How to Eat More Fruit and Veggies Every Day

If we’re being honest, most people would say that they would much rather have a bowl of ice cream than a bowl of vegetables. If you still struggle with eating your recommended daily amount of fresh fruit and veggies, these simple tips will help make it a bit easier.

  1. Make a smoothie. To jump-start your fruit and veggie intake first thing in the morning, blend them into a smoothie to start your day. Add any fruit that you have around the house, and even toss in some spinach or cucumber for a boost of veggies that you likely won’t even notice.
  2. Keep frozen veggies on hand. If you’re unsure of how to prepare vegetables with your meal, keep a few bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer. That way, you can simply pop them into the microwave come mealtime.
  3. Think more veggies than protein. If you don’t like to weigh and measure everything that you eat, keep in mind that your vegetables should always be the largest portion on your plate.
  4. Have fruit for dessert. If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, switch out your usual chocolate for a plate of fresh fruit. It packs the same sweet punch, and by making this healthy switch, you won’t have to skip dessert entirely when you’re on a diet.

6 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables [Live Science]
22 Easy Ways to Eat Fruits and Veggies Every Single Day [Organic Life]
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables [American Heart Association]

3 Health Benefits of Strength Training Exercises

Even if you don’t plan on bulking up or competing in weight lifting competitions any time soon, strength training is a crucial part of any exercise regimen. Here are three great reasons to incorporate weight training into your workouts.

  1. It promotes strong bones. Weakening bones is a concern that all people have to face as they age. The stress that strength training puts on your bones increases their density and prevents osteoporosis, keeping you strong and healthy as years pass.
  2. It helps to control your weight. While you might relate weight loss with intense cardiovascular workouts, strength training is just as important if you want to lose weight. Gaining muscle increases your metabolism and causes your body to burn calories more efficiently.
  3. It gives you more energy. Like all workouts, strength training increases your stamina and helps you to stay alert and focused. After a few weeks of regular weight lifting or body weight exercises, you’ll notice that you feel more energized throughout the day. Some scientific studies even show that years of regular strength training exercises help to sharpen your focus and keep your mind attentive as you age.

Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier [Mayo Clinic]
7 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workout Routine [Everyday Health]
Benefits of Strength Training [Body Building]

Meet Your Fitness Goals With These Plateau-Busting Tips

The dreaded exercise plateau is something that almost all people experience during their workout routine. You start seeing positive results after months of dedicated workouts, but then seemingly out of nowhere, the results just stop and you’re left wondering what to do next. If you’re in the middle of a workout plateau, use these simple tips to get back on track toward meeting your fitness goals.

  • Track your meals. If you used to eat whatever you wanted but started seeing results once you started eating a bit healthier, you might hit a plateau after you eat in a moderately healthy way for a few months. You’ll need to monitor your calorie intake a bit more thoroughly to continue losing weight.
  • Add intensity. When you continue doing the same workout for a few months, it will start to get easier as you become more fit. Ramp up the intensity of your cardio workouts and you’ll continue seeing results.
  • Elongate workouts. If your current workouts are 30 minutes or less of vigorous physical activity, try working out longer to increase results.
  • Cross-train. Many people love cardio while others love strength training, so combine the two into a cross training program to break out of your plateau.
  • Rest. Instead of working out every day, add a couple days of rest per week to let your muscles rebuild and become stronger as a result of your workouts.

Overcoming a Fitness Plateau [American Heart Association]
11 Reasons You’re Not Breaking Training Plateaus [Men’s Fitness]
What To Do When You Hit a Plateau [Nerd Fitness]
How to Break Through a Strength Training Plateau [Greatist]

How to Ensure You’re Safely Serving and Preparing Eggs

Eggs are essential ingredients in a number of dishes, but they can also be dangerous to your health if handled incorrectly. To reduce your risk of salmonella and other diseases that come from eggs, follow these important guidelines.

  1. Shop smart. The first step toward healthy egg care is inspecting your eggs in the grocery store for cracks or dirty appearance. Also be sure to only purchase eggs that are stored in a refrigerated case.
  2. Store them properly. Eggs should be stored in a clean spot in the refrigerator at 40°F or lower.
  3. Cook them thoroughly. If you’re preparing scrambled eggs or another egg dish, be sure that both the yolk and white are firm and that the egg reaches a temperature of 160°F. Never eat batter or dough containing raw eggs before it's cooked or baked.
  4. Store egg dishes properly. Dishes made of only eggs cannot be stored, so be sure to eat them immediately after cooking. If you prepare something else that contains eggs, always keep it refrigerated.
  5. Keep it clean. Even if you use the utmost care when handling eggs, it’s essential to wash your hands, cooking and prep surfaces, and any utensils thoroughly to remove any traces of eggs. Wash hands and utensils with hot, soapy water, and scrub kitchen countertops with bleach or another germ-killing product.

Playing It Safe With Eggs [FDA]
Eggs & Food Safety [Incredible Egg]
Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Salmonella from Eggs [CDC]

3 Health Benefits of Sunscreen

Sunscreen protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, but did you know that sunscreen also has a number of other positive effects on your health? Here are just three of the most beneficial qualities of wearing sunscreen.

  1. It prevents the appearance of aging. In addition to protecting you from sunburn, sunscreen prevents against the brown spots and discoloration that form on your face as you age. Without those dangerous UV rays, your skin also forms wrinkles and red veins much less quickly.
  2. It protects against cancer. Most people know that sunscreen prevents sunburn, but this protection lessens your risk of developing skin cancer, as well. Every sunburn that you sustain throughout your life increases your risk for melanoma, so it’s important to wear sunscreen every time you’re in the sun.
  3. It provides extra protection for those who take medications. Many medications make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so if you take a regular prescription, it’s especially important to apply sunscreen. These types of medications include anti-inflammatory, acne, or cardiovascular medicines, but it’s not limited to just these drugs. Be sure to read the label on any prescription that you begin taking, and ask your doctor or dermatologist for more information.

Sunscreen Benefits: 5 Reasons You Should Always Wear It [HuffPost Style]
The Benefits of Using Sunscreen [Speaking of Women’s Health]
Sunscreen Can Slow Skin Aging, Study Suggests [Live Science]

Imponderable of the Day: Why Does Looking at the Sun Make You Sneeze?

It’s a very curious sensation: You’re inside a dark room for a bit too long and when you step back outside into the bright sunlight, you suddenly feel a sneezing fit coming on. What’s the deal?

Staring at the sun makes about 20 to 35 percent of humans sneeze, and although scientists have a general idea of what causes this sensation, it’s still a very confusing conundrum. The phenomenon, which is known as “photic sneeze reflex,” is actually a genetic trait, which is why it only affects a small percentage of people. These people have visual systems that are more sensitive than those of other people, causing them to become agitated by the sunlight and send panicked responses to all of the nerves in the face, including the somatosensory system, which controls sneezing!

Now, go ahead and impress your friends with this new tidbit of information!

Looking at the Sun Can Trigger a Sneeze [Scientific American]
Why does bright light cause some people to sneeze? [Scientific American]
Does the sun make you sneeze? It's not just you [NBC News]
How Staring at the Sun Can Make You Sneeze [Gizmodo]

What Are Your Tips for Cooking the Perfect Omelet?

Omelets are seemingly simple breakfast foods that are deceptively difficult to make. If you’re all too accustomed to overcooked, broken omelets, these seven expert tips will help show you how to flip one like a pro. And if you have your own omelet cooking tips, be sure to share them!

  1. Use the proper tools. For best results, use a skillet that’s 8 or 9 inches in diameter, plus a heatproof spatula and an egg whisk.
  2. Assemble the ingredients. A standard omelet uses two or three eggs per person, as well as whichever veggies, meats, or cheeses that you prefer. Be sure to chop and prepare your toppings in advance!
  3. Add a splash of water to your eggs. Before adding the other ingredients, whisk a splash of water into the eggs. This will help ensure a light, fluffy omelet.
  4. Heat the skillet. Heat your skillet to medium-high heat and coat the bottom with unsalted butter.
  5. Add the eggs. Add just the eggs to the pan first and let the edges set for about 10 seconds. Pull the now-set edges in toward the center and rotate the pan to disperse the raw egg.
  6. Add toppings. Gently sprinkle the toppings on the surface of the eggs.
  7. Fold. Fold only one side of the omelet in toward the center. Once it’s done cooking, fold the other side by tilting the skillet. Flip the whole thing face down onto your plate to complete the perfect omelet.

How to Make the Perfect Omelet [Food Network]
How to Make the 'Perfect' French Omelet [Instructables]
How to Make an Omelet [Organic Valley]

Health Benefits of Low-Sodium Diets

If you want to take control of your health and your weight, one of the most important things to consider is your sodium intake. Sodium can cause you to pack on pounds and put you at risk for cardiovascular disease or hypertension, as well as a number of other health risks. These simple facts will show you how dangerous sodium can be and advise you on how to cut back on your sodium intake.

Many people should keep their sodium intake at 1,500 mg per day or less.
If you’re over 51 years old, no matter your current quality of health, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. You should also stick to this number if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, or if you’re African American.

The large majority of your sodium intake comes from processed foods.
While many people assume that sodium comes from adding salt to your food, this is incorrect. Processed foods include incredibly large amounts of sodium, even if you might not be able to taste it.

Follow the DASH diet plan.
DASH, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertensions, aims to cut sodium in your diet to help you prevent hypertension and high blood pressure. By following these helpful guidelines, your low-sodium diet will become much easier.

Low Salt, Low Sodium, and the DASH Diet [The DASH Diet Eating Plan]
Low-Sodium Diet [WebMD]

How to Warm Up and Cool Down Before and After a Workout

Warming up and cooling down is just as important as the working out that you do in between if you want to prevent cramping and maximize your results. Pushing your body to its maximum exertion without any warning is never good, but these simple and effective tips will help you to gradually prepare for exercise and come down from it once you’re finished.

  1. Go for a walk. If you’re an avid runner or power walker, walking is a simple yet effective way to warm up for your workout. Walking briskly for 10 minutes will get your heart rate up enough for an afternoon run, while walking slowly for 10 minutes is enough for a long walk.
  2. Do your chosen activity at a slower pace. Whether you’re preparing for a cycling class or some cardio kickboxing, leave enough time to do that same activity for a few gentle minutes beforehand.
  3. Reduce your heart rate. To cool down after a cardio workout, walk slowly for as long as it takes for your heart rate to gradually return to normal.
  4. Stretch. Stretching is most effective when your muscles are already warmed up, particularly after your exercise. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and avoid bouncing or jerking in order to gently reach your full range of motion.

How to Warm Up And Cool Down [Quick and Dirty Tips]
Aerobic exercise: How to warm up and cool down [Mayo Clinic]
Warm Up, Cool Down [American Heart Association]

Easy Ways Be More Productive at Work

Even the most model of employees is susceptible to the 3 p.m. slump. But that doesn't necessarily mean productivity has to suffer. Check out these three tips for improving your workflow at the office.

1) Let your body dictate the day.
It's likely that your energy levels take a nosedive at certain times during the workday, while other times you feel lively and awake. Take mental note of these ebbs and flows in energy, and plan your day's tasks around them. Schedule routine tasks for when your energy dips, and plan tasks requiring more brain power during the hours when you're feeling more lively.

2) Don't multitask.
If you get everything done at once, you'll have more time to complete other tasks, right? Not really. It's impossible for your brain to devote equal attention to multiple tasks being performed simultaneously; you'll be more apt to make mistakes, which will cost you valuable minutes somewhere down the line.

3) Take a break.
You probably feel pressure to soldier on through your lunch break, but staying chained to your desk is actually counterproductive. Instead, aim to take five minute breaks every two hours. Walk around, stretch, and get outdoors, if you can. This will improve blood flow and help you feel more energized.

10 Easy Ways To Be More Productive At Work [Forbes]
11 Ways To Be More Productive At Work [AskMen]
10 Ways to be More Productive at Work [U.S. News]

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