruits grow on flowering trees and shrubs. They are characterized by a leathery rind and white pith that encases juicy segments.

They’re native to Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia and possibly Southeast Asia (1).

Nowadays, they are cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates all over the world. Major production hubs include Spain, Brazil, China, the US, Mexico and India (1).

Interestingly, nearly a third of all citrus fruits are used to make juice (1).

You can find all kinds of citrus fruits year round. The peak season for oranges and grapefruits in the Northern Hemisphere is between mid-December and April.

Here are some popular varieties of citrus fruits:

  • Sweet oranges: Valencia, navel, blood orange, cara cara
  • Mandarins: Satsuma, clementine, tangor, tangelo
  • Limes: Persian, key lime, kaffir
  • Grapefruit: White, ruby red, oroblanco
  • Lemons: Eureka, Meyer
  • Other kinds: Citron, sudachi, yuzu, pomelos

Read on for 7 reasons to add these fruits to your diet.

1. They’re Rich in Vitamins and Plant Compounds

Cut Oranges

Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient that strengthens the immune system and keeps your skin smooth and elastic (2, 3, 4, 5).

In fact, just one medium orange has all the vitamin C you need in a day (6).

Citrus fruits also have good amounts of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function properly, including B vitamins, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper (7).

Additionally, they are rich in plant compounds that have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

These compounds include over 60 varieties of flavonoids, carotenoids and essential oils, and they are responsible for many of citrus fruit’s health benefits (7, 8).

Summary: Citrus fruits are very nutritious, offering a host of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that help keep you healthy.

2. They’re a Good Source of Fiber

Citrus fruits are a good source of fiber. Just one cup of orange segments contains four grams of fiber (6).

To put that in perspective, it’s recommended that you consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you eat. It’s estimated that only 4% of men and 13% of women in the US get that amount (9).

Fiber has several health benefits, including improving digestive health and aiding weight loss.

Oranges are particularly high in soluble fiber, the kind of fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels (10).

Compared to other fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits are unique in that they have a higher ratio of soluble to insoluble fiber (11).

Summary: Citrus fruits are good sources of soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and aids digestion.

3. Citrus Fruits Are Low in Calories

Slices of Citrus Fruits

If you’re watching your calorie intake, citrus fruits are a good choice.

They’re low in calories, yet their water and fiber contents help fill you up.

Here’s how many calories the main kinds of citrus fruits contain (6, 12, 13, 14, 15):

  • 1 small clementine: 35
  • 1 medium orange: 62
  • 1/2 pink grapefruit: 52
  • 1/2 white grapefruit: 39
  • Juice from 1 lemon: 12

What’s more, a 2015 study that looked at people’s eating habits and weight over 24 years found that eating citrus fruits was linked to weight loss (16).

Summary: Citrus fruits are low in calories, making them a smart choice for people seeking to lose or maintain their weight.

4. They May Reduce Your Risk of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are painful mineral crystals.

They can form when your urine is very concentrated or when you have higher-than-normal amounts of stone-forming minerals in your urine.

One type of kidney stone is caused by low levels of citrate in urine.

Many fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, can raise the levels of citrate in your urine, lowering the risk of kidney stones (17).

Drinking citrus juices and eating these fruits can offer a natural alternative to potassium citrate supplements.

According to data on American eating habits over the last 40 years, kidney stones are more common in people who eat fewer citrus fruits (18).

Summary: Eating citrus fruits may help lower the risk of kidney stones in some people by raising citrate levels in urine.

Before you continue, check out these 29 Healthy Green Vegetables that Actually Speed Fat Loss

5. They May Help Fight or Protect Against Cancer

Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit and Mandarins

Many studies have linked citrus fruits to a reduced risk of certain cancers (1).

In one study, people who ate one grapefruit or drank one serving of grapefruit juice daily had a lower risk of lung cancer (19).

Other studies have suggested that citrus fruits may also protect against esophageal, stomach, breast and pancreatic cancers (20, 21, 22, 23).

These fruits contain a host of plant compounds, including flavonoids, that may help protect against cancer (8).

Some of these flavonoids act as antioxidants and may block the expression of certain genes that are responsible for some degenerative diseases, including cancer (8).

Citrus fruits may also help fight cancer by suppressing cancers, blocking the formation of new cancers and making carcinogens inactive (8).

Summary: Citrus fruits have been widely studied for their protective effects on a variety of cancer types.

6. They Contain Nutrients That Boost Heart Health

Lime

Eating citrus fruits could be good for your heart.

In fact, a Japanese study found that people who ate higher amounts of these fruits had lower rates of heart disease and stroke (24).

Furthermore, a 2017 review suggests that grapefruits are linked to a decrease in systolic blood pressure (25).

Several compounds in citrus fruits can improve markers of heart health.

For example, their soluble fiber and flavonoids may improve cholesterol levels by raising “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (7).

And many of the flavonoids in citrus fruits, including one called naringin, are strong antioxidants that benefit the heart in several ways (26).

Summary: Many compounds in citrus fruits can benefit heart health by improving cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure.

7. They May Protect Your Brain

The flavonoids in citrus fruits may help ward off neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which result from the breakdown of cells in the nervous system.

In part, these diseases are caused by inflammation.

Flavonoids found in citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory capabilities that are thought to help protect against the chain of events that causes the nervous system to deteriorate (27, 28).

Specific types of flavonoids, including hesperidin and apigenin, have been shown to protect brain cells and improve brain function in mice and test-tube studies (27).

Several studies in older adults have also shown that citrus juices may boost brain function (29, 30, 31).

Summary: Citrus fruits and juices may help boost brain function and protect the brain from neurodegenerative disorders.

The Downside of Citrus Fruits

While the overall picture of citrus is pretty rosy, there are a few potential downsides.

High Amounts Could Cause Cavities

Eating lots of citrus fruits or juices could increase the risk of cavities. That’s because the acid in citrus fruits erodes tooth enamel (32, 33).

This is a particular risk if you sip on lemon water all day long, bathing your teeth in acid.

Interestingly, certain compounds in citrus peels may combat the bacteria that cause dental cavities, although more research is needed to see how that information could be used (34).

Talking about lemon water, check out this 12 Health Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water You Probably Didn’t Know About

Fruit Juice Isn’t as Healthy as Whole Fruit

Small Glass of Orange Juice

While orange and grapefruit juices contain lots of vitamin C and other nutrients often found in whole citrus fruits, they’re not quite as healthy.

That’s because a serving of juice delivers much more sugar and way less fiber than a serving of whole fruit (6, 35).

There are a couple reasons why that’s a problem.

First, more sugar per serving translates to more calories. Drinking fruit juice and other high-calorie beverages can cause you to gain weight (36).

Second, when your body takes in large amounts of fructose (the type of sugar in fruit juice), it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and delivered to your liver (37).

If your liver gets more fructose than it can handle, it turns some of the extra fructose into fat. Over time, those fat deposits can cause fatty liver disease (38).

Getting fructose from whole fruit is not a problem, given that you’re getting a smaller amount at a time. Plus, the fiber found in fruit buffers the fructose, causing it to be absorbed more slowly into your bloodstream.

Grapefruit Can Interact With Certain Medications

Eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice can be a problem if you take certain medications.

There’s an enzyme in your gut that reduces the absorption of certain medications. Furanocoumarin, a chemical in grapefruit, binds to this enzyme and keeps it from working properly.

As a result, your body absorbs more medication than it’s supposed to (39).

Furanocoumarin is also found in tangelos and Seville oranges (the kind used for marmalade).

There are several prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are affected by grapefruit, including (40):

  • Some statins, for high cholesterol, including Lipitor and Zocor
  • Some calcium channel blockers, for high blood pressure, including Plendil and Procardia
  • Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug
  • Some Benzodiazepines, including Valium, Halcion and Versed
  • Other medications, including Allegra, Zoloft and Buspar

Summary: While citrus fruits are generally healthy, they can have some drawbacks. Their acid can erode tooth enamel and grapefruit can interact with some medications.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons to eat citrus fruits.

They’re nutritious and contain plant compounds that can protect against a variety of diseases, including cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction and kidney stones.

But aim to consume whole fruits, rather than a lot of fruit juice, as its high sugar content can lead to problems.

Overall, citrus fruits are healthy, low in calories and convenient to eat. Most people could benefit from adding more citrus to their diet.

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Research: Boost Your Brain Power by Eating These Things

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The harsh reality is that we’re not getting any younger, and with aging come consequences, like losing your mental acuity. Ever forget names?

OK, I’ll speak for me. But it does happen more frequently now that I’m north of 40. You meet someone over lunch, perhaps a prospective new client or a possible new business partner.

Two days later, uh, was his name John? Jeff? Or Jake? None of the above, actually. Jerod (his real name) calls me back and I have no idea who I’m talking to for the first 30 seconds. Not good.

The Research on Slowing Down Your Cognitive Decline

It’s inevitable, right? We will all eventually lose our minds. Luckily, science is on our side to slow things down. There are critical steps you can take to substantially increase the chances that your brain will be staying sharp and functioning at a high level, well into old age.

And it has everything to do with what you put in your body.

For starters, a study of more than 3,700 people found that consuming at least 1.6 milligrams of copper (found in fish, nuts, legumes, potatoes and chocolate) a day can slow down mental decline by the equivalent of 19 years.

Another study had researchers following 27,860 people in 40 countries for an average of about five years. People with the healthiest diets were 24 percent less likely to have cognitive decline than people with the least healthy diets.

What You Need to Eat for a Healthy Brain

If you want to protect your brain against memory loss so you’re super sharp everyday for years to come, Nourish & Heal magazine writer Jonny Bowden, Ph.D, CNS, recommends feeding your brain these healthy options:

Blueberries

Bowden references research by James Joseph, a scientist at Tufts University. Joseph says blueberries help neurons in the brain communicate with one another more effectively, something every brain needs for coordination and balance, but naturally declines as we age. Blueberries actually “turn on” the signals for the brain to process things faster.

Foods rich with Niacin

On your next visit to the grocery store, fill up your shopping cart with eggs, liver, fish, broccoli, asparagus, tomatoes, turkey breast, mushrooms, tuna, peanuts, brown rice, and green peas. Or just click here for more ideas. As it turns out, these niacin-rich foods have been correlated to a slower annual rate of cognitive decline in some research.

Coconut Oil

We can’t forget our fats either. And coconut oil is awesome because the fats convert in the body to ketones–which acts like “rocket fuel” for the brain. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and author of Grain Brain, gives ketogenic diets the thumbs up for brain power.

Foods Rich in Phosphatidylserine

If you can stomach bovine brain, phosphatidylserine has been shown to improve memory, cognition and mood. So, if you’re forgetting those important names like I am, it will help improve name recall, concentration, face recognition, and the ability to remember phone numbers and find misplaced objects! Who doesn’t need this? Oh, and if bovine brain is making you queasy just thinking about it, try Atlantic mackerel, chicken heart or liver, Atlantic herring, white beans, and tuna instead.

Spinach

It’s packed full of alpha lipoic acid, which helps boost memory. Bowden cites research by Bruce Ames, PhD, who performed experiments on aging rats. When given a combination of alpha lipoic acid and carnitine (see the next entry), the little critters performed better on memory tests and showed signs of vitality.

Lean Beef

Beef is one of the richest natural sources of carnitine, which is also linked to restoring memory. One 3-ounce serving of steak supples approximately 81 milligrams of the compound, aiding in energy metabolism and removing toxic compounds from cells.

Foods Rich in Vitamin B

A deficiency of vitamin B12 may lead to mental disorders including confusion, depression, memory loss, and impaired coordination, says Bowden. It’s common for the elderly to be deficient in B12. When researchers gave subjects injections of B12, they noted “striking improvements” in their cognitive function. Try swiss cheese, fortified breakfast cereals (all bran), skim milk, coconut or almond milk, crab, mackerel, and liver. If you’re vegan, start here.

Foods Rich in Choline

Better found in supplements (which may be labeled GPC, or by its full name–Glycerophosphocholine), research has linked it to sharpened mental performance, attention, and concentration, even in people who are healthy. Try beef liver, eggs, cod fish, milk, Brewer’s yeast, soybeans, cauliflower, spinach, kidney beans, quinoa, grapefruit, and brown rice. Click here for more ideas.

Bon appétit!

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10 Common Habits That Damages Your Kidneys Early

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This is very important, please take some minutes and read this powerful article below…
Kidneys are an essential part of the body’s purification system. For many reasons, it is imperative to take good care of the kidneys but several people are guilty of letting down this important organ.

Here are some of the common ways humans put their kidneys at risk.

1. Holding in urine
This might sound odd, but almost everyone does it. The urge often comes during a car ride, in the middle of a phone call, or when there isn’t a bathroom nearby.
Holding in urine on a regular basis increases pressure, which can lead to kidney failure and kidney stones. When nature calls, it’s best to listen.

2. Insufficient water intake
One of the important functions of the kidneys is to filter blood and get rid of toxins and waste materials that can harm the body.
When you don’t drink enough water, those toxins and waste materials start to accumulate, eventually causing severe damage.

3. High salt consumption
Regularly eating too much salt can also cause huge damage to your kidneys as well as other health problems. The kidneys metabolise 95 percent of the sodium consumed through food.
When salt intake is high, the kidneys need to work harder to excrete the excess salt. This, in turn, can lead to decreased kidney functioning, causing water retention in the body.
Water retention can cause a spike in blood pressure and increase the risk of developing kidney disease.

4. High protein diet
Consuming an excess of animal protein (especially red meat) increases the metabolic load on the kidneys.
The more animal protein one consumes, the harder the kidneys have to work, which can cause stress and lead to kidney damage.

5. Sugar overdose
Studies have shown that people who consume two or more sugary drinks a day are more likely to have protein in their urine.
Protein in urine is an early sign that the kidneys are not doing their job properly.

6. High caffeine consumption
Caffeine can raise blood pressure and put extra stress on the kidneys, just as salt can. Over time, excess coffee consumption (or caffeine consumption) may lead to kidney damage.
Drinking alcohol in excess
Drinking in moderation is fine, but excessive drinking can cause significant damage to your kidneys.
Alcohol is a toxin that puts a lot of stress on your kidneys and liver.

8. Smoking cigarettes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is bad for almost every organ of the body, including the kidneys. Several studies have shown the connection between smoking and kidney disease.
Smoking increases blood pressure, reduces blood flow and narrows the blood vessels in the kidneys. It can even accelerate loss of kidney functions and worsen existing kidney diseases.

9. Regular use of analgesics
Many of us have the habit of taking analgesics (over-the-counter painkillers) to control pain and reduce fever and inflammation.
But this can damage different body organs, including the kidneys.

10. Sleep deprivation
Chronic sleep deprivation is linked to many health problems, including kidney disease.
The body works while sleeping to repair kidney tissue that may be damaged, so depriving the body of sleep makes it harder to heal.

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Boost Your Sexual Appetite With These 15 Foods

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Thеrе аrе ѕеvеrаl reasons fоr loss оf sexual appetite, thе foods discussed bеlоw wоuld hеlр boost уоur sexual appetite.

Boost Yоur Sexual Appetite Wіth Thеѕе 15 Foods

Bananas

On іtѕ own, thе shape оf bananas іѕ libido-inspiring. Bеttеr still, banana соntаіnѕ аn enzyme knоwn аѕ bromelain, whісh іѕ believed tо increase libido аnd reverse impotence іn men. Additionally, thеу аrе good sources оf potassium аnd B vitamins lіkе riboflavin, whісh increase thе body’s оvеrаll energy levels, ѕауѕ Professor оf Physiology аt thе University оf Florida, Penelope Perkins-Veazie.

Avocado

Avocado doesn’t јuѕt lооk lіkе testicle, іt аlѕо соntаіnѕ high levels оf folic acid, whісh helps metabolise proteins, thuѕ giving уоu mоrе energy. Reproduction specialist, George Brewer, notes thаt avocado аlѕо containsvitamin B6 (a nutrient thаt increases male hormone production) аnd potassium (which helps regulate а woman’s thyroid gland), twо elements thаt hеlр increase libido іn bоth men аnd women.

Watermelon

Watermelon соntаіnѕ citrulline, аn amino acid thаt relaxes blood vessels thеrеbу increasing уоur sex drive. Thеrе hаvе bееn multiple attempts tо introduce L-citrulline іn natural health supplements, however, cells absorb thе active ingredient frоm unpasteurized watermelon juice bеttеr thаn supplements оr еvеn plain water spiked wіth thе compound, suggesting thе watermelons аrе thе optimal delivery medium.

Nuts

Nuts аrе а prime source оf essential fatty acids. Thеѕе аrе vital, аѕ thеу provide thе raw material fоr а man’s healthy production оf hormones .

Dates

Vеrу popular іn thе Northern parts оf Nigeria, dates аrе packed wіth amino acids fоr sexual stamina аѕ wеll аѕ а good dose оf fruity sugars whісh mаkе thеm sweet аnd аn amazing pickup.

Eggs

A Professor оf Medicine аt Harvard Medical School аnd Boston University School оf Medicine, Christos Mantzoros, ѕауѕ eggs аrе high іn vitamins B6 аnd B5, whісh hеlр tо balance hormone levels аnd fight stress, twо thіngѕ thаt аrе crucial tо а healthy libido. Eggs аrе аlѕо а symbol оf fertility аnd rebirth.

Celery

Celery mау nоt bе thе food оf choice thаt уоu dream оf whеn thinking sex, but іt іѕ а great source food fоr sexual stimulation. Celery соntаіnѕ thе hormone androsterone, а naturally occurring steroid fоund іn human sweat аnd urine whісh іѕ released thrоugh perspiration. It’s odorless, but іt signals “maleness” аnd virility аѕ а pheromone. It basically signals thе brain centers іn women tо increase thеіr sexual appetite whеn triggered. Celery іѕ bеѕt eaten raw аnd ѕhоuld nеvеr bе cooked.

Garlic

Whіlе уоu don’t wаnt tо bе stinking оf garlic durіng а passionate lip lock, garlic соntаіnѕ allicin, аn ingredient thаt increases blood flow tо thе sexual organs. Thіѕ trick doesn’t work overnight hоwеvеr аѕ уоu nееd tо consume іt fоr аbоut а month tо reap іtѕ rewards.

Figs

Figs аrе excellent sources оf amino acids thаt increase libido. Thеу саn аlѕо improve sexual stamina. Amino acids play а vital role іn normal sexual function аnd wіll hеlр increase thе level оf nitric oxide іn thе body. Thе fig іѕ ѕаіd tо increase sexual stamina аѕ wеll аѕ hаvіng а sexual appearance, flavour аnd smell tо heighten аll оur senses tо improve оur mood аnd lеt оur libido rise frоm thеіr slumber. Packed wіth potassium, manganese, аnd antioxidants, thіѕ fruit аlѕо helps support proper pH levels іn thе body.

Ginger

“In thе 21st century, thоѕе оf uѕ whо knоw аbоut botanical-ceuticals knоw thаt ginger helps circulation temperature adjustment, mucoid detoxification аnd аlѕо а libido enhancer. Whеthеr raw, іn supplement form, оr added tо уоur favorite recipe оr drink, ginger аlѕо lends іtѕеlf tо defense аgаіnѕt winter’s hard cold аnd flu season. Bесаuѕе trуіng tо gеt frisky wіth а runny nose nеvеr ends wеll

Chocolate

Chocolate соntаіnѕ theobromine — аn alkaloid thаt іѕ vеrу similar tо caffeine. It аlѕо соntаіnѕ phenylethylamine, а chemical believed tо produce thе feeling оf “being іn love.” Experts add thаt dark chocolate hаѕ а massive amount оf anti-oxidants, whісh аrе great fоr thе body іn general, аѕ thеу hеlр maintain thе immune system.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds аrе high іn zinc, whісh іѕ important fоr testosterone production іn men аnd helps boost libido. Thеу аrе аlѕо high іn omega-3 fatty acids, whісh act аѕ а precursor fоr prostaglandins, whісh play а key role іn sexual health. Thеу аrе аlѕо great fоr prostate health! Thе oil іn pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination thаt hарреnѕ wіth аn enlarged prostate.

Salmon

Nutritionists ѕау salmon іѕ а great source оf thе omega-3 fatty acids EPA аnd DHA thаt hеlр maintain thе fluidity оf оur cell membranes. Brewer ѕауѕ thеу kеер оur cardiovascular systems healthy bу reducing inflammation, preventing excessive blood clotting, аnd keeping fats іn thе blood аt healthy levels. Thе ѕаmе omega-3 fats аrе аlѕо fоund іn оthеr fatty fish lіkе tuna, black cod, halibut, аnd mackerel, nutritionists say.

Chillies

If уоu lіkе іt hot аnd spicy, thіѕ оnе wіll bring а smile оn уоur face! Chillies соntаіn capsaicin, а chemical whісh аlѕо increases blood flow аnd triggers thе release оf mood-enhancing endorphins thаt naturally pump uр уоur libido. Chili peppers аrе аlѕо а heart-healthy food.

Green vegetables

Fresh spinach аnd оthеr green vegetables соntаіn high amounts оf chlorophyll, whісh purifies thе blood аnd helps tо increase blood flow. Sоmе аlѕо соntаіn essential fatty acids lіkе omega 3 аnd 6. They’re а rich source оf vitamins, including thе fat-soluble A аnd K, аnd C, аѕ wеll аѕ minerals thаt kеер thе body rich іn alkaline аnd improve energy levels.

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The 7 Fitness apps to get you moving in the new year

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Have a New Year’s resolution to get in shape but abhor the gym? Fitness apps may be the solution.

Technology has advanced greatly, and current fitness apps provide people with much better access to information, said Jeana Anderson Cohen, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor who founded and operates the fitness website www.asweatlife.com.

“These apps and programs, videos and tools allow them to be efficient with their time and their bodies,” she said.

And a gym membership isn’t needed, either. “If you have a body, you have a gym,” Cohen said.

While there aren’t as many new fitness apps being created because of the rise of wearable fitness devices like Fitbit, which create their own motivations and experiences for users, fitness trainers picked their favorite new and established apps to help anyone with a smartphone get exercising.

7 Fitness apps to get you moving in the new year

Cody.

This new subscription-based app has videos of certified trainers leading classes. Many of the classes focus on flexibility and strengthening exercises like yoga and Pilates, but it also has weightlifting and nutrition classes, with single classes and series available. Cohen is especially pleased the videos show trainers with varied body types, and the videos are accessible to people of all fitness levels.

“They also have body-weight workouts that are accessible to anyone no matter where they are,” she said.

Stepbet.

One of the easiest ways to start a new fitness regime is to simply walk more. Dr. Bridget Scott, of Scott Chiropractic, recommended a new walking game app from the founders of DietBet called StepBet. Users bet against themselves on personalized targets, and they can win money when they reach their goals. The competition angle can be a catalyst to get sedentary people moving, she said.

“When there’s money and competition involved, there’s motivation. And you can’t cheat because the Fitbit tracks your progress,” Scott said.

Sworkit.

Cohen and Scott said Sworkit’s videos are good for beginners, although they’re accessible to anyone with fitness goals. Scott said it’s her favorite recent app. “It’s free, simple and can be customized to your body type and specific needs. I love the variety of strength, stretching, cardio, Pilates and yoga options, all with no gym or necessary equipment. It also syncs with MyFitnessPal and Google Fit, among others.” Scott said. Free and subscription versions are available.

Spotify Running.

The music app Spotify has been around for a while, but recently it added a section devoted to runners. It uses an algorithm to create special playlists based on the user’s movement. Tracy Chudnow, chief sweat officer at WheelPower Studio, swears by it.

“This app measures your running pace and then finds songs with a beats-per-minute to match it. For me, it’s all about being on the beat and losing myself in the music. This app helps with that,” she said. Free or subscription versions are available.

Zombies Run!

Need some distraction while exercising? Christian Koshaba, owner of Three60fit Gym, says this interactive game app is fun and offers a high-intensity workout. Users listen to a story and pick from 200 “missions” or create their own interval training. “(Users) gather supplies, plot rescues and survive in the end times while getting in a great workout,” he said.

Daily Workouts Free.

For beginners who don’t know where to start and aren’t ready to commit funds, Lisa Payne, a personal trainer who works with private and corporate clients, likes Daily Workouts Free, a no-frills app. “It’s just 10 workouts and covers the basics. It’s very short. It’s great for people who want to get up early in the morning and get something in,” she said.

Fitness Buddy.

For people who want to know the “why” behind their exercise, Payne recommended subscription-based app Fitness Buddy. Not only does it have a multitude of exercises, it shows users the muscle groups being worked and other exercises to compliment the moves, making it very educational. Plus there’s a community where users can discuss what they’ve been doing.

“They may tell you how to do a squat, but also the biomechanics behind it and what I need to improve on, and it gives proper form. Form is really huge, so people don’t get injured. It’s like having a personal trainer in your house without having to hire one,” Payne said.

Debbie Carlson is a freelance writer.

The article Fitness apps to get you moving in the new year appeared first on ChicagoTribune

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5 Shocking Side Effects Of Diabetes You Need To Know

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Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both.

Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).

Today, we are going to be discussing some shocking side effects of diabetes which I bet you didn’t know so, just sit tight and let’s dig in.

5 Shocking Side Effects Of Diabetes You Need To Know

Gum disease

People with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease, an infection of the gum and bone that can lead to painful chewing problems and tooth loss. “This is due in part to elevated blood sugar that modifies the collagen in all of our tissues,” Rodbard says. “It’s also due to a slight increase in susceptibility to infections of all kinds.”

The two conditions have been so strongly linked that simply having gum disease may be a sign of future type 2 diabetes. In a Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health study of 9,000 people, those with higher levels of periodontal disease were nearly twice as likely to become diabetic within the next two decades than people without gum disease, even after adjusting for age, smoking, obesity, and diet.

Unfortunately, it’s a negative feedback loop: Not only does diabetes make gum disease worse, but gum disease—specifically inflammation of the gums or development of deep abscesses—can raise blood sugar and make diabetes harder to control, according to Hamdy. To prevent periodontitis, brush and floss daily and consider using a mild antiseptic mouthwash such as Listerine to knock out any lingering plaque.

Sex difficulties

Up to 75% of men with diabetes will experience some level of erectile dysfunction in their lifetime, according to the American Diabetes Association. “Erectile dysfunction can be psychological or due to reduced testosterone,” Hamdy says, noting that low testosterone is common among people with diabetes, especially if they’re obese.

“However, in patients with a long duration of diabetes, changes in blood vessels and nerve supply to the penis could be the cause.” If you have diabetes, are over age 40, and have been having trouble with your male equipment, see your doctor to get your serum total and your free testosterone levels checked.

If both are normal, Hamdy suggests looking at other causes related to blood vessels and nerve supply. Middle-aged and older women with diabetes also tend to have sexual issues, according to a 2012 study of nearly 2,300 women published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, likely because nerve damage can impair lubrication and the ability to achieve orgasm.

Hearing loss

Another major side effects of diabetes is hearing loss, while we all tend to lose some hearing as we age, hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes as in the general population, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Even in people with prediabetes—a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes—the rate of hearing loss is 30% higher than average.

Diabetes may lead to hearing loss by damaging the small blood vessels in the inner ear, the same way it impairs blood vessels in the eyes and kidneys, the study authors suggest. The best way to protect your hearing is to keep your blood sugar levels in check, Rodbard says.

In fact, in a 2012 study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, older women with uncontrolled diabetes had more hearing loss than women the same age who had well-controlled diabetes, though the protective effect did not seem to hold true for men.

Skin infections

Having diabetes hikes your risk for all kinds of skin issues, including bacterial infections such as boils and urinary tract infections, fungal infections, and itching.

“Fungal infections, especially yeast infections, are so common that they may even be the first sign of diabetes in someone who hasn’t yet been diagnosed,” Hamdy says.

In some cases, skin infections can be tied to obesity, because there are “moist places between skin folds that may breed bacteria and fungi, including candida,” Rodbard says, and because the immune system may be weakened.

Unfortunately, several of the newer, go-to diabetes medications (of the SGLT-2 class of drugs, including canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and empagliflozin) clearly increase the risk of fungal infections of the genitalia, Hamdy says, because they enhance glucose excretion in urine, fueling growth of bacteria and fungus.

While yeast infections are more common in women, they’re markedly on the rise in men. Controlling blood sugar levels helps with prevention, but once you have an infection, seek out the usual treatments: over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams and suppositories, to be used as directed.

Obstructive sleep apnea

This potentially serious sleep disorder, in which the throat muscles intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep, affects around 50% of people with diabetes, Hamdy says, especially those who are obese and have a collar size of more than 17 for men and 16 for women.

The most obvious sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is audible snoring. Unfortunately, like gum disease, “sleep apnea may worsen diabetes control,” Hamdy says, possibly because the two conditions share risk factors. Also like gum disease, having OSA can suggest the possibility of future diabetes.

A 2014 study in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that severe OSA increases a person’s risk of developing diabetes by 30% or more.

Treatment for OSA may involve using a device to keep your airway open at night or wearing a mouthpiece that thrusts your jaw forward. In severe cases, surgery can help by altering the structure of the nose, mouth, or throat.

Now we’ve educated ourselves with some of the shocking side effects of diabetes, now it’s time to make good use of it! Let us know what you think via the comment section and you’re welcome to click any of the share buttons below.

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