Why Is Too Much Salt Bad for You

Salt helps your body to hold water, this is a good thing. However if you body begins to hold too much water (on account of too much salt) it increases your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is high you put additional strain on many other parts of your body. Some side effects of too much salt/high blood pressure are heart attacks, strokes, dementia and kidney disease.

Why You Need a Certain Amount of Salt

Although salt, in excess can be bad for you your body also needs about 200 mg of sodium a day to be healthy. Salt is necessary to manage your bodies hydration. It acts as an electrolyte, maintains fluid balance, nerve impulses, and proper acid-base balance . If you don’t get enough salt your body can go into what is called Hyponatremia. A rapid decrease in sodium levels can be signaled by headache, nausea, restlessness, fatigue, confusion and a decreased level of consciousness. However, a more gradual loss of sodium may not have any signs but can be just as dangerous. Without being treated, depending on the severity, a person could go into a coma or even die.

Signs That you Have Eaten Too Much Salt

Having too much sodium in your system is known as hypernatremia. This, like anything else can come in varying degrees of severity. The main system for this is thirst, severe thirst in most cases. Unhealthy change in salt levels can also be signaled by confusion, swelling, and blood pressure changes.

Ways to Cut Down on Salt Intake

  1. By no or low sodium food products. Many processed meats, breads, and cheeses are high in sodium as sodium is used to preserve and deter pathogens in the processing. So, if you buy these types of foods you will want to go with a low sodium option. There are other foods that you can of course avoid salt altogether.
  2. Don’t cook with it or put it on your foods. Try other salt free seasonings.
  3. Be sure to check the labels. Many products like seasoning packets and seasoning mixes are loaded with salts. Also check the labels on foods you tend to eat a lot. How much salt is in each serving?
  4. Cut out as many processed foods as possible. The more the food is processed and preserved the more salt is used.

 

 


teethThere are so many reasons why taking care of your teeth and mouth are important — probably more than you think!  Good dental hygiene doesn’t just make your smile more attractive, or your breath socially acceptable, it also make you a healthier person.  Strange as it may seem, poor oral hygiene is a huge problem, even among those that consider themselves healthy people. In fact, 80% of the U.S. population has some form of gum disease.

So what are some reasons to mind your mouth?

  • Avoid an over-worked immune system. When your immune system is already working hard and then it has to fight off unnecessary bacteria coming from your mouth, you are straining it in ways you don’t need to, opening the door to illnesses.
  • Poor teeth and gum health are directly associated with heart disease.
  • You are less likely to develop dementia if you have taken good care of your teeth.
  • If you are pregnant or trying to conceive, take note: you are less likely to have a pre-term baby if you have good oral care!
  • It is much more expensive to pay for dental work after you have not taken care of your teeth than it is to just pay the minimal amount for regular cleanings and of course your usual at home care. So, take good care of your teeth and save money.

General guidelines for oral care, as per the ADA, are as follows.

  1. Get regular cleanings at the dentist.  (Every 6 months.)
  2. Brush twice a day, softly and in circular motions.
  3. Floss regularly (at least 2-3 times a week).
  4. Rinse your mouth out after each brush.
  5. Eat a balanced diet and avoid high sugar foods.

Image credit: gokce- from FreeImages.Com


booksThere are so many reasons why reading is a great habit to get into. So let’s jump in and get right to it!:

  1. Personal Development  The most obvious benefit I can think of when it comes to reading is the fact that you are most likely learning something. Books offer information and knowledge.  So when you read, there are all kinds of possibilities for personal growth including insight, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and more.
  2. Improved Language Skills  It’s no surprise that reading more helps you to read faster and more effectively and it also helps you to write better.
  3. Improves Self Esteem  Depending what your interests are and what you are hoping to be knowledgeable in, reading helps you get there. When you read, you are obviously gaining knowledge, making you more confident about that topic; therefore reading helps you increase your self esteem!
  4. Reading Takes You Somewhere Else  It’s not a mystery that for everyone at some point during their week they usually wish they were somewhere else. Reading offers an easy cost effective way to get away from all other thoughts, problems, worries etc. In order to read you have to be focused one thing- the book. Being this focused on the book takes your focus from everything else. What a stress reliever.
  5. Increased vocabulary You just can’t beat the direct benefits of reading on one’s vocabulary.  There is no better way to teach children or adults proper english, grammar and good vocabulary like reading — and more reading!
  6. Improved Concentration and Focus  In such a fast-paced world, it is easy to become distracted. Reading helps you to keep your focus and concentration levels at optimum levels, both inside and outside the pages of your books.
  7. Lowered Risk of Alzheimer’s  Reading helps you to improve your memory. This is a benefit all by itself, but even more so if you have Alzheimer’s in your family.
  8. Makes you More Likely to Change the World  I would rather not try and rephrase something that is already said so perfectly, so here is a quote taken from impactpublishingonline.com:

“On the The Reading Project web site Carolyn Martin of Cornell University refers to an NEA survey and explains, ‘People who read for pleasure are many times more likely than those who do not to visit museums and attend concerts, and almost three times as likely to perform volunteer and charity work. Readers are active participants in the world around them, and that engagement is critical to individual and social well-being.”

9. Fiction Helps Too!  Finally, I really wanted to highlight an article that offers four reasons why reading fiction is beneficial. Often, when we think of the benefits of reading, we don’t think of fiction as being included. So, here are four ways that crossway.org found fictional reading to be beneficial.

  • Helps us explore abstract human experiences
  • Deepens our appreciate for concrete human experiences
  • Expands our experience without having to experience things
  • It’s just fun

Image credit Pepo, FreeImages.com 


It’s that time of the year again– time for an entirely new year and a new beginning!  What a way to bring in 2013 than a really well thought-out, well intentioned News Year’s resolution list. I would like to start out by giving some short tips on choosing New Year’s resolution so you set yourself up for success, but also push yourself to grow at the same time. Then we will follow those tips with a few of my favorite New Year’s resolutions for this year.

Tips for Writing Your Resolutions and Picking Winners

  1. Pick resolutions that challenge you but that you know you can do. It doesn’t do us any good to pick a resolution that makes us feel defeated as soon as we write it down. Dream big, but hold yourself to only what doesn’t make you feel weighted down.
  2. Don’t word your resolution in a negative way. So, don’t write “don’t”. What I mean is this: If your news years resolution is treat your mom better you would write “treat my mom with love at all times” NOT “don’t be rude to my mom”. Writing in a positive way makes us less likely to feel like we have to say no to something. It is human nature to do what we focus on, even if we are focusing by saying we won’t do it, we probably will just because that’s what we are thinking about. So, think about what you want to do, not what you don’t want to do.
  3. Find an accountability partner that will help hold you accountable for your resolutions. This person should be someone who you trust and who will help you in a loving supportive and encouraging way.

Great New Year’s Resolution Ideas

  1. Laugh: My number one choice for a New Year’s resolution this year is “laugh more, laugh harder, laugh longer”.  There are so many benefits to laughing and no negatives. Turns out the average amount of times that an adult laugh is substantially lower than the average amount of time during a day that a child laughs. We, as adults, need to bring this back into our life. Laughing is contagious to those around you, it lightens the mood, it makes a bad day seem good, and it has many health benefits. Did you know that fake laughter actually triggers the same parts of your brain and the endorphins as real laughter? So, don’t feel like laughing? Fake it until you are truly laughing. I recommend doing this every day. Why? Well, I would like to ask, why not?!?!?!
  2. Take more baths. So this source I found gave a list of all kinds of great “self indulging” type New Year’s Resolutions. I loved it. It’s all too common in our society that treating ourselves well, and doing the things that make us feel good (and are good for us), are often things we cut ourselves off of. Life would seem just too good if we did them. It’s so strange the mentality that treating ourselves right is almost wrong. I say no to that. I say let’s make a resolution to treat ourselves like kings and queens. So, for this particular idea I chose a resolution to take more baths. I am not talking about just any bath though. I am talking about a perfectly hot, bubbly, candle lit, LONG bath. Indulge! That’s what life is about.
  3. Resolve to have better boundaries. Sit down and think about the people in your life and the things you care about. Whatever those things are put them in priority order of how you treat them currently (what takes priority in your daily life). Now, write down next to that the list the order of priority you actually want them to take place. Where things are out of order in terms of reality versus what you actually want make some changes. Write down some boundaries and rules that will help you keep things in their proper order.

 


Last summer, I posted some great ways to save money, save energy, and save the environment during the summer. This winter I decided to write a similar post with regard to staying warm during the winter.  So, without further adieu, here are my tips for a warm and healthy winter:

  1. Sleep or Cuddle with a Warm Water Sack: Warm water pouches, that you can buy a variety of styles and colored covers for, get filled with hot water and create little personal heat pouches for you to sleep with.
  2. Drink Warm Drinks: Warm drinks don’t just feel good in the moment, they actually increase your body temperature. Sip warm tea or water throughout the day to heat up from the inside out.   Try out herbal teas for added health benefits!
  3. Natural Heat: Everyone knows that running the heater all day and night can get pricey, and isn’t exactly energy efficient.  If you have a fireplace, or access to creating a bonfire, a natural wood fire is the best bet for saving money and energy this year.  Note: Closing the vent of the fireplace is even more efficient.
  4. Keep Your Blinds and Curtains Closed: even for those of us with newer two pane windows, hot air still manages to escape out of them. If you have older windows, usually single pane, the heat escape is even more extreme. This can be limited by just closing your blinds and/or curtains. If you have both, close both. This can be somewhat dark and depressing if you do not have an abundance of lighting in your home, but at least do it while you are away to hold some of the hot air in.
  5. Eat Warm Foods: When possible, try to eat foods that are naturally warming and heating.  Perfect examples are hot soup, ginger and chili. These produce the same effect as warm and hot drinks, heating the body internally.
  6. Wear Layers: I know, I know, this seems simple enough — but you would be surprised how many people forget how easy it is to wear warm pj’s or thermals over the usual next-to-nothing ensemble in bed. Often, its just a force of habit; we don’t stop to think of putting on something warmer instead of driving up the heater’s temperature — burning energy (and $) all night!
  7. Use an Electric Heating Blanket: This is not always a preferred option because of the lack of mobility, but if you choose to purchase one, it can be a great energy saver and one of the most warming options available.  For those that like electric blankets, this is a great option for you.  You can stay toasty warm at little to no cost, while comfortably relaxing or working in your computer chair, sofa or bed.
  8. Turn the Fan on In Reverse: WOW, this was a new idea for me when I first heard it!  Apparently, ceiling fans are actually year-round appliances.  If you keep it on low and make it spin the opposite direction than usual, the air will be pushed up, pushing cold air up and warm air down.
  9. Have People Over: It seems silly to have a group of people over when your house is cold and you don’t feel moving, but body heat is one of the most effective ways of heating a room. The more people you have over, the warmer it will get — and the more fun you will have distracting yourself from the weather outside!
  10. Leave the Oven Open: Once you are done with your cooking or baking, leave the oven open so that the heat can help to warm the house instead of just being wasted in the oven space.
  11. Seal All Areas of Draft: This isn’t so much necessary in newer homes but for many of us in older homes or apartments drafts can be an issue. You can seal them by replacing with new parts or by just buying bing bag strips that sit along the edge of the door or window.
  12. Close Doors to Rooms You Aren’t Using: Be sure that if there are rooms you aren’t using to close them. For example, maybe you have a study that you only go in mostly at night, keep that room closed off to the rest of the house during the day so the heat is not wasted on a room you don’t use during the day.