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Combat Your Vices with Vitamins

Being health conscious isn’t easy. Busy schedules, family, jobs, etc. all make it hard to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. While there isn’t a pill to make up for all the times we slack, there are pills that can help make up for the damage.

You Don’t Eat Green Vegetables

Greens provide valuable fiber and folate, but so do other vegetables, fruits, and grains. The potential risk is missing out on vitamins A and K, so eat plenty of other fruits and vegetables, particularly carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes, and lettuce.

Vitamin Fix: Take a multivitamin and eat the veggies you do like. Make sure the multi includes vitamins A, B6, and B12.

You Drink a Lot of Coffee and Soda

Moderate caffeine intake is okay, but excessive is linked to high levels of homocysteine, which raises heart risk.

Vitamin Fix: Increase your folate and B vitamin intake. If you can’t bear to cut back on the java, getting adequate amounts of folate, B6, and B12 will reduce homocysteine levels.

You Love Fast Food

Fiber can help. Women with consistent high-fiber diets have been shown to have a significantly lower risk of heart disease, as well as a lower risk of obesity.

Vitamin Fix: Add fiber to your order with a salad. Fiber should come from a variety of food sources, but following your next binge with a Metamucil chaser is an acceptable substitute.

You Don’t Like Dairy

Calcium is a great example of a supplement that’s practically as helpful as the actual food source. As long as you’re taking 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium each day—more than the amount in most multivitamins—you’re storing enough calcium in your bones to help stave off osteoporosis later.

Vitamin Fix: Dairy products are also rich in riboflavin, so if you don’t do dairy, make sure you’re getting 1.1 mg per day from other foods, such as lean meats, eggs, or almonds, or your multivitamin. Keep your bones healthy with adequate amounts of vitamins D and K.

You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Getting less than 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night affects your immune system.

Vitamin Fix: A multivitamin is great for your immune system. To feel more alert, nutritionists point to two basics—eat breakfast and drink plenty of water

You Don’t Exercise Much

Exercise is great for your heart, blood pressure, weight, and mood. But adding a daily dose of vitamin E, an antioxidant, will provide some of the same protection that exercise does from unstable molecules called free radicals, which can harm cells, tissues, and organs and are believed to be one of the causes of the degenerative processes seen in aging.

Vitamin Fix: Vitamin Fix: Add vitamin E to your diet. The current recommended daily allowance for women is 15 mg a day. The safe upper limit is 1000 mg.

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How Sugar Can Age Your Skin

We limit our sugar intake to maintain our weight, but we may have another reason to watch what we eat. Experts now believe that a lifetime of overeating sugar can dull and wrinkle the skin.

The cause seems to be a natural process called glycation, in which sugar in the bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The more sugar you consume, the more AGEs you develop. As AGEs accumulate, they harm adjacent proteins.

The most vulnerable proteins are collagen and elastin, the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. When these resilient proteins are damaged, they become dry and brittle, which leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. These effects begin around age 35 and rapidly increase after that.

The good news is it’s never too late to turn back the clock. Here are several ways to fight the AGEs and keep skin supple and young looking:

Cut Back on Sugar

It’s hard to eliminate sugar completely, but you can limit added sugar. A good rule is to keep added sugar to no more than 10% of total calories.

Avoid Hidden Sugar

Watch out for the hidden sugar in food. It goes by many names: sucrose, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrate, high fructose corn syrup, galactose, dextrose, lactose, molasses, organic brown rice syrup, etc.

Take Vitamin Supplements

Vitamins B1 and B6 have proven to be potent AGE inhibitors. They’re both prevalent in food, but taking a multivitamin ensures you’re getting the daily value.

Wear Sunscreen Every Day

AGEs occur more significantly in exposed skin than protected skin. Wear sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and protects against UVA and UVB rays.

Increase Antioxidants Inside and Out

Antioxidants help keep sugar from attaching to proteins, so replenish their supply by eating foods like blueberries, raisins, kale, Brussels sprouts, and walnuts. Apply skin care products that contain antioxidants such as green tea, grapeseed oil, and vitamins C and E.

Protect Skin from Sugar

A growing number of skincare products contain compounds like aminoguanidine and alistin, which have shown to block the formation of AGEs. Aminoguanidine attaches to molecules that start the glycation process and prevents them from binding to collagen and elastin. Alistin acts as a decoy, so it gets damaged instead of the proteins in your skin.

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7 Tips to Stop Overeating Always Eat Breakfast

It’s true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also the easiest to skip. Eating fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the morning has shown to keep you more satisfied throughout the day. Skipping breakfast causes hunger to build and potentially requires larger meals to satisfy. To help avoid skipping breakfast, try preparing breakfast the night before or keep a stash of food at work. You should also eat when you feel hungry. Don’t force yourself to eat at 6 a.m. Eating at 9 or 10 a.m. is okay and will help you stay in control later in the day.

Eat Slowly

Eating your meals slowly will help you feel full faster and keep you from overeating. Studies show that it can take 12 or more minutes for food satisfaction signals to reach the brain in a thin person. It can take 20 or more minutes for those that are overweight. Eating slower ensures that these messages have time to reach the brain before you move past full to feeling stuffed. Take your time and enjoy the flavor of your food.

Drink Water

Drinking water just before you sit down to your meal can help reduce your appetite. The water will fill up your stomach and make you feel more full. When you consume actual food, you will eat less. Remember to eat slowly and savor your food.

Eat More Often

Don’t avoid food. Skipping a meal can lower your blood sugar level and cause you to crave food more. When you do actually eat, you will probably eat too much because your hunger pangs are so strong. Don’t go more than five hours with without food. Eating smaller meals more frequently can keep your hunger cravings in check.

Spoil Your Appetite

Having a snack or appetizer before your meal can help fill you up, so you’ll eat less. Just make sure your choices are healthy. Filling up on junk food, empty calories, or food high in fat defeats the purpose of trying avoiding overeating. Healthy snacks can also help control hunger during the day, so you don’t gorge during lunch or dinner.

Choose Satisfying Foods

Foods high in fiber, protein, and water content are more likely to satisfy your hunger cravings than food high in calories. Natural fiber can be found in apples and carrots and whole grain bread, pasta, and rice. Lean protein choices include egg whites, tuna, and skinless chicken. Black beans, chickpeas, and edamame are low in fat and high in fiber and protein.

Pay Attention

Don’t eat in front of the television or your computer or while driving. When you are concentrating on other things, the chances of overeating are increased. Rushing through a meal tends to prevent our brains from registering a full fealing. It’s better to focus on your meal and recognize when you’ve had enough.

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