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4 Health Myths Medical Professionals Wish You’d Stop Believing

Anna Smith

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Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have a tough and rewarding line of work. They spend a lot of their time educating patients like us about how to best care for our bodies and how to develop healthy habits. Here are some of the silliest things doctors hear from patients that they want to correct:  

1. Myth: Brushing before a dental cleaning will hide the fact that you don’t regularly brush and floss.

Ladies, don’t try to fool us! How many times have you brushed for 10 minutes straight in preparation for an upcoming dental cleaning? We hate to break it to you, but your dentist and oral hygienist can tell. Damage to the enamel, gums and tongue cannot—despite your best efforts—be removed in one session of vigorous brushing and flossing. Listen to your dentist. Brush your teeth twice a day, morning and night, and floss once a day. If you don’t, you risk gum disease, which according to Frank Wanat Dental Cleaning, “can cause bleeding, swelling, bad breath, pain, receding gums and tooth loss. But it doesn’t always stop there….Gum disease causes a buildup of bacteria in deep pockets between the teeth and gums. That bacteria can transfer to your bloodstream when gums bleed, putting you at a much higher risk to develop the following health problems: stroke; respiratory disease; heart disease; diabetes; ulcers; osteoporosis; arthritis; and pre-term births.” Those sound like things to avoid! Remember to brush and floss regularly, folks.

2. Myth: Don’t eat before a swim!

How many times did we hear this growing up? “Don’t eat before getting into the pool or you’ll get a cramp and drown,” is what our parents (or grandparents) would say. Melissa Conrad Stöppler at MedicineNet explains that “While it’s true that the digestive process does divert the circulation of the blood toward the gut and to a certain extent, away from the muscles, the fact is that an episode of drowning caused by swimming on a full stomach has never been documented.” So although our energy output may be lackluster from the food-baby we just created, we are not susceptible to cramps during our backstroke because of a tasty meal. If you do happen to get a cramp while swimming, it’s likely due to dehydration and overexertion. So hop on out of the water, get something cool to drink, and take a little break. You should be good as new in no time.

3. Myth: Swallowed gum takes years to pass through your digestive system.

Did you ever hear this in school as a child, or was it just us? Teachers would often scold their students and say, “If you swallow that, it’ll take 7 years to pass!” Sorry, Teacher, but that’s just not true. Nothing special happens to gum after it’s swallowed. According to the experts at Scientific American, some of the components of gum (like sweeteners) are digested, and the rubbery chewing gum base “probably passes through slower than most foodstuffs, but eventually the normal housekeeping waves in the digestive tract will sort of push it through, and it will come out pretty unmolested.” So there you have it. You can rest easy knowing that the gum you accidentally swallowed when you hiccupped two years ago isn’t still hanging around in your stomach or intestines. It is long gone.

4. Myth: Stretching will prevent injury.

This is a big one. Many of our coaches and athletic teachers told us to warm up before an exercise so that we may prevent injury and discomfort while going through the motions—wrong! According to research reported in this article by Pain Science, scientists and athletes are now finding that individuals who regularly stretch before another activity are more prone to injury. The next time you want to get a good workout or run under your belt, skip the stretching routine beforehand. Don’t get it twisted; stretching isn’t all bad. If you want to stretch, do it after workouts instead, or plan specific days for stretching. Just don’t use stretching as a precursor to a rigorous workout routine and expect it to lower your chances of injury.

So what did you think of these myths? Did the truth surprise you? Let us know in the comments below!

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Health & Fitness

Foods You Can Make Healthier from Scratch at Home

Anna Smith

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Foods You Can Make Healthier from Scratch at Home

Eating healthy can sometimes be a hassle. It is expensive to buy food that is certified organic, and those costs just continue to increase. As an alternative to buying expensive healthy foods, here are some that you can make from scratch at home.

Bread

One thing that you can make from scratch is bread. While you will have to most likely purchase specific bread pans, bread is one of the cheaper foods to make from home and has been by people for centuries. Bread, at its simplest, contains flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and water. There are dozens if not hundreds of recipes for making homemade bread. Most all of them however will require the presence of yeast, or saccharomyces cerevisiae. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is one of the oldest foods still used in the world, used in other foods like wine and other baked goods.

Yogurt

Homemade yogurt is an incredibly simple food to make, requiring just whole milk and a yogurt culture. Yogurt culture is a culture of bacteria that metabolizes the enzyme lactase, which is present in all milk products. This is why a lot of people who are lactose intolerant can eat yogurt with little to no problems. To make homemade yogurt, buy a yogurt culture, which can simply be a cup of your favorite plain yogurt brand, that you add to milk and let ferment overnight. There are many different variations that you can make, such as adding honey for a sweeter yogurt. Yogurt can also keep for up to a month in the fridge.

Granola

Granola is another good food that you can make healthier from scratch at home. There are dozens of variations of homemade granola, but each includes dry and wet ingredients. The dry ingredients include oats, almonds, coconuts, sunflower seeds, and anything else you might want to add. The wet ingredients form a syrup, which includes honey, butter or oil and vanilla that you warm up and then pour over the dry ingredients which are then spread into a pan and baked in the oven. Each recipe of homemade granola varies, but most agree that it is much simpler, less expensive, and very healthy compared to store bought granola.

While it does take a little extra effort to make food from scratch at home, it will pay off in the end because the food will be healthier and tastier than food from the store.

Here’s another article you might like: Vegetables That Are Healthier When Eaten Raw

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Vegetables That Are Healthier When Eaten Raw

Anna Smith

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assorted fruits at the market

It isn’t a secret that vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals. However, the way you eat them affects the number of nutrients that make it into your body. Some foods lose a good portion of their nutrients as soon as they are cooked. So before you turn on the pan, consider which vegetables may be better for you when eaten raw.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and other components that can fight cancer. Sulforaphane, for example, has been shown to discourage the growth of cancer cells in the colon. Furthermore, this substance has significant anti-inflammatory properties and may also protect against heart disease and overall system inflammation. Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are natural compounds present in broccoli, are known to reduce the chances of developing eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

One cup of raw broccoli provides high percentages of your daily recommended amount of certain vitamins and minerals. With all the nutrients that this vegetable provides, you should be eating it raw so you don’t miss out.

Carrots

Carrots are popular for their high content of carotenoids, such as beta carotene. The abundance of nutrients found in this vegetable can help fight cancer cells and stimulate the immune system. Moreover, they can also increase the number of red blood cells in the body and improve vision at night. Raw carrots have also been known to act as a natural toothbrush, whereas cooked carrots lack the rough texture that helps remove plaque from your teeth. Two medium raw carrots provide high amounts of vitamins that your body needs. Similarly to other vegetables, cooking carrots may lead to a loss of vitamin C and other nutrients.

Kale

Although it may not be as popular as other vegetables, kale is not lacking in nutrients. As an abundant source of fiber, calcium, and vitamin C, kale can match or sometimes even surpass spinach. Two cups of raw kale are enough to provide almost half of your recommended vitamin C. Kale also can provide a small amount of protein, vitamin A, and a vast number of antioxidants. However, cooking reduces the amount of vitamin C and antioxidants available. In other words, eating your daily dose of raw kale allows you to get the most out of this cruciferous vegetable.

Vegetables are a rich source of nutrients and phytochemicals that protect your body from the ravages of disease. Still, it is important to remember that some of them will benefit you more when consumed raw. Put them to the test, and always use moderate portions. Your body will thank you for it.

Looking for other ways to improve your diet? Check out Sneaky Ways to Stop Eating So Much Sugar

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Health & Fitness

How to Change Up a Fitness Routine That Has Gotten Boring

Anna Smith

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woman exercising indoors

If you’re like most people, you know that you should work out on the regular, and, also like most people, you probably have trouble wanting to work out sometimes. Often, this has to do with feeling bored with your workout routine. If you’re ready to mix it up again, try these three suggestions to take your workout from boring to booming.

Try New Equipment

Do you remember when you were a kid going to a new playground for the first time? You couldn’t wait to try the new contraptions. You probably spent hours going down the slide or climbing on the ropes. Getting a new piece of gym equipment has the potential to recreate those feelings of fun and wonder, particularly if you buy new equipment for your home gym.

When you get a new workout gadget, it often feels like you’re getting a new toy or discovering the slide at the playground for the first time. Take advantage of these feel-good boosts. They’ll make your workouts feel more fun and like less of a chore.

Work Out New Muscle Groups

Sometimes, routines get boring because they are always the same. If you’ve already added new equipment to your workout routine, why not concentrate on adding new muscle groups next? Here’s an example. Try exercises that work out your latissimus dorsi, one of your primary back muscles. This muscle often gets neglected, even though it’s one of the main muscles in your body’s core. Consciously choosing which muscles to work out makes you more aware of your body. New bodily awareness breaks up the routine, helping to alleviate feelings of boredom.

Work Out With a Partner

If you normally work out alone, partnering up with someone could add new life to your fitness routine. When you work out with a partner, you begin to feel a sense of rapport and camaraderie with your workout partner. This, in turn, prompts you to keep your workouts going because you don’t want to let your partner down. To add even more oomph to your partnered work out, try to exercise with someone who is better than you are. It’ll up your game because you’ll try to match your partner’s output.

Working out makes you feel better on a mind, body, and spirit level. If you’re doing the same workout day in and day out, you’re bound to feel bored. This could negate some of the benefits you get from working out and even make you stop working out altogether. Doing things like working out with a partner or changing up your routine in some way does away with your boredom and gets you excited about your workout again.

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