Dangers of Drinking Energy Drinks

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You may think nothing of picking up an energy drink for a quick, tasty afternoon pick-me-up, in fact, global sales of energy drinks reached over $12 billion in 2012, proving how popular they are with consumers. However, you may not have considered the health risks that come with regular consumption of highly caffeinated beverages.

The Daily Mail reported the death of teenager Joshua Merrick in 2014, after the 19 year old began using caffeinated drinks to boost his energy during workouts. Sadly, this is not a rare case. A 2011 US study examined a number of cases involving energy drinks as the cause of seizures, mania, strokes or death.

There have since been calls to place and age limit on energy drinks. In the UK and Sweden, there is no legislation in place, however several supermarket chains have begun refusing sales of the beverages, such as Red Bull and Monster Energy, to children under 16.

In the USA, similar progress is being made, as Los Angeles may be set to become the first city in the country to place an age restriction on the drinks.

What defines an ‘energy drink’?

Part of the issue is that people are regularly drinking energy drinks as they enjoy the taste, without putting much thought into the content.

They contain high quantities of caffeine, taurine and vitamins, designed to work together to create an energy ‘buzz’.

The drinks originated in Japan in the 1960s and became popular in Europe and the US during the 1980s and 90s, likely due to the development of the rave and clubbing cultures.

Today, they are commonplace, often sold as a mix or chaser with alcoholic beverages in clubs or bars.

The drinks are marketed as stimulants, claiming to improve focus, performance and overall energy. It has been predicted that over 80% of adults in the USA consume caffeine each day, proving how these products could be seen as appealing as an alternative to coffee or caffeine pills.

7 Signs Your Liver is in Bad Condition

is your liver in bad shape?
Although our organs are what keep us running, we often take them for granted. So we eat unhealthy foods, don’t exercise, drink lots of alcohol, and fail to get a good night’s sleep.

Because our organs are inside of us, we can’t exactly observe the abuse our organs are taking. However, there are ways to notice when your organs aren’t working as well as they should be.

Getting to Know Your Liver

One of the most prominent organs in the body is the liver. It plays a number of vital roles such as:

Manufacturing blood proteins that aid in clotting, oxygen transport, and immune system function
Storing excess nutrients and returning some of the nutrients to the bloodstream
Manufacturing bile, a substance needed to help digest food
Helping the body store sugar (glucose) in the form of glycogen
Ridding the body of harmful substances in the bloodstream, including drugs and alcohol
Breaking down saturated fat and producing cholesterol

As you can imagine, when the liver is not functioning properly the whole body suffers. One of the most common ways that the liver takes abuse is through excessive alcohol consumption. Many people often joke about, “Drinking so hard their liver hurts.” But this is no joking matter. Cirrhosis of the liver is a common ailment that affects hundreds of thousands of people yearly if not more.

Cirrhosis of the liver is a, “late stage of scarring (fibrosis) of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcohol abuse. The liver carries out several necessary functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body, cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients.” (Source – Mayo Clinic)

In addition to cirrhosis, there are many other liver ailments such as ‘Fatty Liver Disease’ and Hepatitis. These are serious medical issues and should not be treated lightly. The best approach to treating these issues is to prevent them from getting out of hand. This means that you should be firmly aware of signs that your liver is in bad condition.

5 Signs on Your Body Telling You Are Unhealthy

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Despite advances in technology, it seems that society is in worse health than it’s ever been. Diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are all too common affecting millions of American every year. But there’s a lot more that afflicts people than major illnesses.
Even smaller issues like fatigue, slow metabolism, bad skin, anxiety, headaches etc. are extremely common. In fact, in today’s world you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is not on some sort of prescription medication or who suffers from some type of severe or chronic medical issue.
Staying healthy comes down to a few common practices:

Diet
Exercise
Lifestyle (I.e. Good sleep, limited alcohol etc.)

While these things are a great start to being healthy, sometimes it’s not enough. Maybe something deep down is brewing but hasn’t yet manifested itself fully yet.
Regardless of what’s going on, nobody wants to suffer from medical issues and would prefer to slow the growth of these illnesses, or to just avoid them altogether. The first step to doing so is recognizing the signs on your body that shows you are unhealthy.
These signs manifest themselves in a variety of ways, but there are a few particular things you should look for:
Quality of Skin, Hair, Nails and Eyes
Amount of body fat
Let’s begin with four of the most common external signs:

The Skin

Aren’t we all jealous of people we see with perfect skin in magazines? Well, oftentimes their skin is photo shopped and heavily covered in makeup.
The truth is most people have less than perfect skin. Despite advances in technology, and the creation of numerous skin products, it fails to produce bright, glowing skin.
This is because these skincare treatments fail to target the true source of bad skin. They’re too busy focusing on what’s outside the body, as opposed to what’s going on inside.
Whether it’s acne, hives, itchiness, rashes, or eczema there’s a good reason to believe that there is something going on within. There are usually three common explanations for this:
Deficiencies in Nutrients, Often Vitamins and Minerals
A Hormonal Imbalance, or
A Digestive Issue

Clearly these issues go beyond just “bad skin”; they are issues that if left untreated can wreak serious havoc on a person’s body.

So what are these more serious medical issues? Well, in some cases it’s diabetes: “Diabetes, for example, is generally a silent disease, but it can lead to distinct changes to the skin. So the skin may in fact be the first indicator of what’s happening,” notes dermatologist Amy Newburger.

Other medical issues that manifest themselves in the skin are often liver diseases like Hepatitis and Cirroshis of the Liver. These diseases often cause Jaundice, when the skin appears to be yellow.

One less serious issue, yet one that is all too common is dry lips. Dry lips, “… show ¬possible internal -dehydration, vitamin B deficiency or you could be low in iron intake… Check with your GP and ¬hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water.”

5 Yummy Drinks for Amazing Body Detox

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Detoxing can make you feel happier, healthier and fresh, due to the body’s release of toxins. Detoxes can also help to prevent chronic diseases and enhance your immune system, so there’s no better time to take on a new cleansing challenge.

Most detoxes focus on drinks, rather than foods, and there are a number of ways to incorporate these healthy beverages into your daily diet.

Smoothies

Most people will agree that fruit smoothies are delicious, making them the perfect way to detox yet still feel as if you’re enjoying an indulgent treat. They can include any combination of fruits or vegetables, allowing you to easily refreshed, cleansed and energized.

It’s even possible, and perhaps even beneficial, to create your own smoothies by using a smoothie maker at home! There are detox smoothie recipe books available to purchase, in addition to countless recipes that are completely free to view online. You may also find that making your own recipes proves to be more affordable and even healthier than the store brands, especially if you take into account the added sugar that many manufacturers include.

Cleanse

For those dedicated who are open to ideas that are a little more extreme, juice cleanses are a delicious yet challenging option to replenish the body, each with their own unique benefits.

The cleanse is designed to omit all food, in favour of fruit and vegetable juices as a source of nutrition.

They are available from a number of different companies, both online and in health stores, with each offering an array of delicious flavors.

However, cleansers should be aware that juice cleanses have attracted a lot of criticism and controversy, as they are often marketed as a weight loss tool, promoting starvation and unhealthy weight loss techniques relating to dangerous eating disorders.

9 Ways to Make Your Hair Look Beautiful

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Ensuring your hair looks beautiful can work wonders for your self-confidence. It will ensure a sleek, groomed appearance that’s applicable to any scenario, from looking professional at the office to looking glamorous on a girls’ night out or important date. Despite the importance of feeling good about ourselves no matter what we look like, the way we look can indeed affect aspects of our lives.

In fact, it’s even been suggested that having a good hair day truly can make a difference to our mental wellbeing. Scientific evidence, as detailed in Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty (Nancy Etcoff, 2000), explains the positive influences of an attractive appearance, a healthy lifestyle and good personal hygiene.

As a result, most women find themselves putting in the effort to create alluring hair styles and keep their strands in top condition. Read on to discover how to take ultimate care of your tresses.

Ensure you’re washing correctly.

Firstly, wash your hair with a shampoo. Massage the shampoo into the scalp for around a minute before rinsing immediately. If your hair is particularly oily, you may wish to repeat this process to reduce build up. Massaging the scalp as you wash your hair will also help to prevent dandruff.

Once the shampoo is completely rinsed out, apply your conditioner from the tips of your hair to the roots. For a softer, silkier effect, leave it to soak in for a few minutes before rinsing.

Once conditioned, rinse your hair on a cool setting, preferably as cold as you can stand comfortably. Cooler water helps to seal the hair’s cuticles, locking in moisture and increasing shine.

Occasionally, you may also wish to use a hair treatment, such as a deep conditioner or treatment oil, for example argan, macadamia or coconut. You may also try a leave-in conditioner once a week, as they continue to benefit your hair long after washing, while also making it more manageable when styling.

Finally, it’s important to avoid washing your hair daily when possible. Washing the hair strips it from its natural oils, which can cause dryness and breakage.

Avoid the overuse of styling products.

While great for styling, the effects of styling products on your hair and scalp can be damaging. Avoid applying them directly to the scalp to avoid dryness, focusing only on the strands. Ideally, styling products should only be used three or four times per week to prevent damage and build-up. For easy styles that don’t require any expertise or products, check out tutorials on how to create the perfect messy bun, ponytail or ballerina topknot.

Antioxidants May Be Counterproductive To Endurance In Workouts

Antioxidants May Be Counterproductive To Endurance In Workouts

Some people gain muscle mass a lot easier than others, and it everything comes down to one’s metabolism. Having said that, while some people are able to gain muscles by simply shifting to a balanced diet, others might have to resort to supplements and antioxidant vitamins that do benefit them on many different levels. Antioxidant vitamins actually come in handy for everybody, not just for endurance athletes or bodybuilders, especially during the cold season when our immune systems need an extra boost to function correctly.

Having said that, antioxidant vitamins are particularly popular amongst those who exercise rigorously, and who focus primarily on strength training – and that is perfectly understandable, given the fact that supplements are good for alleviating the painful muscle damage that occurs during the workout, and to take the overall effects of the exercise to the next level.

As good as the antioxidant vitamins may be at first sight, the truth is that the supplements can take their toll on your endurance, especially if you are a runner. Another discovery that has taken most of the athletes by surprise was the fact that in some instances, it is believed that the antioxidants may even reduce the overall benefits of weight training, as opposed to increasing them.

Before moving on to explaining why is it that antioxidant vitamins can do endurance athletes more harm than good in certain instances, it is firstly important to stress the fact that antioxidants such as Vitamin E and C (which are widely regarded as the most potent ones, both by athletes and by doctors) come in handy for preventing the free radicals from damaging your body and causing oxidative stress.

As you may know already, both the strength training (which aims to help you gain muscle mass) and cardiovascular training are great for counteracting the molecules that are responsible for tissue damage, and for a variety of other conditions. This is where the antioxidants step in, as they have the natural property of neutralizing the free radicals and lessening some of the soreness and the damage caused by the free radicals. By doing so, the antioxidant vitamins will automatically alleviate the training-related pain, thus helping you train harder and more efficiently.

Amazing Facts About Pistachio

Pistachios Are Great For The Health of Your Teeth

We are all more than familiar with pistachio – delicious and intensely flavored at the same time, pistachios have been a symbol of robust health and wellness since the dawn of civilization. Filled with nutrients and fiber, these nuts are essential for optimum health, and numerous studies have been conducted over the years only to re-confirm what we already knew: the fact that pistachios benefit your health on many different levels. Having said that, here are some notable facts about pistachios, that you did not know before:

1. The Pistachio Oil Is Amongst The Healthiest Cooking Oils On The Market
Nowadays, we are able to extract oil from virtually any seed (and not only), from sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to olives and coconuts – however, the truth is that the pistachio oil turns out to be healthier and better to cook with, than most of the others. Not only is it very high in beneficial amino acids, but it also has a very strong nutty aroma along with outstanding emollient properties – by using pistachio oil, you will both improve your overall health status and you will also keep your skin properly moisturized, thus preventing it from drying. The pistachio oil is used not only for cooking, but for a variety of other applications: it is widely used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, and it is also used in aromatherapy as well as massage therapy, due to its pleasant, intense and relaxing aroma.

2. It Can Counteract The Effects Of Stress
A study that was recently conducted by the State University of Pennsylvania has revealed the fact that, if consumed on a regular basis, pistachios can actually minimize the effects of stress. The study was conducted on volunteers with high cholesterol and normal blood pressure, and it has shown that those who eat approximately one to two ounces of pistachio nuts on a daily basis can significantly decrease their cholesterol levels as well as keep their blood pressure within the normal range.

Increased Fruit And Vegetable Intake Has No Discernible Effect On Weight Loss

Fruit And Vegetable Intake Has No Discernible Effect On Weight Loss

Almost everybody has tried to lose some weight at least once, throughout the course of their lives. Some people did it on their own terms, while others have requested professional help from an experienced dietitian – if this was your case as well, then you certainly know that one of the most common dietary recommendation for those who are trying to shed the extra pounds is to eat more vegetables and fruits. Rich in vitamins and minerals that are essential for the correct functioning of the immune system and low in calories at the same time, fruits and vegetables are generally high in dietary fibers, which means that they will prevent you from feeling hungry again, for several hours. Yet again, some fruits and vegetables are better than others, and that is a known fact!

For years, people were convinced that eating more fruits and vegetables would enable them to get the figure they have always craved for, but a new study actually reveals that an increased intake of fruits and vegetables has actually no discernible effect on one’s weight loss. The explanation for this claim that many might find shocking is rather simple actually: without a compensatory reduction in the overall energy intake, people are unlikely to experience any real weight loss.

A Deeper Insight Into The Study

This study designed to reveal whether an increased intake of fruits and veggies is actually good for your silhouette or not was conducted at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and it was later published in the AJCN, or The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In spite of the fact that an increased intake of fruits and vegetables may not help you lose a lot of weight, they are still good for you and their numerous health benefits cannot be dismissed.The entire study is actually a systematic, in-depth review along with a meta-analysis of data resulted from over 1200 participants, in seven different and randomized control trials. The purpose of these controlled trials was, of course, to monitor those who have increased their overall intake of fruits and veggies, and to see whether it actually helped them lose weight.

Connection Between Happiiness And Lowered Risk For Cardiovascular Disease

Connection Between Happiiness And Lowered Risk For Cardiovascular Disease

Many people would be unable to define happiness per se, yet most of us know it when we feel it. Happiness is a state of mind that is incredibly hard to define, one that instantly makes us feel better and that gives us a positive outlook on life – however, recent studies have revealed that there is much more happiness can actually do for is. Some refer to it as optimism, others simply define happiness as a “good feeling”. Regardless of your view on happiness, one thing is for sure: it can change your entire world and it can actually have a health benefit that you have never even suspected. Contrary to the popular belief, the truth is that having both ups and downs in life is very important, not only for out body but also for our mind.

How Can Happiness Benefit You?

Throughout the years, there have been numerous studies conducted with the purpose of identifying happiness and everything it involves. Some studies have even managed to reveal that there is a very strong connection between our physical and our psychological well-being: when we feel psychologically and emotionally happy or fulfilled, this tends to reflect on our body and on our general health status.

Perhaps the most notable review that was aimed at pinpointing the connection between happiness and physical health was a 2012 review which basically included information taken from no less than 200 other smaller studies, which have revealed a strong and positive connection between feelings that are generally regarded as good and constructive, such as optimism or overall life satisfaction, and a considerably reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common and also one of the deadliest diseases in the 21st century, and while being happy does not guarantee the fact that you will never experience a heart attack later in life, it can certainly reduce the risk for it.

It Turns Out The More Trans Fat You Eat, The Less You May Remember

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Dietitians have been warning us for years about the dangerous health effects associated with an increased consumption of trans fats, which are commonly found in fried foods and most pre-baked goods. Trans fats can wreak havoc on your health on many different levels: they do increase the risk for obesity (and they have little to no real nutritional value), they can increase the risk for heart disease (especially if you are already predisposed to it), and they also harden the artery walls, increase the blood pressure and increase the levels of bad cholesterol, all of which can severely affect your health in the long run. Otherwise stated, if you want to lose weight and to stay fit and healthy in the long run, they make sure to steer clear from trans fats.

However, a recent study has revealed the fact that in addition to all the frightening side effects of trans fats that we are all more than aware of, there is yet another equally scary effect that people might experience if they eat trans fats regularly, over an extended period of time: memory loss. If you have recently noticed that you have a hard time remembering where your car keys are or things that would otherwise come into your mind rather quickly, then the trans fats might actually be the problem behind your short term memory loss.

Trans fats are so dangerous for you that the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration, has recently took a step forward in order to eliminate most of the trans fats present in our food, primarily the hydrogenated oils, which are often to blame for a wide array of chronic illnesses. That being said, the partially hydrogenated oils will require permission from the Food and Drug Administration in the near future, before being added as food additives to pre-baked foods and such. This is a tremendously important step for health-conscious individuals who are well-aware of the dangerous effects of trans fats, and who want to limit their intake.