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How to Lose Weight-Part-Time Diet

You know what dieting demands: cut calories, go hard on veggies, exercise, and repeat, well, forever. But what if you could hit pause on dieting once in a while, but still reap weight-loss benefits?

That’s the premise of part-time diets. “ ‘Part-time dieting’ is an umbrella term for eating styles that let you be flexible with the hours, days, even weeks that you cut calories,” explains Courtney Peterson, PhD, assistant professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And recent research is starting to uncover how different methods may make it easier to shed pounds and improve health.

No, dieting part-time doesn’t mean you can go crazy on burgers and fries when you’re not watching your calories as closely—and there’s no one-size-fits-all plan. Here, our experts dive into ways you can try this trend and how to customize it just for you.

The fasting-mimicking diet

Despite the name, the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) doesn’t actually involve fasting. You restrict your calorie intake for five consecutive days, every three to four months, on average. The evidence behind the method: In a clinical trial, when healthy adults did FMD (eating around 1,100 calories on the first day, and about 750 calories on days two, three, four, and five) once a month for three months, they saw drops in body weight, total body fat, and blood pressure, while the people who followed a normal diet did not. How does it work? FMD puts the body in a fat-burning, ketogenic mode over the “fasting” period, explains Valter Longo, PhD, professor and director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California and author of the new book The Longevity Diet ($27; amazon.com). “The average healthy adult can do an FMD cycle a few times a year and reap the benefits,” says Longo, who worked on the aforementioned trial. The caveat: Any diet that involves fasting or major eating changes is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. And it’s always a good idea to talk to your doc before making significant diet changes.

Time-restricted feeding

The time-restricted feeding (TRF) concept is simple: Narrow the window when you consume food. A recent small study conducted by Peterson with the Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center suggests that eating within a six-hour window may boost fat burn. Two other small studies found that even eating meals within an eight-hour period may promote fat loss. If this narrow time frame sounds like a freaky fad diet, don’t worry—Peterson says that a 10-hour window, like 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., is very doable and still works.

Keep in mind that shifting your entire meal schedule can be a tricky behavioral change. “Fasting isn’t for everyone,” says Stephanie Middleberg, RD, owner of Middleberg Nutrition in New York City. “I am a fan of people working on eating less at night. Even stretching your fasting period from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. could have tremendous benefits.”

Two-week cycling

A study in the International Journal for Obesity found that obese men who dieted two weeks on, then two weeks off for 30 weeks lost more weight than those who dieted continuously. These intermittent dieters kept the weight off for the long term, too. The mechanism at play isn’t totally clear, but it’s possible that “the body may not fully adapt to intermittent dieting in a way that would permanently slow down your metabolism,” Peterson says.

You don’t even have to do two-week cycles. “We don’t know at this point what the ideal schedule is,” Peterson notes. “To a degree, I think the scheduling depends on the person and her preferences.” So if, say, one week on, two weeks off seems more realistic for you, it’s fine to tweak the format to fit your needs. Peterson recommends giving it a couple of months for your body to adapt.

Before you try this on-off strategy, remember this: You can’t eat whatever you want during your no-dieting period. “Consuming 5,000 calories just because it’s a ‘free’ week is not efficient. You still want to think about filling your body with whole foods,” says Jennifer Cholewka, RD, senior clinical dietitian at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Going vegan… until dinner

Popularized by the book Eat Vegan Before 6:00, by Mark Bittman, this scenario eliminates all animal products and focuses on eating vegan protein sources, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats until your evening meal. Plus, swapping animal protein for vegan sources slashes calories and saturated fat and has real weightloss potential. “When my clients break from consuming animal protein at all meals, they also realize how full they get when reintroducing it, so they often have a lot less at one sitting,” Middleberg says.

On the flip side, she points out that you need to make sure you’re still getting enough protein, carbs, and fat during the day so you aren’t ravenous at dinner and end up overeating.

The 5:2 diet

This plan is named after a book by the same name. (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jimmy Kimmel have both tried it.) A few studies have linked the regimen—which calls for eating normally five days of the week and only 25 percent of your typical calorie intake for two days of your choice—to weight loss and lower insulin levels. “If I were to try any part-time diet, the 5:2 plan would be my pick,” says Cholewka.

“You’re responsible for remembering your eating schedule and keeping an eye on calorie counts, but you aren’t burdened by strict food lists.” However, keep in mind that, as your body adjusts, you may feel the effects of hunger more acutely, she adds.

Worried that severe restriction will get to you? Peterson reversed the plan a bit for herself. “In the past, when I lost weight, I did an approach where five days a week I would cut down about 15 percent of my calories,” she explains. “Then I would eat healthy but normal for two days each week.”

How To Cure Stomach ulcers This Week

Overview
Stomach ulcers, also known as gastric ulcers, are open sores within the lining of the stomach. They are a type of peptic ulcer, meaning having to do with acid. Because of the amount of acid present in the stomach and the damage that can occur, they are often extremely painful. The most common cause of stomach ulcers is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori.

Ulcers may also be caused by overuse of painkillers, such as aspirin (Bayer), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Naprosyn).

Stomach ulcers are treated with antibiotics and medications to reduce and block stomach acid. In addition to this well-proven treatment plan, research has shown that there are also some natural home remedies that may be useful in managing a stomach ulcer and helping it heal. Talk with your doctor about adding these foods to your diet.

FLAVONOIDS
1. Flavonoids
Research suggests that flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids, may be an effective additional treatment for stomach ulcers. Flavonoids are compounds that occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Foods and drinks rich in flavonoids include:

soybeans
legumes
red grapes
kale
broccoli
apples
berries
teas, especially green tea
These foods may also help the body fight against the H. pylori bacteria. Flavonoids are referred to as “gastroprotective,” which means they defend the lining of the stomach and could allow ulcers to heal. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, there are no side effects of consuming flavonoids in the amount found in a typical diet, but higher amounts of flavonoids may interfere with blood clotting. You can get flavonoids in your diet or take them as supplements.

LICORICE
2. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice
Don’t let that long first word give you a stomach ache. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is just plain old licorice with the sweet flavor extracted. One study showed that deglycyrrhizinated licorice might help ulcers heal by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice is available as a supplement. You can’t get this effect from eating licorice candy, though. Too much licorice candy can be bad for some people. Consuming more than 2 ounces daily for more than two weeks can make existing heart problems or high blood pressure worse.

PROBIOTICS
3. Probiotics
Probiotics are the living bacteria and yeast that provide healthy and important microorganisms to your digestive tract. They are present in many common foods, particularly fermented foods. These include:

buttermilk
yogurt
miso
kimchi
kefir
You can also take probiotics in supplement form. Studies have shown that probiotics may be helpful in wiping out H. pylori and increasing recovery rate for people with ulcers when added to the traditional regimen of antibiotics.

HONEY
4. Honey
Honey is far from simply sweet. Depending on the plant it’s derived from, honey can contain up to 200 elements, including polyphenols and other antioxidants. Honey is a powerful antibacterial and has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth. As long as you have normal blood sugar levels, you can enjoy honey as you would any sweetener, with the bonus of perhaps soothing your ulcers.

GARLIC
5. Garlic
Garlic extract has been shown to inhibit H. pylori growth in lab, animal, and human trials. If you don’t like the taste (and lingering aftertaste) of garlic, you can take garlic extract in supplemental form. Garlic acts as a blood thinner, so ask your doctor before taking it if you use warfarin (Coumadin), other prescription blood thinners, or aspirin.

CRANBERRY
6. Cranberry
Cranberry has been shown in some studies to help decrease urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from settling on the walls of the bladder. Cranberry and cranberry extract also may help fight H. pylori. You can drink cranberry juice, eat cranberries, or take cranberry supplements.

No specific amount of consumption is associated with relief. Too much cranberry in any form may cause stomach and intestinal discomfort due to its high sugar content, so start with small amounts and increase gradually. Many commercial cranberry juices are heavily sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which can also add empty calories. Avoid those juices by buying juice sweetened only by other juices.

MASTIC
7. Mastic
Mastic is the sap of a tree grown in the Mediterranean. Studies of the effectiveness of mastic on H. pylori infection are mixed, but at least one small study shows that chewing mastic gum may help fight H. pylori, getting rid of the bacteria in about 3 out of 10 people who used it. However, when compared to the traditional combination of antibiotics and acid-blocking medications, the medications were significantly more effective than the gum. The traditional treatment got rid of the bacteria in more than 75 percent of the people studied. In this study, the mastic gum was not associated with any side effects. You can chew the gum or swallow mastic in supplement form.

FRUITS, VEGGIES, AND GRAINS
8. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
A diet centered on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is not just good for your overall health. According to the Mayo Clinic, a vitamin-rich diet can help your body heal your ulcer. Foods containing the antioxidant polyphenols may protect you from ulcers and help ulcers heal. Polyphenol-rich foods and seasonings include:

dried rosemary
flaxseed
Mexican oregano
dark chocolate
blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, elderberries, and blackberries
black olives
FOODS TO AVOID
Foods to limit or avoid with ulcers and acid reflux
Some people with ulcers also have acid reflux disease. Certain foods, in certain people, can affect the lower part of the esophagus, called the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), allowing acid and stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. This can cause injury to the esophagus, as well as heartburn, indigestion and other discomfort.

To reduce acid reflux pain, you may want to limit:

coffee, and other caffeinated beverages
carbonated beverages
chocolate
chilies and hot peppers
processed foods
high-salt diet
deep-fried foods
acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes
Overeating and eating within two to three hours of going to bed may also worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. But not every food acts the same is every person, so keeping track of which foods seem to make acid reflux symptoms worse can be helpful.

Alcohol
Having more than one drink a day for women and more than two for men is considered excessive drinking. If a couple of drinks after work is how you unwind, you might want to consider a healthier alternative. Regular alcohol use cause significant stomach inflammation. Also, alcohol is another substance that can relax the lower part of the esophagus, increasing your risk for acid reflux.

FIND A DOCTOR
Finding a doctor for ulcers
Looking for doctors with the most experience treating ulcers? Use the doctor search tool below, powered by our partner Amino. You can find the most experienced doctors, filtered by your insurance, location, and other preferences. Amino can also help book your appointment for free.

What’s Really Causing My Abdominal Bloating and of Breaths

Abdominal bloating occurs when the abdomen feels tight or full. This may cause the area to appear visually larger. The abdomen may feel hard or tight to the touch, and can cause discomfort and pain.

Shortness of breath is difficulty breathing. It’s the feeling that you can’t catch your breath, and that you are not taking in enough air. It can cause feelings of faintness and panic if it continues for long periods.

CAUSES
Possible causes of abdominal bloating and shortness of breath
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
pregnancy
hyperventilation
ascites
obesity
anxiety or panic disorder
lactose intolerance
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
menstruation
hiatal hernia
gallstones
hernia
ovarian cancer
pancreatic insufficiency
Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
cystic fibrosis
peripheral neuropathy
Legionnaires’ disease
polio
celiac disease
OTHER CAUSES
Other causes of abdominal bloating and shortness of breath
Abdominal bloating has many causes. It is more common in people who experience functional gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or gastroparesis. Bloating can be due to the buildup of gas, fluids, or food in the stomach.

Overeating or eating foods known to contribute to bloating and gas, such as cabbage, beans, and lentils, may cause bloating.

Abdominal bloating can affect the diaphragm, a muscular partition between the chest and abdomen. The diaphragm assists in breathing, which means bloating can lead to shortness of breath. This happens if the pressure in the abdomen is enough to restrict the movement of the diaphragm.

Being short of breath can cause you to take small, short breaths. This can lead to swallowing air, which is known as aerophagia. Difficulty breathing can be brought on by anxiety or panic attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and asthma attacks.

There are conditions that can result in both abdominal bloating and shortness of breath.

Any condition that leads to the buildup of air or foodstuffs could cause both bloating and shortness of breath. Also, stool inside the intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, lactose intolerance, constipation, ileus, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis could cause bloating and shortness of breath.

If bloating or shortness of breath is severe, seek immediate medical treatment.

Remember that the above list is not exhaustive but contains some of the more common conditions that may cause shortness of breath and abdominal pain.

SEE YOUR DOCTOR
When to seek medical help
Most abdominal bloating should resolve itself with time when the excess gases, liquids, or food can move through the stomach and intestines. However, if your abdominal bloating and shortness of breath last longer than a day, seek medical attention.

Also seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms along with shortness of breath and abdominal bloating:

blood in your stool
chest pain
choking
confusion
dark, bloody, or tarry-looking stools
uncontrollable vomiting
loss of control over bladder or bowel movements
severe abdominal pain
vomiting that does not cease after one day
any worsening symptoms
TREATMENT
How are abdominal bloating and shortness of breath treated?
Medical treatments for abdominal bloating and shortness of breath will address the underlying condition. For example, over-the-counter medications may help resolve abdominal bloating. Bronchodilators can help to open the airways and improve breathing.

Home care
When you experience abdominal bloating, drinking more water may help to reduce symptoms. Walking also helps to relieve gas, but this may not be possible if you are experiencing shortness of breath.

If anxiety is causing your symptoms, taking slow, deep breaths, and thinking calm, peaceful thoughts might help relieve your symptoms.

Taking over-the-counter medications to reduce gas, such as simethicone drops, digestive enzymes, and activated charcoal may help abdominal bloating. Find a great selection of digestive enzymes here and activated charcoal here.

PREVENTION
How can I prevent abdominal bloating and shortness of breath?
Avoiding foods known to cause abdominal bloating can help reduce your risk for experiencing symptoms. Also avoiding carbonated beverages can help.

Refraining from smoking can also help to reduce shortness of breath, and lessen the risk of potentially fatal lung disorders.

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Best Tips to Prevent Prostate Cancer

The facts of prostate cancer

The prostate, an organ located under the bladder, produces semen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the United States. The risk of developing prostate cancer progressively increases with age.

Out of every 100 men over the age of 60, six will have prostate cancer before their 70th birthday, according to the CDC.

There’s no absolute prostate cancer prevention, but evidence suggests diet plays a key role. Keep reading for diet tips and more information.

RED FOODS
Tomatoes and other red foods

Tomatoes, watermelon, and other red foods owe their bright color to a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Studies show that men who consume this fruit and tomato-based products have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t.

Other findings suggest that cooking tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb lycopene. The redder the tomato, the better because lycopene accumulates during ripening. That means that pale, store-bought tomatoes that are picked too early have less lycopene than vine-ripened tomatoes.

FRUITS AND VEGGIES
The power of fruits and veggies

Nutrients and vitamins contained in fruits and vegetables may lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. Green vegetables contain compounds that help your body break down cancer-causing substances called carcinogens. A nutrient-rich diet may also help slow the spread of cancer.

By eating fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you’ll be less likely to fill up on processed junk food.

FISH
Feast on fish

Fatty acid, known as omega-3, may help reduce your risk of developing prostate cancer. Omega-3 is found in certain fish including sardines, tuna, mackerel, trout, and salmon.

When compared to a high-fat diet, eating a low-fat diet and taking fish oil supplements has been found to slow the growth of prostate cancer cells. It’s easier to treat cancer that hasn’t yet spread outside the prostate.

SOY AND TEA
Soybean and tea

A nutrient called isoflavones has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer. Isoflavones are found in:

  • tofu (made from soybeans)
  • chickpeas
  • lentils
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • peanuts

Some studies have shown that men who drink green tea, or take green tea extract supplements, have a lower risk of prostate cancer than those who don’t.

COFFEE
Pour Another Cup of Coffee

Decades of studies suggest that indulging a serious coffee habit is linked to a decreased risk of fatal prostate cancer:

  • Drinking four to five cups of coffee every day can lower your chances of fatal and high-grade prostate cancer.
  • Regardless of how many cups you drink overall, every three cups of coffee you drink can reduce your risk of fatal prostate cancer about 11 percent.

This describes a dose-response relationship between prostate cancer and coffee. That means the effect on prostate cancer goes up or down with the amount of coffee you drink. These effects may not extend to someone who only grabs an occasional cup.

However, high doses of caffeine can cause major health issues, such as irregular heartbeat and seizures. According to Mayo Clinic, the daily recommended amount of caffeine for most healthy adults is 400 milligrams — or about 1 1/2 cups.

How coffee is prepared can also be a factor. A study in Norway looked at coffee brewed with a filter, and boiled coffee, which doesn’t use such a filter. Men who drank boiled coffee seemed to have a lower risk of prostate cancer than men who drank coffee prepared another way or not at all.

The chemicals cafestol and kahweol have well-known cancer-fighting abilities. Researchers believe these chemicals are trapped when coffee runs through a paper filter. Boiled coffee may allow these cancer-fighting chemicals to stay in your daily brew.

FAT
The role of fat

Studies indicate a link between animal fats and an increased risk of prostate cancer. In addition to meat, animal fats are found in lard, butter, and cheese. Whenever possible, replace animal-based fats with plant-based fats.

This, instead of that:

  • olive oil instead of butter
  • fruit instead of candy
  • fresh vegetables instead of prepackaged foods
  • nuts or seeds instead of cheese

Also, overcooking meat produces carcinogens, so be careful not to over-cook your meat.

STOP SMOKING
Stop smoking

Prostate cancer patients who smoke are more likely to have a recurrence of the disease. Smokers are also more likely to have an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

It’s not too late to quit. When compared with current smokers, prostate cancer patients who quit smoking for more than 10 years had the same mortality risk as those who never smoked.

CONTROVERSIAL FOODS
Controversial foods

Folate

Some studies suggest that low folate levels in your blood increase your risk for cancer. Folate is found in a variety of foods, including green vegetables, beans, and orange juice. Increasing your intake of these foods may reduce the risk of prostate cancer. However, supplementing with folic acid, a man-made form of folate, may increase the risk of cancer.

Dairy

Some studies have linked dairy products, or diets high in calcium, with an increased risk of prostate cancer, but this risk is considered minimal.

EXERCISE
The importance of exercise

Too much fat, especially in the middle of your body, is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Benefits of exercise include increased muscle mass and better metabolism. Try:

  • walking
  • running
  • bicycling
  • swimming

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Vary your routine and invite your friends to participate. You’re more likely to workout if it’s fun.

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
Talk to your doctor

Ask your doctor about your risk for developing prostate cancer. Some points to discuss include:

  • what medical screening tests you should have as you age
  • family history of cancer
  • dietary recommendations

Tell your doctor if you’re just beginning a new exercise program, or if you have the following symptoms:

  • discomfort anywhere in your pelvic or rectal areas
  • difficulty urinating
  • blood in your urine or semen

Article resources

Does Coffee Do Anything to Your Teeth?

Overview

When it comes to kick-starting the day, many of us rely on a cup of joe. But what does it do to your teeth? Coffee lovers take note: Your morning routine might affect your dental health.

If it can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth. This rule of thumb is unfortunately true about coffee. As Victoria Veystman, DDS, of New York City’s Cosmetic Dental Studios explains, coffee contains ingredients called tannins. Tannins are a type of polyphenol that break down in water, and they are also found in beverages like wine or tea. According to Dr. Veystman, tannins cause color compounds to more readily stick to your teeth. When these compounds stick, they can leave an unwanted yellow hue behind.

fruitsstrawsbrush

It only takes one cup of coffee a day to cause stained teeth. How can you avoid tooth discoloration without giving up your favorite morning drink?

Start by avoiding creamer and sugar, dentists say, as these only speed up the growth of discoloring bacteria. Drink your coffee in one sitting to prevent bacteria buildup throughout the day. Lastly, after you’re finished with your morning mug, brush your teeth.

REMOVAL
Getting Rid of Stains

If you’re a coffee lover, there’s no need to panic. Your dentist can usually get rid of coffee stains during your bi-annual cleaning. You can also supplement professional cleaning with a home remedy. John Koutsoyiannis, DDS, founder and cosmetic dentist at Soho Smile, says that brushing your teeth with baking soda twice a month further whitens teeth.

Raw fruits and vegetables, like strawberries and lemons, also contain natural fibers that can help clean your teeth by breaking down bacteria.

OTHER PITFALLS
Coffee’s Other Pitfalls

Like any drink that isn’t water, coffee helps the bacteria in your mouth to create acids that can lead to tooth and enamel erosion. This can cause your teeth to become thin and brittle. Coffee can also cause bad breath, or halitosis, because it sticks to the tongue. To avoid these coffee problems, eat food before you drink coffee and use a tongue scraper and toothbrush after you finish drinking.

Does Coffee Make You Tired?

Is it really the coffee?

As a stimulant, caffeine can boost energy levels and make you feel sharper. In the United States, the biggest dietary source of caffeine is coffee. About 62 percent of Americans drink coffee every day, according to the National Coffee Association.

Not everyone reacts the same way to caffeine. Some people feel tired after only one cup. Others can drink several cups a day and feel no ill effects.

But it’s not actually coffee that makes you tired. It’s the way it affects your body that can lead to sleepiness. Keep reading to learn more.

ADENOSINE
1. It’s because coffee blocks adenosine

Adenosine is a chemical in the central nervous system. It regulates your sleep-wake cycle. When you’re awake during the day, your adenosine levels increase, eventually making you drowsy by suppressing the activity of cells in the basal forebrain. After you fall asleep, adenosine levels drop.

Caffeine in coffee blocks the brain’s adenosine receptors from receiving adenosine, but it doesn’t stop the actual production of adenosine or the ability to form additional adenosine receptors. This means that when the effects of caffeine wear off, there’s a buildup of adenosine wanting to bind to its receptors. This can lead to tiredness.

DIURETIC
2. It’s because coffee is a diuretic

Caffeine has been considered a diuretic for years. A diuretic is a substance that makes you pass urine more often. This lends itself to the theory that drinking a lot of coffee increases your risk of dehydration.

But many scientists argue that caffeine-containing beverages don’t really impact urinary output in the long term any differently than other beverages.

If you do find that drinking coffee makes you urinate more frequently than normal, you may get stuck in a cycle of dehydration that makes you feel more tired.

First of all, your body loses water when you go to the bathroom. The water loss can reduce the fluid in your blood, which can affect how your cardiovascular system responds to maintain blood pressure and blood flow. Dehydration can lead to a rapid heart rate and low blood pressure. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and sluggishness.

When dehydrated, cells in the body lose fluid volume. When this affects their normal function, it can also lead to feelings of sluggishness. It’s natural to reach for another cup of coffee to counteract this sluggishness, but this can start the cycle all over again.

Caffeine is also causes vasoconstriction. This means it causes certain blood vessels to narrow. This could alter blood flow through different parts of the body.

If you’re drinking a lot of coffee, you may not be drinking as much water as you should to rehydrate yourself. The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies recommends being guided by your thirst, but does provide a total daily water intake to aim for:

  • 15 cups (3.7 liters) for the average adult male
  • 11 cups (2.7 liters) for the average adult female

This guideline includes water in drinks other than pure water and water from the food you consume. Unless you’re experiencing symptoms of dehydration, such as dark-colored urine and headache, you’re probably drinking enough water.

SUGAR
3. It’s because of the sugar in your coffee

If you like to add sugar to your coffee, you may have regular sugar “crashes” after drinking it. This added sugar may come in the form of whipped cream or shots of syrup. These are often standard in specialty coffee drinks.

The body processes sugar much faster than caffeine. After sugar is used up by your body, you may experience an energy slump. How quickly this happens depends on the person. It could happen within 90 minutes after ingesting sugar.

HOW TO PREVENT THIS
How to minimize these effects

If you don’t want to give up your coffee habit, try to stick to the daily intake recommendations.

Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day is considered moderate. This is about two to four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee per day, depending on the coffee mixture.

To further minimize fatigue, avoid coffee-based drinks with sugary syrups and creams. You should also limit your use of added sweeteners. Alternating one cup of coffee with one cup of water may also help.

If you regularly experience an afternoon slump, try switching to decaf coffee or tea after lunch.

Remember, coffee isn’t the only thing that contains caffeine. Soft drinks, energy boosters, and even some pain relievers contain caffeine. The overall effect of caffeine on your body depends on the total amount in your body from all sources and how frequently you take caffeine in.

TAKEAWAY
The bottom line

Coffee itself won’t instantly make you feel tired, but the caffeine it contains may actually lead to fatigue after regularly drinking it over time. If you stick to 400 mg of caffeine per day or less and go easy on the added sugar, you should reap the benefits of caffeine and avoid its drawbacks.

Tryptophan Can Boosts Your Sleep Quality and Mood Do You Know?

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep prepares you to face the day.

What’s more, several nutrients promote good sleep quality and support your mood.

Tryptophan, an amino acid found in many foods and supplements, is one of them.

It’s necessary for making proteins and other important molecules in your body, including some that are essential for optimal sleep and mood.

This article discusses the effects of tryptophan on these fundamental parts of your life.

Woman Wrapped in Blanket in Bed
What Is Tryptophan?

Tryptophan is one of many amino acids found in foods that contain protein.

In your body, amino acids are used to make proteins but also serve other functions (1).

For example, they are necessary to produce several important molecules that help transmit signals.

In particular, tryptophan can be converted into a molecule called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which is used to make serotonin and melatonin (23).

Serotonin affects several organs, including the brain and intestines. In the brain specifically, it influences sleep, cognition and mood (45).

Meanwhile, melatonin is a hormone that’s most notably involved in your sleep-wake cycle (6).

Overall, tryptophan and the molecules it produces are essential to the optimal functioning of your body.

SUMMARYTryptophan is an amino acid that can be converted into several important molecules, including serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan and the molecules it produces influence many functions in the body, including sleep, mood and behavior.

Effects on Mood, Behavior and Cognition

Although tryptophan has many functions, its impact on the brain is particularly notable.

Low Levels Are Associated With Mood Disorders

Several studies have shown that those experiencing depression may have tryptophan levels that are lower than normal (78).

Other research has examined the effects of altering blood levels of tryptophan.

By lowering tryptophan levels, researchers can learn about its functions. To do so, study participants consume large amounts of amino acids, with or without tryptophan (9).

One such study exposed 15 healthy adults to a stressful environment twice — once when they had normal tryptophan blood levels and once when they had low levels (10).

The researchers found that anxiety, tension and feelings of nervousness were higher when the participants had low tryptophan levels.

Based on these results, low levels of tryptophan could contribute to anxiety (11).

They may also increase aggression and impulsiveness in aggressive individuals (12).

On the other hand, supplementing with tryptophan may promote good social behavior (13).

SUMMARYResearch has shown that low levels of tryptophan may contribute to mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.

Low Levels May Impair Memory and Learning

Altering levels of tryptophan can influence several aspects of cognition.

One study found that when tryptophan levels were lowered, long-term memory performance was worse than when levels were normal (14).

These effects were seen regardless of whether the participants had a family history of depression.

Additionally, a large review found that lower tryptophan levels negatively impacted cognition and memory (15).

Memory linked to events and experiences may be particularly impaired.

These effects are likely due to the fact that as tryptophan levels are lowered, serotonin production decreases (15).

SUMMARYTryptophan is important for cognitive processes because of its role in serotonin production. Low levels of this amino acid can impair your cognition, including your memory of events or experiences.

Serotonin Is Responsible for Many of Its Effects

In the body, tryptophan can be converted into the molecule 5-HTP, which then forms serotonin (1416).

Based on numerous experiments, researchers agree that many of the effects of high or low tryptophan levels are due to its effects on serotonin or 5-HTP (15).

In other words, increasing its levels can lead to increased 5-HTP and serotonin (1718).

Serotonin and 5-HTP affect many processes in the brain, and interference with their normal actions may impact depression and anxiety (5).

In fact, many drugs designed to treat depression modify the action of serotonin in the brain to increase its activity (19).

What’s more, serotonin influences processes in the brain that are involved in learning (20).

Treatment with 5-HTP can also help increase serotonin and improve mood and panic disorders, as well as insomnia (521).

Overall, the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin is responsible for many of its observed effects on mood and cognition (15).

SUMMARYThe importance of tryptophan is likely due to its role in serotonin production. Serotonin is essential for the proper functioning of the brain, and low tryptophan levels reduce the amount of serotonin in the body.

Impact on Melatonin and Sleep

Once serotonin has been produced from tryptophan in the body, it can be converted into another important molecule — melatonin.

In fact, research has shown that increasing tryptophan in the blood directly increases both serotonin and melatonin (17).

In addition to being found naturally in the body, melatonin is a popular supplement and found in several foods, including tomatoes, strawberries and grapes (22).

Melatonin influences the sleep-wake cycle of the body. This cycle impacts many other functions, including the metabolism of nutrients and your immune system (23).

Several studies have shown that increasing tryptophan in the diet can improve sleep by increasing melatonin (2425).

One study found that eating tryptophan-enriched cereal at breakfast and dinner helped adults fall asleep faster and sleep longer, compared to when they ate standard cereals (25).

Symptoms of anxiety and depression were also reduced, and it is likely that the tryptophan helped increase both serotonin and melatonin.

Other studies have also shown that taking melatonin as a supplement can improve sleep quantity and quality (2627).

SUMMARYMelatonin is important to the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Increasing tryptophan intake can lead to higher levels of melatonin and may improve sleep quantity and quality.

Sources of Tryptophan

Many different protein-containing foods are good sources of tryptophan (28).

Because of this, you get some of this amino acid almost any time you eat protein.

Your intake depends on how much protein you consume and which protein sources you eat.

Some foods are particularly high in tryptophan, including poultry, shrimp, eggs, elk and crab, among others (28).

It has been estimated that a typical diet provides approximately 1 gram per day (29).

You can also supplement with tryptophan or one of the molecules it produces, such as 5-HTP and melatonin.

SUMMARYTryptophan is found in foods that contain protein or supplements. The specific amount of it in your diet varies on the amount and types of protein you eat, but it has been estimated that a typical diet provides about 1 gram per day.

How to Use Tryptophan Supplements

If you want to improve your sleep quality and well-being, tryptophan supplements are worth considering. However, you also have other options.

You may choose to supplement with molecules that are derived from tryptophan. These include 5-HTP and melatonin.

If you take tryptophan itself, it may be used in other bodily processes besides making serotonin and melatonin, such as protein or niacin production. That’s why supplementing with 5-HTP or melatonin may be a better choice for some people (5).

Those who want to improve their mood or cognition may choose to take tryptophan or 5-HTP supplements.

Both of these can increase serotonin, although 5-HTP can be converted to serotonin more quickly (5).

What’s more, 5-HTP can have other effects, such as decreasing food consumption and body weight (3031).

Doses of 5-HTP may range from 100–900 mg per day (31).

For those who are most interested in promoting sleep, supplementing with melatonin may be the best choice (27).

Doses of 0.5–5 mg per day have been used, with 2 mg being the most common dose (32).

For those who take tryptophan itself, doses of up to 5 grams per day have been reported (29).

SUMMARYTryptophan or its products (5-HTP and melatonin) can be taken individually as dietary supplements. If you choose to take one of these supplements, the best choice depends on the symptoms you are targeting.

Side Effects

Since tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods, it is assumed to be safe in normal quantities.

It’s estimated that a typical diet contains 1 gram per day, but some individuals choose to supplement with doses of up to 5 grams per day (29).

Its possible side effects have been examined for over 50 years, and very few of them have been reported.

However, occasional side effects like nausea and dizziness have been reported at doses above 50 mg per kilogram of body weight, or 3.4 grams for a 150-pound (68-kg) adult (29).

Side effects may be more prominent when tryptophan or 5-HTP is taken along with drugs that influence serotonin levels, such as antidepressants.

When the activity of serotonin is excessively increased, a condition called serotonin syndrome can result (33).

It can cause several symptoms, including sweating, tremors, agitation and delirium (29).

If you are taking any medications that affect your serotonin levels, consider consulting your physician before taking tryptophan or 5-HTP supplements.

SUMMARYStudies on tryptophan supplements report minimal effects. However, occasional nausea and dizziness have been observed at higher doses. Side effects can become more severe when taking medications that influence serotonin levels.

Meat Safety:Storing and Handling Meats

 

Many types of bacteria can grow on animal products, so it’s important to safely handle and store all types of meat. However, the different rules for handling different types of meat can be confusing. It may be perfectly safe to eat some meat a week after it was prepared or to freeze it for later. Other types should be thrown away after only a few days.

Safety issues are associated with everything you may eat. A healthy kitchen depends on your knowledge of safe cooking and storage practices.

SELECTION
Selecting meat
Never buy meat that’s past the expiration or sell-by date. Also, buy meats at the store after you’ve found all your other items to decrease the time the meat is out of refrigeration.

Follow these specific guidelines when selecting certain meats:

Avoid any beef or pork that’s dark brown or discolored, has a strong odor, or feels tough or slimy.
Avoid any poultry that looks faded, has a strong odor, or feels tough or slimy.
Avoid any fish that’s faded or discolored, has squishy or slimy flesh, and has a strong fishy or ammonia-like odor.
Avoid any meat that’s in damaged, leaking, or torn packages, as it’s likely been exposed to the air and harmful bacteria.
HANDLING
Handling meat
Wash your hands frequently when preparing any type of meat, fish, or poultry. Bacteria can quickly spread between your hands and meat. Always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling meat, whether it’s raw or cooked.

Because bacteria can spread easily, prepare the meat on a surface that’s separate from all other cooking materials. Keep vegetables and other ingredients away from meat, especially if you aren’t cooking them together in the same dish.

Try to use separate cutting boards, clean all cooking utensils after they touch raw meat, and use different utensils to serve food after you’ve prepared it.

STORAGE
Storing meat
Uncured, raw meat generally lasts safely for around three days in the refrigerator. If you plan to keep uncooked meat longer, freezing it is your best bet. Seal the meat in an airtight package before freezing. Then, it can usually be frozen for at least several months.

Safe freezing and refrigeration time also depends on the storage temperature. Keep your freezer as close to 0°F (-17.8°C) as possible. This helps retain nutrients and keep food fresh. Keep your refrigerator at around 34°F (1.1°C), just above freezing, to effectively prolong the shelf life of foods.

Below are general guidelines for how long basic meats can be kept safely if they’re stored properly.

Type of meat Safe storage times (in the refrigerator) Safe storage times (in the freezer)
uncooked poultry 1–2 days 9 months (pieces) to 1 year (whole)
uncooked ground meat 1–2 days 3–4 months
uncooked steaks or chops 3–4 days 4–12 months, depending on the item
uncooked fish 1–2 days 6 months
cooked poultry, meat, or fish 3–4 days 2–6 months
hot dogs and lunch meat up to 1 week (open package) or 2 weeks (closed package) 1–2 months
COOKING TEMPERATURE
Cooking temperature and food safety
Cooking temperature affects both the taste and safety of food.

The rare to well-done spectrum refers to the temperature at the center of the meat, which is best checked using a meat thermometer. These can be found at kitchen supply stores and in most grocery stores. Typical cooking temperatures are:

rare: 120–125°F (48.9–51.7°C)
medium: 140–145°F (60–62.8°C)
well-done: 165°F (73.9°C) or higher
From a safety perspective, hotter temperatures at the center of the meat are safer. However, safe cooking temperatures vary for different types of meat.

Safe cooking temperatures for different meats are:

Poultry: 165°F (73.9°C) for whole or ground poultry. Poultry should never be eaten rare. Undercooked poultry can spread salmonella and other diseases. You should always cook it thoroughly.

Ground meats: 160°F (71.1°C) for ground meats such as beef, pork, and lamb. While whole cuts of meat typically have most bacteria on their surfaces, ground meats may have bacteria mixed throughout. Therefore, they must be cooked to a higher temperature than whole cuts of meat.

Whole meat: 145°F (62.8°C), and the meat should be allowed to rest for at least three minutes before eating. The resting time gives the heat more time to kill any bacteria.

Pork should always be cooked to at least the high end of medium because it can carry potentially dangerous worms and parasites.
Beef has a wider safety range, but lovers of rare meat are safer sticking to steaks, roasts, and chops.
Fin fish: 145°F (62.8°C) or until the flesh is opaque and separates easily.

AN Open Wound

What is an open wound?

An open wound is an injury involving an external or internal break in body tissue, usually involving the skin. Nearly everyone will experience an open wound at some point in their life. Most open wounds are minor and can be treated at home.

Falls, accidents with sharp objects or tools, and car accidents are the most common causes of open wounds. In the case of a serious accident, call 911 or seek immediate medical attention, particularly if there’s a lot of bleeding or if bleeding lasts for more than 20 minutes.

Open wound can also occur due to lack of certain vitamin and electrolyte imbalance. Like when you are not eating enough fruits and vegetable or not drinking enough water or drinks

TYPES
Are there different types of open wounds?

There are five  types of open wounds, which are classified depending on their cause.

Abrasion

An abrasion occurs when the skin rubs or scrapes against a rough or hard surface. Road rash is an example of an abrasion. There’s usually not a lot of bleeding, but the wound needs to be scrubbed and cleaned to avoid infection.

Laceration

A laceration is a deep cut or tearing of the skin. Accidents with knives, tools, and machinery are frequent causes of lacerations. In the case of deep lacerations, the bleeding can be rapid and extensive.

Puncture

A puncture is a small hole caused by a long, pointy object, such as a nail, needle, or ice pick. Sometimes, a bullet can cause a puncture wound. Punctures may not bleed much, but these wounds can be deep enough to damage internal organs. If you have a puncture wound (even just a small one), visit your doctor to get a tetanus booster shot and prevent infection.

Avulsion

An avulsion is a partial or complete tearing away of skin and the tissue beneath. Avulsions usually occur during violent accidents, such as body-crushing accidents, explosions, and gunshots. They bleed heavily and rapidly.

Cracks

Cracks a those wound you can observe due to some vitamin deficiencies or lack of adequate fluid intake. You can see these cracks at the back-base of your finger nails and at the back of your feet.

TREATMENT
How are open wounds treated?

Home care for minor wounds

Minor wounds can be treated at home. First, wash and disinfect the wound to remove all dirt and debris. Use direct pressure and elevation to control bleeding and swelling. When wrapping the wound, always use a sterile dressing or bandage. (Very minor wounds may heal fine without a bandage.) You’ll need to keep the wound clean and dry for five days. You should also make sure you get plenty of rest. Eat enough fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water and juices, live an active life to help in blood circulation to the extremities

Pain typically accompanies a wound. You can take acetaminophen(Tylenol) as directed on the package. Avoid aspirin products, since they can cause or prolong bleeding. Apply ice if you have bruising or swelling, and avoid picking at scabs. If you’re spending time outdoors in the sun, use sun protection factor (SPF) 30 sunscreen over the area until it’s completely healed.

 

When to see a doctor

Although you can treat some wounds at home, you should see a doctor if:

  • an open wound is deeper than 1/2 inch
  • the bleeding does not stop with direct pressure
  • the bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes
  • the bleeding is the result of a serious accident

Medical treatments

Your doctor may use different techniques to treat your open wound. After cleaning and possibly numbing the area with anesthetic, your doctor may close the wound using skin glue, sutures, or stitches. You may receive a tetanus booster shot if you have a puncture wound. Depending upon where your wound is located and the potential for infection, your doctor may elect to not close the wound and let it heal naturally. This is known as “healing by secondary intention,” meaning from the base of the wound to the superficial epidermis. This process may require you to pack your wound with gauze. Although the healing may not be cosmetically appealing, it prevents infection of the wound and the formation of abscesses.

Other treatments for an open wound include pain medication and penicillin. Your doctor may also prescribe penicillin or another antibiotic if there’s an infection or high risk for developing an infection. In some cases, surgery might be needed. If a body part is severed, it should be brought to the hospital for possible reattachment. Wrap the body part in moist gauze and pack it in ice.

Cracks can be treated with doctor prescribing vitamins like Vitamin c, multivitamin, B.complex may or may not give IV fluid depending on the extent of dehydration

When you leave the doctor’s office, you might have bandages and dressings. It’s important to always wash your hands and work on a clean surface when changing bandages and dressings. Disinfect and dry the wound thoroughly before dressing it again. Dispose of old dressings and bandages in plastic bags.

COMPLICATIONS
Are there any complications from having an open wound?

The main complication of an open wound is the risk of infection. Call your doctor immediately if you’ve had a puncture, deep laceration, or serious accident and you’re showing signs of significant bleeding (hemorrhage) or infection. Signs of hemorrhage include continuous bleeding that does not respond to holding direct pressure. You may have an infection if the wound shows:

  • an increase in drainage
  • thick green, yellow, or brown pus
  • pus with a foul odor

Other signs of infection include having:

  • a fever of over 100.4°F for more than four hours
  • a tender lump in your groin or armpit
  • a wound that isn’t healing

Your doctor will drain or debride the wound and often prescribe an antibiotic if infection from bacteria develops. In serious cases, surgery may be required to remove infected tissue and sometimes the surrounding tissue as well.

Conditions that can develop from an open wound include the following.

  • Lockjaw is caused by an infection from the bacteria that cause tetanus. Lockjaw can cause muscle contractions in the jaw and neck.
  • A necrotizing soft tissue infection (gas gangrene) can develop. This is a severe infection caused by a variety of bacteria including Clostridium and Streptococcus that can lead to tissue loss and sepsis (a systemic infection).
  • Cellulitis, an infection of the skin that is not in immediate contact with the wound.
OUTLOOK
Outlook

Whether you have a minor or a more serious open wound, it’s important to take quick action. Some open wounds can be treated at home, but this isn’t always the case. You need medical attention if you have a deep cut or if you’re bleeding a lot. This ensures you receive the most appropriate treatment and reduces your risk of complications and infection.