Check Out These 4 Stress-Busting Tips and Tricks

Occasional stress is normal for all people, but too much stress can start to become a hindrance on both your work performance and your happiness. Here are a few simple ways that you can beat stress before it even starts to happen.

  1. Catch it in advance. Take note of things that make you feel stressed so that you can handle them before they get worse. For example, if you frequently feel stressed out about your email inbox because you know how quickly it can build up, set aside a few minutes each morning to devote to tackling those emails.
  2. Control your body language. Your physical behavior plays a large role in your stress levels. If you chew your fingernails, you encourage more stress, but if you sit up straight, take deep breaths and fake a smile, it can have a positive effect on your mood.
  3. Unplug. If you obsessively check your phone all day at work, that behavior can carry over into your personal life. Turn off your phone after you leave the office, and avoid checking your email until you go back to work the next morning.
  4. Be decisive. If you’re stressed out about the thought of making an important decision, get it out of the way. The more you let something stew the more it can build up in your mind, so do whatever you can to decide on a solution and move on.

15 Easy Ways to Bust Work Stress [MSN]
7 Ways to Bust Stress [SheKnows]
Easy Ways to Bust Stress [Bubblews]
Top 10 Instant Stress Busters [Lifehacker]

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4 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Tea

Whether you prefer a soothing green or an English breakfast with a splash of milk, tea is a delicious treat that can be enjoyed a number of different ways. Even the most experienced tea drinker may not know everything about this steaming beverage, so here are a few fascinating tea facts.

  1. The word “tea” comes from the Chinese word “t’e,” which refers to the plant from which tea leaves are sourced. It's believed that tea was first discovered in China around 2737 B.C., when emperor Shen Nong found that a few leaves fell from the tree into water that his servants were boiling.
  2. All teas, from black to green to oolong, come from the same camellia sinensis plant. Their leaves are plucked from the same bush, but the fermenting process gives them their unique styles. Interestingly enough, herbal teas do not come from this plant because they are not true “teas” at all.
  3. Tea wasn’t grown in countries outside of China until the 19th century. Today, China still supplies around 29 percent of the world’s total tea, although its residents are not the biggest consumers. The United Arab Emirates takes that title, with each individual citizen consuming an average of 14 pounds per year.
  4. Green tea is considered the healthiest of all teas, and some even call it a “superfood.” Studies show that regularly drinking green tea may prevent against heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and diabetes!

Tea Facts [UK Tea & Infusions Association]
10 Interesting Facts About Tea [Food Network]
Tea Fact Sheet – 2013 [Tea Association of the U.S.A. Inc.]
26 Things You Didn't Know About Tea [Fine Dining Lovers]

Reduce Your Sodium Intake With These Helpful Tips

Though many people count calories to try to lose weight, monitoring your sodium intake is another important consideration. Consuming too much sodium can also put you at risk for cardiovascular disease and hypertension, so limiting your intake will keep you healthy in more ways than one. If you want to begin a low-sodium diet and take control of your health, these tips can help.

  • You don’t need to cut out sodium completely, just limit your intake. A good number to go by is 2,000 mg per day.
  • Foods can still be high in sodium even if they don’t taste salty. Learn to read the labels on your food to make sure you know how much sodium it contains.
  • If you find it challenging to monitor your sodium intake, start a food journal. List the foods you consume at each meal or snack, and record the sodium content in each one.
  • Many seemingly healthy foods contain too much sodium. Try to purchase whole, raw produce instead of canned vegetables, as the canned versions are often packed in a liquid containing sodium. Also use fresh poultry or meats instead of canned or processed versions.
  • Choose herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends to add flavor without adding sodium.
  • Read the labels of your canned or frozen foods. Many brands offer low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions of foods you already eat.

Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet [NIH]
Low Sodium Diet Guidelines [Cleveland Clinic]

Think Beyond Citrus With These Surprising Sources of Vitamin C

You probably remember your parents telling you to drink orange juice as a child because it provided you with Vitamin C, but do you really understand the benefits of this miracle vitamin? Vitamin C boosts your immune system to prevent you from getting sick, and it provides beneficial antioxidants that keep you looking and feeling your best. Here are a few lesser-known sources of Vitamin C.

  1. Red bell peppers. One small red bell pepper actually provides even more Vitamin C than a cup of orange juice, and it contains only four grams of the carbohydrates that many citrus fruits are high in. In fact, a juicy bell pepper actually provides 203% of your recommended daily value of Vitamin C.
  2. Strawberries. If you want to extend your Vitamin C search to fruits outside of the citrus family, strawberries are a great option. One cup contains 97.6 milligrams of Vitamin C, which is about 130% of your daily value. Even more conveniently, the same amount of frozen strawberries offers 105.6 milligrams of beneficial C vitamins.

10 Surprising Sources of Vitamin C [Doctor Oz]
Surprising Sources of Vitamin C [d Life]

First Aid Kit Essentials

Even for minor emergencies like cuts and bruises, it's a great idea to keep a well-stocked first aid kid stored somewhere accessible in your home. Here are some essential items to include:

Tweezers
For everything from a splinter to an ingrown hair, tweezers are a commonly forgotten item that work wonders for everyday injuries.

Thermometer
When you or your little one comes down with a nasty cold, a thermometer can tell you when it’s time to go to the doctor.

Triple-antibiotic ointment
For small cuts, burns or insect bites, antibiotic ointment kills harmful germs that cause infection.

Asprin or other painkillers
T
hese provide relief for headaches or muscle pains. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label and be aware of any allergies, too.

Flashlight
If the power ever goes out, a good flashlight is a must. Keep batteries, too, if it's battery-powered, or consider getting a flashlight powered by a hand-turned crank.

Adhesive bandages
Get a variety of sizes to fit in difficult areas, like the finger or knee.

First aid instruction book
If it unexpectedly becomes necessary, you'll be glad to have had this on hand!

First Aid Essentials Checklist [Real Simple]
Anatomy of a First Aid Kit [Red Cross]
Everyday Care [Healthy Essentials]
First-Aid Kit Essentials [Parents.com]

Tips for Healthy Snacking

Your little ones love sugary cookies, while you just can’t resist a savory snack every now and then. If you’re looking for healthier snacks for the whole family that still tasty and satisfying, these tips from the NIH can help you find them.

  • Create healthier versions of your favorite snacks. Instead of your usual cheese and crackers, substitute low-fat cheese and whole-grain crackers. Instead of buttery, salty movie theater popcorn, make some fat-free or low-fat popcorn.
  • Make healthier dessert choices. Instead of your usual homemade milkshake, blend a banana, ice and low-fat chocolate milk for a chocolate smoothie that’s still delicious.
  • Choose smarter condiments. Sauces and other toppings can add fat and empty calories to an otherwise healthy snack. Instead of cheese, choose salsa, and instead of regular ranch dressing opt for a fat-free variety.

For more healthy snacking tips, visit the NIH website.

Exercise Your Brain With These Websites

Whether you’re in your sixties or your twenties, maintaining good brain function is important to all people. Your brain is stimulated at work or school, but you likely don’t work all parts of the brain in a given day. These fun and challenging online activities will help work out your mind and even track your progress along the way.

Brain Metrix
The Brain Metrix website works just like a gym for your brain, with different exercises to improve different areas. Memory games will help you with everyday tasks like remembering a person’s name, while reflex tests will help you to make fast decisions with ease. Brain Metrix also offers free games of Sudoku and an IQ test on top of their effective exercises.

AARP’s Brain Games
Designed specifically for senior citizens, the AARP’s database of brain teasers aims to help maintain necessary brain function. With a large selection of memory, problem solving, and language games, this site will work out every part of the brain. The games allow you to adjust the skill level based on your experience, and they also use bright colors and a large format that’s easy to see and to navigate. 

Get More Active With These Tips from Fitness.gov

Getting enough physical activity may seem like a chore, but it becomes much less daunting when you build it into your every day routine.

These fun tips from Fitness.gov will show you how to meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity every day, without making fitness feel like hard work!

  • Incorporate physical activity into something you already do. If you take the bus to work, make it a goal to walk to the bus stop every morning. Or, instead of using a riding lawn mower, resolve to use a push mower instead.
  • Replace your afternoon coffee break with an outdoor walk. It has the same stimulating effects as caffeine, and it helps to burn calories.
  • Include your family or friends. Some people need encouragement from others to stick to a workout schedule, and it makes working out a lot more fun.

Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any fitness plan!

For more tips for staying active, visit Fitness.gov.

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Simple Ways to Get More Active

Make a resolution to get more exercise this year? Not sure where to start? A fitness plan can help you build frequent exercise into your regular schedule and help you become more physically fit over time. Here are three simple weekly plans from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Moderate Intensity
This weekly workout plan combines 5 days of brisk 30-minute walks with 2 days of weight training. The whole thing equals 150 minutes of cardio, and it takes only 30 minutes out of your day.

Vigorous Intensity
If you prefer short, intense workouts, this plan recommends a 25-minute jog for just 75 minutes each week. These 3 weekly jogs combined with 2 days of weight training equal a full week of workouts.

Alternate Intensities
This plan recommends working out every day, but some workouts are just 15 minutes long. Alternating 30-minute walks, 15-minute jogs and simple weight training workouts will help you get into great shape.

For more workout tips and tricks for meeting your fitness goals, use the tools on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Public Domain/Public Domain

FDA Tips on Using Dietary Supplements

Before choosing a dietary supplement, there are some important facts to consider. With all the different supplements on the market, it's important to do your research before deciding if the supplement is right for you. The FDA has some things to consider before reaching for that supplement.

Consider if you actually need to take a supplement. 
Most nutrients and vitamins can be obtained by eating a healthy diet. Supplements are not a substitute for eating a variety of healthy foods; they can just help deliver a nutrient you are lacking.

Getting too much of some vitamins can be harmful.
It may be a good idea to speak with a health care professional before starting a supplement. Some medicines can harmful react with certain supplements, so be aware of any possible interactions.

The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements. 
Manufacturers are responsible for making sure the product is safe before placing it on the market. Search reputable websites for information on supplements and remind yourself: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

· Tips for Dietary Supplement Users  [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]

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