Tagged in: Tips

10 Easy Food Swaps To Keep Your Cholesterol In Check

You want to maintain your cholesterol, but also want to sustain the deliciousness of food? Many people believe that in order to control cholesterol you have to survive on oats, bran, and tofu only. This is absolutely not true. You can maintain your cholesterol without sacrificing taste. Here are some interesting food substitutions which can help you do just that.
 
1. Sprinkle Walnuts, Skip Croutons
 
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A salad with croutons is tasty, but it carries carbohydrates. For a healthier and tastier salad, replace croutons with walnuts. These powerful nuts contain polyunsaturated fat (good fat) that will maintain your cholesterol.
 
2. Sip Water, Not Cocktails
 
One of the delightful moments for foodies is to have mixed drinks with fruits, but they contain carbohydrates that would see your cholesterol levels soar. Switching to just water will not only quench your thirst, it will also keep your blood flowing freely.
 
3. Say Yes To Nuts, No To Cheese And Crackers
 
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We’re all usually encountered with the problem of pre-dinner hunger. In order to fulfill that need, we mostly look for crackers and cheese, but they carry high saturated fats which may shoot up your cholesterol. Instead, have some almonds. They contain low saturated fats and are a good snack for your pre-dinner hunger!
 
4. Vinegar And Lemon Juice Beats Salad Dressing
 
Salads are good for a healthy diet and salad dressing is one of the core ingredients that bring the actual taste to the salad. But if it’s a salad with high-fat dressing, then you’re missing the whole purpose of a salad. Switch to the balsamic vinegar or lemon juice which keeps it healthy without compromising the delicious taste of a salad.
 
5. Ditch The Butter For Margarine Spread
 

Butter is one of the highlights of breakfast, however, it’s also a source of high cholesterol. In order to balance taste and your cholesterol, replace it with margarine, which is a better fat that also provides taste.
 
6. Use Ground Turkey, Not Ground Beef
 
Red meat contains both saturated fat and dietary cholesterol that will shoot up your cholesterol levels. Switch to ground turkey which is healthy as well as tasty.
 
7. Chicken Is OK, Scallops Are Better
 
Chicken is the favorite of many, but it does increase cholesterol levels. If you want to reduce your cholesterol while maintaining the great taste of food, switch to seafood – especially scallops.
 
8. Quinoa Is A Tasty Alternative To Rice
 
Rice is no doubt very tasty in many delicious dishes, but it can increase your cholesterol level. So in order to control your cholesterol, use quinoa, the South American seeds which will bring a tasty and healthy touch to your food.
 
9. Munch On Popcorn, Not Tortilla Chips
 
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Tortilla is known to be delicious as healthy food, but homemade, air-popped popcorn is tastier and even healthier and it will help your cholesterol levels in check. Just watch out for that butter!
 
10. Skip The Fatty Sour Cream, Choose Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
 
Sour cream is a good ingredient to be used for garnishing or as past of a sauce. However, it contains saturated fats which will increase cholesterol levels in your body. Swap it out with no-fat Greek yogurt instead so that you can maintain the taste and texture of your food.

 

 

Healthy Tips To Be Happier At Work

After years of sitting in front of your computer and/or working from home, you may realize the lack of exercise you get and the need to be around real, walking, and talking people. Working from home usually entails just getting out of bed and hopping into the work chair and starting the routine over and over again.
 
When this happens, most of the day is spent sitting! This could end up being bad for your health. So what do you do? The first thing could include some changes to your working style – how about a standing desk for starters? Not only that, a few other changes here or there could positively affect your life moving forward.
 

1. Say Goodbye to Your Chair!
 
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Standing desks are becoming more widely accepted and you can definitely search for different styles online.
 

2. Get the Best Out of Your Commute
 
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If you don’t work from home, commuting is a great way to get some exercise into your day. This can mean getting off at a further bus stop so you force yourself to walk more – this can be done on the way home as well. But what if you drive? The same notion applies, you just need to find a further parking spot.
 

3. Keep Healthy Snacks at Hand
 
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If you have a kitchen in the office, it’s easy to prepare and store healthy snacks instead of ordering in every meal. If you have a grocery store nearby, pick up items that are easy to take to work and are easily stored, for instance, walnuts and granola bars. When you feel the sudden hunger pangs, just reach for something healthy in your drawer instead of opting for a sweet treat from the nearest vending machine!
 

4. Find Someone at Work to Accompany You to Your Workouts
 
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If you have coworkers who are like-minded, they won’t mind having company when working out. For women, it could mean another person to go to yoga with, or for males, no need to find another person to spot you when you’re on the bench press. The goal is to stay active and remain healthy.
 

5. Drink Lots of Green Tea
 
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If you have a kettle in the office, this is a breeze! If you buy tea from a café, it may cost a lot of money and sipping on lattes all day long may keep you awake all night. The best thing is to keep a mug and a box of green tea at your desk and when you get that craving for caffeine, just dip that tea bag and sip away!
 

6. The Workspace; A Reflection of Your Style
 
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Your possessions and your work environment should reflect you inner style and should continue to be an inspiration for you. That’s even after long hours of work; you’ll look around yourself with a smile rather than hoping to be somewhere else! You should find a lamp that is a reflection of your style in its own way because the lighting is extremely important to make you feel comfortable while working late nights at the office.
 

 

Traveling by Air: Understanding The Plane You’re On

To know your plane is very important for the quality trip you’re going on. It can easily be done when you’re going to select a flight and buy a ticket.
 

The search option by most airlines will help you choose the desired plane and desired seat on the plane. The following are the most important things to consider while choosing your air travel services and plane, keeping in line with your comforts and budget:
 

Noise
 
Noise causes a nuisance to the passengers, especially if you’re looking for some rest. Jet-noise problems are most severe in planes with rear-mounted engines, where noise in the last few rows can truly be offensive.

     

  • Favor: A380s and 787s, with their latest-generation engines.
  •  

  • Avoid: Seats far to the rear, especially in the last three to four rows in MD80s and MD90s, and the last two to three rows in smaller regional jets.

 

Smoothness
 
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In general, the bigger the plane, the less bumpy the ride will be. Jumbo jets are like big cruise ships: relatively smooth even in rough air. Choose bigger planes and always look for the better travel options when considering your budget.
 

  • Favor: A380s, 747s, and 787s are more favorable.
  •  

  • Avoid: Small regional jets and turboprop are less favorable.

 

Cabin Air
 
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The latest generation of jets — the 787 and soon-to-come A350 — provide lower cabin altitudes and higher humidity than older models. You’ll notice the difference if you have a long flight for your vacation.
 

  • Favor: 787s and A350s instead of other planes.

 

Seating
 
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Seating space varies from older to newer planes. Unlike front-to-rear space, side-to-side seat spacing on most planes does depend on airplane model. There are airline-to-airline differences in the number of seats per row, and therefore, width on two wide-body planes.
 

  • Favor: 18-inch (or better) nine-across seats on 777 and eight across seats on 787.
  •  

  • Avoid: 17-inch 10-across seats on 777 and nine across seats on 787; especially avoid a few foreign A330/340 models.

 

Overhead Bin Space
 
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Overhead bin space is another important factor to know before booking a plane. It is the potential travel factor while sitting in the plane and enjoying your space.
 
It varies mainly by plane model, but occasionally by airline as well. Unfortunately, we know of no online source of detailed data on bin design and space. In general, however, newer plane models have larger bins.
 

Entertainment
 
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Entertainment is a vital part to look into, even features such as on demand, multichannel TV, and movies. Older planes have pre-loaded tablets, TV having limited program choice and timing, while newer planes have a stronger TV offering. No airlines provide entertainment on MD80/90 while some airlines provide no entertainment on their smaller short-haul mainline planes. Likewise, only a few regional jets have entertainment.
 

Power Outlets
 
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Power outlets are in demand from today’s airlines due to the increased use of tablets and mobiles. Most new planes provide standard plug-in AC power in limited seats while older planes provide low-voltage DC, a USB connection, or automobile type socket. Most of the travelers want to connect to the Internet, play games, do corporate work, etc. while still having an acceptable mobile battery. So choose your plane wisely if this is important to you.
 

WiFi
 
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Due to the strong use of the Internet, WiFi availability is vital for every passenger on board. Fortunately, there is competition among airlines to provide better Internet speed and bandwidth. Alaska, Delta, Jet Blue, and Virgin America are among the emerging airlines to provide fleet-wide WiFi. There are some websites showing the airline/plane combinations providing WiFi. However, they do not differentiate between limited and high-bandwidth.
 

Premium Economy
 
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Airlines in North America offer a “semi-premium” option: three to five inches of extra pitch. True premium requires a maximum of seven seats per row in A330/340, A380 upper deck, and 787, and eight seats per row in 747 and 777. Some airlines do even better. Open Skies is the only carrier (as we know) that offers true premium economy in a 757, at four-across.
 

Business and First Class
 
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Different airlines use differing approaches to layout. Nowadays, a flatbed is becoming the competitive norm — Delta, for example, is 100 percent flatbed.
 
Paying a fortune for a “business class” seat on a red-eye flight that does not lie flat at all? On a few airlines, including Copa, Iceland air, and most of the long-haul low-fare airlines based in Europe; you will find it.
 

Getting The Information
 
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You can find most of the airplanes on several online sources. A complete coverage is on a site; Seat Guru, which shows seat plans, dimensions, in-flight entertainment, power availability, WiFi availability, and seat recline. It also highlights “bad” seats. If Seat Guru lists any airline you’re considering, you need to go no further. Other online seat sources include Seat Expert, Seat Maestro, and Seat Plans.

 

 

Breastfeeding Helps Your Baby’s Immune System

Babies, for nine months, live a rather nurtured life, securely protected in their mothers’ wombs with all the antibodies present in the placenta. However, when they are born, they face a completely different environment. Therefore, it’s imperative that the baby receives the required nutrition that supports and enhances its growth and development after birth.
 

Here’s where breastfeeding comes into play. Breastfeeding is proven to improve babies’ immune systems while simultaneously providing the comforting and soothing physical contact with their mothers. This is absolutely essential for the all-around development of your baby. A baby starts producing antibodies to combat infections between 5 to 6 months; however, its immune system may take up to 6 years to be fully developed. In the interim the newborn requires some sort of immunity boost to keep it away from infections and other serious illnesses. These illnesses and infections are usually caused by the numerous bacteria present in the atmosphere. This much needed immunity boost can be provided in the form of nutritionally abundant mother’s milk.
 
Breastfeeding is undeniably the most complete form of nourishment for babies and its benefits include better health, physical growth and mental development. Here are few of the numerous advantages that breastfeeding has over baby formula.
 
Breastfeeding is Irreplaceable
 
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Mother’s milk is known to be an abundant source of proteins, fat and sugar, and is extremely nutritious for your baby. It helps protect your infant from various illnesses while reducing the chance of your baby developing an ear infection, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, gut infections, or pneumonia. Some mothers prefer putting their babies on formula milk, as they believe that formula milk comes loaded with proteins and vitamins, however, this may not be entirely true. Formula milk is a good option for those who do not produce adequate breast milk to breastfeed their babies. One does need to be aware that while breast milk is an absolutely pure form of nutrition, formula milk needs to be mixed with water for its preparation and this increases the risk of infections contaminating the mixture with water. Breastfeeding also helps mothers create a special bond with their babies.
 
Breastfeeding Averts Infections
 
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A mother’s milk consists of antibodies and enzymes that prepare the baby’s body to fight various illnesses and infections. Studies have proven that compared to babies on formula milk, it was the breastfed babies who showed signs of better health and illness combating behavior. Breast milk improves the baby’s ability to fight diarrhea by enhancing the production of useful bacteria in the intestines of the baby.
 
Allergy Reduction through Breastfeeding
 
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With the various studies carried out to understand the benefits of breastfeeding infants, it was found that breastfed babies displayed lower signs of hereditary allergies as compared to those who were not breastfed. While doctors strongly recommend breastfeeding for numerous medically profitable reasons, this is one of its long-term benefits.
 
Quicker Maturity of The Immune System
 
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The approximate time taken for a baby’s immunity system to build up is 6 years. Studies show that babies that are breastfed tend to have a quicker immune system maturity than those who are formula fed. Their bodies react positively to keep away harmful germs and infections, thus evading serious illnesses.
 
Breastfeeding is therefore strongly recommended for the initial six months after birth. Many mothers continue breastfeeding for 2 years and more. This, of course, could be carried out along with the introduction of other food sources like fruits, vegetables and pulses. It’s preferable not to substitute breastfeeding with formula or other foods for a minimum of six months.
 
In conclusion, breastfeeding not only influences a baby’s health positively by strengthening the immune system, it also enhances the baby’s growth and development.
 

 

Traveling Abroad Requires Planning. Here’s How!

Voyaging globally is an experience best arranged early and not dependent on last-minute booking of flights. There are many “to-do” things that and ought to be checked off from the get go. Certainly, appearing at your entryway without ID or overlooking sleep for your overnight flight can ruin your hotly anticipated getaway. However, the vast majority of your readiness ought to be devoted to guaranteeing wellbeing, security, and budgetary necessities.
 
To spare you some time for planning, we’ve gathered these tips for your next travel date.
 
Documentation for Traveling and Banking Procedures
 
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Ensure your identification and any travel docs are complete. Most nations require an identification to be valid for no less than six months after your planned return, so ensure you won’t be dismissed or postponed in case of an old travel permit.
 
Keep physical and computerized duplicates of your travel permits and all your research material in the event that anything is lost. In addition, give your schedule and contact numbers to family and friends so there are people to contact in the event of a crisis.
 
Tell your bank and credit card organizations about your travel dates so they don’t deny your purchases, and get some information about universal ATM expenses so you can figure out which ones won’t charge you. To sweeten the deal even further, in case you’re a neglectful cardholder (or simply need to be arranged in the event that your wallet is stolen), bring a backup card for the off chance that you’ve dropped the few you carried with you. It’s an uncommon event, but it’s a buzzkill when it happens.
 
Tip: Don’t belittle how accommodating a wireless photograph of your travel permit can be. Whether you need to go to the office and report it lost, or are simply rounding out a traditions card and need your travel permit number, it will probably prove to be useful. Email the picture to yourself to have an additional computerized duplicate in the event that your cellphone comes up short on batteries or gets lost.
 
Security is a ‘MUST’
 
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One of the least demanding and most essential pre-travel checks is apparently the most overlooked. Travel protection and State Department alarms can be fantastically essential in crisis situations abroad.
 
The previous winter’s cruel climate brought about $5.3 billion in lost profitability and out-of-pocket expenses as per Skift.com. That is twice as much as the run-of-the-mill winter norm and incorporates a great deal of crossed out flights.
 
Subscribing to the State Department’s STEP alarms for your destination right off the bat may appear to be pointless, but the messages about current travel confinements, strikes, and regions of political agitation will serve as a small lesson in what’s in store for you once you’re there. Any cautions you get will tell you to get ready for some sudden hindrances ahead of time.
 
Tip: Travel protection can cost as little as a couple of dollars for every travel day and can cover anything from replacing a broken camera to crisis therapeutic considerations, possibly sparing you a large number of dollars.
 
Health Check
 
travel-3-needle 

It’s best to get the vital vaccinations as quickly as time permits. Talk to your doctor about getting the right shots as they could be different depending on the nation you visit. For instance, the U.S. prescribes yellow fever antibodies for those going to Colombia while 159 different nations require confirmation of a yellow fever inoculation from travelers who have been to at-danger territories in Central and South America and Africa.
 
Tip: Keep those records in your carry-on in the event that customs asks you to present it.
 
Connectivity
 
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Purchase a universal telephone arrangement early, “open” your phone so you can make calls through an outside bearer, or purchase a worldwide-prepaid SIM card. In the event that none of those sound perfect, or in the event that you’ll be staying at your destination for a long haul, research choices for telephone rentals or arrangements before you head out. Social media connectivity should also be ensured and individuals should stay updated. A proper plan for connectivity should be planned and arranged. This will help you feel comfortable while traveling.
 
Tip: Some telephones are now opened, contingent upon the transporter. Figure out additional information about global telephone choices and call your telephone company about choices once you recognize what will work best for you.
 
Check-in the Requirements
 
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Some of the time, the most vital thing you’ll pack is in your cell phone as opposed to your bag. Disconnected from the net when flying out can be a real disaster. You can discover WiFi in a few spots to download Google Maps or CityMaps2Go to go without spending battery life and wasting data on useless information.
 
Preloading videos on your devices could likewise spare you if your TV glitches on the whole flight.
 
Tip: Don’t overlook a charger. Watching hours of your most loved TV shows is certainly going to deplete your battery, and there’s nothing more regrettable than at long last discovering a WiFi hotspot only to have your phone bite the dust.
 
Learn About the Destination
 
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Gathering relevant and required information about the place you’re going is always a good idea. Whether you’re a travel application specialist or to a greater degree a soft cover manual individual, having some info about your destination is precious. Read up about the district you’re heading out to ahead of time, to pick up knowledge and vital data you may not even know you have questions about. From cash change and valuable expressions to tipping, proper apparel, and social/lawful traditions, it’s ideal to be prepared so you don’t land yourself in hot waters.
 
Tip: Don’t bring chewing gum into Singapore, and don’t wear camouflage in the Maldives. These are just a couple of examples of things that are punishable by law, and although they may seem strange, it could end up causing you a lot of trouble. There are a wide range of other comparative laws that could destroy your vacation if you didn’t research ahead of time.
 
Back-Home Care
 
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The home care arrangement must be in the checklist because they are mandatory to be checked before traveling. When traveling, people should make sure that back home, people are managed properly and many concerned entities are there who can take care of your place. There’s nothing more regrettable than acknowledging once you’re without cell that you neglected to stop your mail conveyance or request that somebody water your expertly developed window plants. Ensure your day by day tasks are secured before you leave, or, designate a trusty companion to do them for you.
 
Tip: You can discover a house or pet sitter to run your errands for nothing in case you’re willing to list your home on TrustedHouseSitters.com. Furthermore, you could discover free cabin through the site for your excursion abroad in case you’re willing to invest some energy with another traveler’s companions.
 

 

6 Unexpected Reasons To Get Into Gardening

There is no way to deny the benefits we receive from gardening just by the foods we cultivate or the flowers and fauna we get to enjoy in our gardens. If you have a large fruit and vegetable garden, it will over flow your kitchen with marmalades and jams, tomatoes, beans, ginger and garlic, potatoes, onions and whatever else may strike your fancy! Gardening offers other less visible, and yet equally supporting benefits. Why do you think that gardening is now beginning to get included in prisons, nursing homes, as well as community centers for the old, homeless or abused populations along with at-risk youths? It all has to do with the feeling of well being you achieve from a rigorous weeding and pruning session and the benefits it has for your health and mind.
 
Here are a few!
 
1. Stress relief along with a self esteem boost
 
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A study conducted by Dutch scientists asked two harmonious groups to complete one pre-defined stressful task. After the task was completed, one of the groups was instructed to garden for around 40 minutes, while the second group was told to read indoors. Afterwards, tests were conducted and the gardening group reported better moods along with lower cortisol levels when compared to the reading group. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced when a person is under stress and it influences your mood along with a lot of other chronic ailments such as immune function deficiency, tendency to gain more weight, memory depletion, and heart disease.
 
2. Heart health benefits and smaller stroke risk
 
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Regular gardening is just one of the many ways available to achieve a target of 2.5 hours of moderately intense exercise weekly. Along with this, gardening provides you with a reward and motivation to go ahead and do it instead of jogging on a treadmill like a hamster on a wheel! For those who are above 60 years of age, gardening has been known to reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks by 30%. How can such old people garden? Here is the answer: they use raised flower beds and patches of land on which they do not have to bend. Along with this, exposure of around 10-15 minutes per day with no sunscreen will help your body produce vitamin D which helps us ward off osteoporosis, heart diseases, as well as cancers.
 
Try fitting in 15-minute stretches of gardening at various sunlight filled hours to ensure that it does not take away from your schedule and you still gain the numerous benefits associated with the activity.
 
3. Hand strength and dexterity
 
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With age, thinning dexterity and strength based in our hands gradually narrows the ranges of activity that are possible for us. Gardening helps keep those important hand muscles vital without any sort of exercises. Research has resulted in the conception of rehabilitative programs that are for stroke patients and include various gardening tasks as it is a productive way of helping them rebuild strength in the hands. However, there are things you need to be aware of. For instance, stressful gardening can lead to repetitive stress injury, tendonitis, or even carpal tunnel syndrome. Practicing hand-healthy gardening is a must by using simple warm ups, body positioning as comfortably and ergonomically as required, along with changing the tasks regularly before straining becomes evident. Alternatively, using your dominant and non-dominant hands will keep the strain off one hand as well as involve your brain in processing while keeping it healthier.
 
4. Increased brain health along with reduced Alzheimer’s risk
 
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A long term study that followed 3,000 people for nearly 16 years tracking each and every mental development, found that people who gardened regardless of anything else in their lives, had a reduced risk of dementia by 36%! Alzheimer’s is known as a highly mysterious disease as the factors that influence its occurrence and development are poorly understood. But this relation could be due to the fact that gardening involves so much of ourselves: our strength, our endurance, our dexterity, our learning, our problem solving skills, and our sensory awareness.
 
5. Immune system regulation
 
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One of the funniest coincidences, the dirt under your nails is helpful to you as it has friendly bacteria! Found commonly in garden dirt and ingested via breathing or on produce, the Mycobacterium vaccae helps fight allergies, asthma, and psoriasis. A majority of these illnesses are due to a weak immune system and hence mycobacterium vaccae helps strengthen the immune system. It also helps relieve symptoms of depression and helps us lead a healthier and happier life.
 
6. Depression along with mental health
 
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A morning routine around fresh green plants and multi-colored flowers is well known for the “lift” it brings to anyone’s day. But is there any medical proof? This can be found in the horticultural therapy field that is going strong and providing positive results for patients suffering from depression and other related mental illnesses. Numerous benefits emerge from a varied combination including physical activity, a healthy awareness of the natural environment, cognitive stimulation, and the satisfaction received from the work. You can build up the therapeutic aspects of your garden by aiming for a grouping of food produced (vegetables as well as fruits), scented, as well as flowering plants to allow all your senses to flourish. By adding a comfortable chair or seat in the garden, you can relax and enjoy your hard work and marvel at nature when you need to take a break.
 
All this hard work can lead to heat stroke and dehydration so ensure you are drinking enough water as well as keeping an eye on the signs of fatigue your body is showing. By having various types of plants like we suggested above, you can enjoy the ‘growing’ view of your garden; one day one plant may blossom and the next another one may bear a fruit. The excitement of what you’ll see today will keep your mind fresh and lively.
 
A famous biologist named Edward O. Wilson termed this phenomena “biophilia.” It’s when we are instinctively drawn towards other living and growing things – to be a part of the web of life.
 

 

Guide To Traveling When You Feel It’s Risky

So maybe you’ve gotten afraid of traveling because of recent attacks around the world which targeted popular tourist spots. But how do you manage this when you’ve already made your plans and cancelling is just not an option?
 

We know that living in this world means that a terrorist attack can occur at any time – in any place – and for any reason, or no reason at all. So how do you determine which country is safe to visit and which is not? We can judge our own comfort levels and decide accordingly. What main factors impact our judgment? There are two: risk perception and risk tolerance. Risk perception has to do with our understanding of the risk that has been ingrained in our minds based on what we have heard and what we consider the level of threat to be. Risk tolerance is based on your individual tolerance of danger. So when making a decision, you need to first estimate how much risk is there and then are you able to tolerate it or not?
 
Connect and Read Other Travelers’ Reports
 
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Sign into TripAdvisor and go ahead and ask questions relating to your trip or read the already present reviews. You can sort the reviews based on places and dates to ensure that you go through the latest posts. For any unanswered questions, post your own and mention the location!
 
Advice by Your Government
 
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The government regularly issues updates on which countries to avoid. Many consider it an excessively worded list, but it is a good starting point on which countries to avoid and which to cover.
 
What Are Others Saying
 
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You can also view other countries embassy sites for information on where they are limiting their citizen travels. These are found on their websites and popular countries on whose embassy sites to check include USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.
 
Map the Locations and Your Stays
 
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Identify which locations are high target threats and then map them. Carefully assess what the distance is between those locations and your destinations. This will help with the risk tolerance aspect as you can get a feel about the level of threat your destination faces.
 
Go Over the Local News
 
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Mostly English newspapers focus on the crimes against foreigners and hence will give you a clear view of what is going on in and around your chosen destinations. www.onlinenewspapers.com is an amazing collection of English newspapers from around the world.
 
Perspective Is Important
 
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Normal people are impacted by terrorist threats for a maximum of a day or two. They have to continue with their lives as they have mouths to feed and lives to carry on. Before believing into the news reporting of only the bad, think about all the good that must be going on as well.
 
Security Is Always Higher After Incidents
 
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Normally, the aim of terrorist attacks is to cause panic and confusion by using the element of surprise. So if you’re going to a place that has been recently attacked, be assured that there will be extra security around ensuring a much higher level of security that includes metal detectors and visible guns.
 
Waiting it out until the situation gets better will probably take forever so here are some measures you can take for your own safety:
 
STEP Enrollment:
 
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The US government has created a program under the State Department titled Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) which is aimed towards making it easier for them to track your movements and get in touch with you in case of any emergencies.
 
Crowds Are a No No
 
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When terrorists attack at any location, their aim is to cause the maximum damage with the least amount of casualties to themselves. This is only possible if they attack large crowded locations so try to avoid them as much as possible.
 
Twitter Feeds
 
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Follow major global news and twitter feeds along with your country’s and the visiting country’s major police and rescue services to get the main news as soon as things happen. Twitter is the most updated so ensure to keep an eye on it.
 
Monitor the News
 
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Stay connected via international news channels and online by ensuring your room has these channels included as a part of their package and pay for the Internet connection so you can view news as and when you want.
 
Save the Emergency Numbers
 
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Find out what the numbers are for emergency services in your destination country and save them. Along with this, save the number to your hotel and any others you know in the city.
 
Satellite or Local Phone Rental
 
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Normally in emergency situations, a roaming network becomes weak or cut off. So ensure you have a local number handy for such situations or rent a satellite phone so that it continues working and you can call for help.
 
Vetted Taxis
 
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While it will cost more, having a hotel driver or a hotel vetted taxi to take you around will allow you the peace of mind from traveling in crowded public transportation. So go for this option and book a hotel car for the whole day.
 
Identify the Risks Most Likely to Impact You
 
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Make sure that you take necessary precautions when out and about like you would at your home. Avoid flashing too many monetary things like jewelry and phones or shopping from expensive outlets in one go. These things identify you as rich tourists. Of course, this is something you should not want.
 

 

11 Easy And Effective Tips To Lower Stress

Everyone faces stress in their life, however, coping with stress is important before it goes out of control.
 
Excessive stress and tension have serious effects on one’s health and numerous research studies demonstrate the significance of alleviating stress. A study by the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 2010 indicates that individuals having work stress suffer from a greater body mass index (BMI) as compared to others.
 
Research done at Tel Aviv University, Israel, in 2006 stated that employees suffering from extreme stress have more chances (1.8 times more) of getting type 2 diabetes. Moreover, research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, in 2006 found that excess stress hormones can lead to various skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis.
 
If you’re worried about stress issues, here are 11 easy and effective techniques to overcome them.
 
1. Perform Yoga
 
1-Lower-Stress 

Yoga has various benefits. It not only maintains the shape of your body and enhances flexibility, but it’s also effective in reducing inflammation and stress.
 
According to “The Science of Yoga and Why it Works”, in some cases, inflammation is effective as it is an immune response while dealing with infections, however, if it reaches overwhelming levels, it leads to severe health issues like depression, heart diseases and asthma.
 
Research conducted in 2010 at Ohio State University stated that people with stress, during an activity such as dipping feet in ice cold water, resulted in lower inflammatory responses in yoga experts as compared to yoga beginners.
 
2. Adequate Sleep
 
2-Lower-Stress 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that getting enough sleep greatly enhances your health, reduces stress, and improves your appearance. Stress and sleeping disorders work like a vicious cycle as a stressed day leads to improper sleep at night, making you tired which increases stress levels.
 
The Clayton Sleep Institute in Saint Louis conducted research in 2010 which indicated that individuals suffering from severe stress have disturbed sleep patterns.
 
 3. Talk Therapy
 
3-Lower-Stress 

Another effective stress reduction technique is psychotherapy or talk therapy, helping to alleviate anxiety and stress. In this technique, psychotherapist and patient talk about issues faced by the patient and devise ways to lessen disturbed or deleterious thoughts.
 
Common talk therapy techniques include group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT); however, all of them rely on converting pessimistic thinking of patients into optimistic thoughts while handling everyday stress.
 
4. Exercise Daily
 
4-Lower-Stress 

In order to alleviate stress, choose one exercise and do it every day as it lessens the quantity of cortisol, which is a hormone from the adrenal gland causing stress, anger, anxiety and fear. If cortisol levels increase too much, then it leads to inflammation and organ damage.
 
While talking to Live Science, Debbie Mandel, writer of Turn on your inner light: fitness for body, mind and soul by Busy Bee Group in 2003, stated that exercise reduces cortisol, making individuals healthy and happy. Additionally, exercise boosts pituitary glands to produce endorphins, the neurotransmitters causing happiness.
 
CDC suggests doing some kind of aerobic movements like speed walking for at 2.5 hours a week or doing activities that strengthen muscles in the body (back, leg, chest, arms, hips, shoulders, abdomen) for 2 to 3 days a week.
 
If you go for a walk of 10 minutes, three times a day for five days a week, that gives you 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly.
 
5. Contemplate
 
5-Lower-Stress 

Meditation has many advantages like comforting pain, relieving stress, lowering blood pressure, and avoiding relapses among depression patients.
 
Research at Emory University, Atlanta, in 2008 demonstrated benefits of Zen Meditation in boosting awareness and getting hold of the thought process along with concentrating on breathing. This leads to controlling problems associated with stressed feelings like hyperactivity and attention deficiency disorder. Meditation has all various types and it’s not only about sitting cross-legged. A few of them concentrate on clearing thoughts, whereas, some others motivate the person to think about improving health, and reflect on positive aspects of others and one’s own self. Meditation can be done by lying down or sitting on a chair.
 
6. Don’t Forget to Laugh
 
6-Lower-Stress 

Laughing is an ideal treatment for reducing stress. Research carried out in 2001 at Loma Linda University indicated that participants who watched a funny video showed reduction in stress hormones like epinephrine and cortisol. Their endorphins and human growth hormones were raised. They’re the neurotransmitters causing happiness, alleviating depression and strengthening the immune system.
 
Laughing is effective in controlling physical pain as well as in maintaining emotional pain or stress. A study by Oxford University stated that laughing increases our capability to endure pain as it releases endorphins.
 
7. Schedule Stress Time
 
7-Lower-Stress 

Research by Penn State University in July demonstrated if the employees take out some time to contemplate on things that worry them, then it would be really effective.
 
If individuals allot a certain time, say 30 minutes a day for stress, it might be useful as they won’t be worrying all day and adjourn stress for a specific time. Furthermore, it is effective in maintaining stressful habits and concentrating on good things happening in their lives.
 
8. Stop Complaining
 
8-Lower-Stress 

Researches demonstrated that whining about your stress even to your closed ones is ineffective in dealing with such issues.
 
Research by Kent University, England showed that individuals who are perfectionists suffer from stress every day and complaining makes their situation only worse. Stress increased after these individuals discussed their condition with friends.
 
According to Brad J. Bushman, social psychologist, researcher of aggression & coping and teacher at Ohio State University, whining about stress is useless for all whether they are perfectionists or not. While talking to My Health News Daily, he said complaining boosts stress instead of alleviating it.
 
In order to deal with stress, try these 3 approaches: humor, acceptance and positive reframing (seeing positive things in all situations).
 
9. Massage Therapy
 
9-Lower-Stress 

Research in 2010 indicated that a massage not only brings comfort and releases tension in your muscles, but also positively influences your hormones. Participants of a study at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, Los Angeles, were given a 45-minute massage, leading to reduced vasopressin, a hormone related to aggression and declined cortisol levels.
 
10. Start Writing
 
10-Lower-Stress 

As per the study by National Institute of Health (NIH), keeping a record of stressful feelings can actually reduce them. Writing your emotions during stress makes you realize that you can control and change your condition. It’s effective in devising ways to solve the issues.
 
NIH states that reviewing your writings can highlight most stressful things, which in turn helps to get rid of things that cause stress and how to avoid them in coming times.
 
11. Hug
 

11-Lower-Stress 

Oxytocin, a cuddle hormone is linked with social relationships is effective in decreasing stress. It is released from brain’s hypothalamus, goes to pituitary gland and sends hormones to the blood.
 
Various research on animals suggest that hormones can relieve anxiety and stress. A research done on isolated prairie voles (Midwestern rodents) in 2007 demonstrated symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, but these symptoms faded away after inserting oxytocin.
 
Oxytocin is naturally released during childbirth, sex, and breastfeeding. It’s also produced by ordinary physical contact like hugging. Oxytocin is heightened by playing with your pets as suggested by research published in Hormones and Behavior Journal.

 

 

7 Surprising Benefits Of Drinking Honey Water Daily

The best of all thirst quenchers is water and it’s known to have multiple health benefits. It keeps a good control on calories thus promoting weight loss. It energizes the muscles in our body by preventing fatigue and maintaining the correct balance of fluids. The more water intake you have, the more visibly clear and fresh skin you will see as it prevents dehydration. A good intake of water is the best thing you can do for your kidneys. It will relieve them from a lot of stress and reduce the risk of kidney stones.
 

Water is extremely useful for a healthy gut. It prevents constipation, maintains a healthy colon and prevents gastrointestinal diseases. Overall water is the most important drink of the day. We should all make sure we take adequate amounts of water to maintain a healthy balance of fluids in our body. If just water alone can pull in so many benefits, can you just imagine the benefit if you include honey water in your diet?
 
The benefits become two-fold! Honey is a magic potion! It is packed with so many benefits that taking honey water on a daily basis will definitely improve your well-being.
 
Most of the benefits associated with honey are quite similar to those associated with taking warm water itself. Some of the noticeable changes you will see within a short period of time are mentioned as follows:
 
1. Weight Loss
 
honey-water-1-weightloss 

Weight loss is the number one concern for many people around the world. Some need to lose it for their beauty and some for their health. Honey water on a regular basis drastically melts away the excess fat from your body! Furthermore, the natural sugar in honey helps you ward off the temptation for sweets and controls your cravings.
 
2. Healthy Immune System
 
honey-water-2-healthy 

Honey is loaded with natural antibacterial elements. It has antiseptic properties that help control acidity and increases intestinal mucus secretion. It’s got antioxidants that fight off the free radicals that damage the skin and it is great for fighting bacterial infections. You can combat bad breath issues with honey water as well.
 
3. Cough and Cold Treatment
 
honey-water-3-cold 

Honey has been used to cure coughs since olden times. Taking a glass of warm honey water every day in the morning soothes the throat and provides relief from persistent coughs.
 
4. Allergy Control
 
honey-water-4-allergy 

If you reside in an area where you are vulnerable to either dust or pollen allergies, taking warm honey water first thing in the morning helps you tackle those environmental allergies and curbs them. Its regular use helps reduce your vulnerability towards these recurring allergies.
 
5. Flatulence Control
 
honey-water-5-gas 

Gassy situations can be awkward, uncomfortable, and a recurring nightmare! Regular use of warm honey water ensures that the gases get neutralized in your body. It may not eliminate the problem thoroughly, but drastically reduces such incidences. So whenever you feel bloated, sip on a glass of warm honey water, and your pain will be alleviated in no time!
 
6. You’ll Get Clear Skin
 
honey-water-6-skin 

Honey combined with water is a powerful collagen booster as it comprises of a lot of skin restorative properties. Your skin will be clear and rejuvenated with its regular use. Due to the fact that you feel energized and fresh by drinking honey water regularly, it greatly improves the health of your skin.
 
7. Honey Water Improves Health
 
honey-water-7-healthy 

Does honey water contribute in improving your health? Yes! Regular consumption of warm honey water improves the level of good cholesterol in your body. This reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, it helps maintain proper hydration in your body. It’s also a great detox that helps the body get rid of all the dangerous toxins that build up with time.
 
So many benefits and such a simple concoction! Boost your body with health and start your honey-water regime today!
 

 

Diet Sodas Drive You To Consume More Calories

Are we really the best judges of what we consume? Do we analyze the pros and cons before deciding what we eat and drink? In our attempt to do good to our body, is there a possibility that we may be doing more harm?
 

In an age where fast food is the easiest and most preferred option, many of us try to enjoy the good things about junk foods while still ensuring that we do not consume the large amount of calories stocked up in them. We select products marketed by various companies that guarantee the same. One of these is diet soda. If you thought diet sodas are the perfect alternative to give you the energy boost you need in a fizzy drink that doesn’t make you feel guilty about all the extra calories, think again!
 
Let’s look at some important reasons why we must not be totally ignorant about our unmonitored levels of diet soda consumption. It may say ‘diet’ on the can, but there sure is more than meets the eye!
 
Setting wrong expectations
 
diet-soda-sweetener 

Diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners. Companies use this as their selling point to convince consumers that artificial sweeteners are a better and healthier alternative to natural sweeteners. Unfortunately, this is not true. Artificial sweeteners have the exact same effect on our body as natural sweeteners like sugar. Consuming drinks with artificial sweeteners enhances the levels of insulin present in the blood and this leads the body to store fat, thus increasing body weight.
 
Numbing our sense reactors to natural sweeteners
 
diet-soda-fruit 

Over time, consumption of sodas and other drinks that include artificial sweeteners numb our senses to natural sweeteners present in fruits. This is caused due to our senses being heightened by the concentrated sweet flavor used in artificial sweeteners. Once our body gets accustomed to artificial sweeteners, we are unable to enjoy natural and healthy sweet foods. Unknowingly, we drift away from eating healthy foods and fruits. Put down that can of diet soda and settle for a chilled iced tea instead.
 
Weakening of bones
 
diet-soda-bones 

Most sodas contain the harmful chemical compound phosphoric acid. Various studies have proven consumption of foods containing phosphoric acid contribute to the weakening of bones. An occasional soda once in a while won’t do much harm, but if consumed in large quantities or on a regular basis, this could have some adverse effects on your overall health. It doesn’t matter if it’s just soda or diet soda. The compound is present in either of them.
 
Diet sodas contribute to weight gain
 
diet-soda-weight 

Yes, you read that right! Diet sodas are often consumed as an alternative to normal sodas with the idea that avoiding heavy sugar consumption means avoiding that extra weight gain. Diet sodas actually can lead to weight increase. So if you’re working towards losing weight, it’s better to quit drinking sodas all together. You could, instead, settle for natural sweet drinks like fruit juices or fruit pulps. They may lack the fizzy temptation that sodas offer, but they are a safer bet when it comes to living a healthy life.
 
Increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks
 
diet-soda-heart 

One of the main chemicals used in diet sodas is aspartame. Not many know this fact, but the consumption of aspartame can significantly increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other heart related ailments. Scientists are further studying the relation between the consumption of diet sodas and the increase in cardiovascular ailments, as there have been more problems than solutions to date. Scientists believe that there is a stronger connection between people who drink diet sodas and have heart problems than those who do not.
 
Quitting sodas, especially cola drinks, is a perfect decision. Hard to make, but if you’re successful in quitting, you’ve just helped yourself to a healthier and a longer life.
 

 

Detoxify Underarms To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk

We all know that cancer is a disease on the rise. There are various treatments available in the market but nothing beats the age old strategy of prevention. Detoxifying your underarms may help you reduce the chances of developing breast cancer.
 
It might not be common knowledge, but using underarm deodorants can increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Why is that? Let’s find out.
 
Cancer-Prevention-Detoxify-1-Deodorants 

Deodorants and anti-perspirants contain a variety of carcinogens (cancer causing agents) in their formula. The following ingredients aid the development of breast cancer:

     

  1. Propylene glycol: Also known as anti-freeze, it increases your chances for getting allergies and immune-toxicity.
  2.  

  3. Aluminum: Is known to cause certain types of cancer along with Alzheimer’s disease.
  4.  

  5. Formaldehyde: Has germ killing powers, but it is a widely known carcinogen. It is also used for embalming corpses. Yikes!
  6.  

  7. Phthalates: These chemicals are known for disrupting the natural balance and production of hormones. They are also known for causing infertility issues in men and are most commonly found in plastic.
  8.  

  9. Parabens: This substance has been found in biopsied cancer cell tissues, hence proving itself to be a carcinogen.
  10.  

  11. Antibacterial compounds: Again, antibacterial compounds such as triclosan are known to cause a hormonal imbalance. The aid in breeding the antibiotic resistant superbugs and have various negative effects on one’s own immune system.

 
Cancer-Prevention-Detoxify-2-Ingredients 

Even products advertised as “natural” contain well known carcinogens, TEA, and DEA. They are basically preservatives that maintain a steady pH level. They also contain a variety of synthetic smells and colors that are a leading cause of hormonal disruption.
 
All the above discussed ingredients are reasons enough to stop using the over-the-counter deodorant and get busy making your own by using natural ingredients only.
 

If you’ve ever felt a lump in the armpit/neck region, those are actually your lymph nodes hard at work protecting you against diseases. They are a major part of your immune system and effectively remove pathogens along with bacteria from your body. You apply your deodorants directly on your lymph nodes, the defense central of your body. It may lead to hormone disruption as they are absorbed right into the skin.
 
Imagine your skin as a large organ and whatever you apply onto it is directly absorbed into your bloodstream. Now, why in the world would anyone want to put carcinogens into their own blood stream? This is the leading cause of an increase in blood cancer levels as stated by The American Cancer Society in 2013 when about 39,000 women passed away due to cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death right after lung cancer.
 
The President’s Cancer Panel presented a report entitled “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What Can We Do Now,” in 2010 that stated that huge environmental factors were being overlooked by The American Cancer Society. It also said that it would be wise to try to prevent it rather than develop cures for it.
 
Cancer-Prevention-Detoxify-3-Clay 

Here is a detox program for your underarms: ditch those industrial deodorants and make your own. If you are familiar with the effects of bentonite clay, then you will know exactly how it draws out the toxins and chemicals out of your skin. Your underarm odor will decrease and eventually leave, but it may take up to 14 days. Patience is the key here.
 
You Will Require:
 

     

  1. 1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  2.  

  3. 1 Tablespoon of bentonite clay
  4.  

  5. 1 or 2 teaspoons of water

 
What To Do?
 

     

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl using a wooden spoon.
  2.  

  3. Mix until it reaches the consistency of a pudding or thick cream. You can add water if it looks too thick.
  4.  

  5. Evenly spread it over your underarms.
  6.  

  7. Let it stay for up to 20 minutes (start with 5 minutes on day 1, eventually adding a minute each day until it becomes 20 minutes).
  8.  

  9. You can then shower normally or remove it with a wet towel or cloth.
  10.  

  11. In case of reddened skin, don’t worry as it is normal and it will disappear on its own.

 
Drinking ample amounts of water always helps in flushing out toxins from your body so make sure to increase your water intake. Try to implement dry brushing into your daily routine if you are not doing it already as it helps in the stimulation of lymph circulation.
 

Prevention is always better than having to cure something, so why not invest a little effort to prevent breast cancer?

 

 

Top Family-Friendly Hostels Around The World

Hostels all around the world are now realizing the need and consumer-preference for affordable accommodations for families and are accordingly adapting their resources to meet this new preference. There’s no denying the fact that hostels are the perfect option for people with families who are on a tight budget. Hostels receive more preference because they are centrally located, can hold multiple people simultaneously and allow cost-saving options like shuttle buses and laundry rooms. Online websites have huge databases covering a diverse range of hostels to choose from. The search filters make this task even easier.
 

When you are with kids, you need to take several things into consideration and here are a few tips to get you started when booking a hostel while with kids.
 
Look for family rooms located away from other rooms, ensuite bathrooms, amenities for children like high chairs, cots, and a good entertainment selection with indoor games.
 
Following is the list of affordable and family-friendly hostels around the world that you would want to remember for your next family trip.
 
YHA International Hostels
 
family-hostels-1-YHA 

Located in different places, YHA hostels are known for their large family rooms that can accommodate up to 5 people. They also have specifically reserved areas for children’s entertainment where they can play games and meet children from across the globe.
 
Our personal favorite is YHA London St. Pancras in UK which not only boasts of a centralized city location and is located in close vicinity of Kings Cross International Station, but is also in walking range of a couple of family-friendly tourist attractions. When inside the hotel, you can occupy yourself with a range of different board games. You will find the hostel’s environment extremely accepting of toddlers and offers to provide cots on request on their website. If you are in Australia, you are again in luck as Blue Mountains YHA is famous for their arcade games and exceptionally maintained and dedicated kid’s corner.
 
Adelaide Hostel
 
family-hostels-2-adelaide 

Located in San Francisco, USA, at Adelaide, you don’t just get free breakfasts on a daily basis, but you also get free weekly dinners. This is the biggest budget-friendly gem that parents tight on cash are going to love. Most of the private rooms offer refrigerators and microwaves to provide for the ever-changing needs of fussing toddlers. The television facility can help keep them in a good overall mood.
 
Palm Lakefront Resort and Hostel
 
family-hostels-3-palm 

Located in Orlando, USA, staying in this hostel can allow you to spend extra at the closely located Disney Land. The magic kingdom is just a bus ride away which is easily accessible at any time of the day. The family-friendly amenities that these hostels have to offer include a barbeque pit, a swimming pool, and a room for tech-savvy children with an Xbox and Playstation 2.
 
Hana Hostels, Japan
 
family-hostels-4-hana 

Located in Hiroshima, Fukoka, Kyoto and Osaka, this group of Japanese hostels are welcoming of children and babies. Games and cartoon options in the common room can help keep the young ones occupied and content.
 
Adventure Queenstown Hostel
 
family-hostels-5-adventure 

Located in Queenstown, New Zealand, this place is ideally known for its peaceful location away from the noisy musings of the nightlife. You can rent bicycles, frisbees, and DVDs to enjoy in the nearby Frisbee golf course.
 
Stayokay Hostels
 
family-hostels-6-stayokay 

Located in Netherlands, this internationally-affiliated hosteling group boasts of 26 Dutch properties that are well skilled at the art of keeping young visitors happy. They have different sports fields and interesting indoor recreation options to keep youngsters from throwing tantrums. Regular tourist groups can also benefit from the hostel’s family card facility where a certain annual fee can earn you discounts on bike rentals, accommodations, and tours.
 
Habitat HQ
 
family-hostels-7-hab 

Located in the uptown neighborhood of St. Kilda, Habitat HQ is ideal for road trip families because it provides free and secure parking. Habitat HQ is also titled as the city’s first carbon-neutral hostel for backpackers.
 
The Valley House Holiday Hostel
 
family-hostels-8-valley 

Located on the Achill Island of Ireland, the hostel has to offer some of the most picturesque and eye-dazzling views from the beach, just ten minutes of walking distance away. There are loads of natural trials to cater to your golf fantasies and a good point for children to burn off their energies.
 

 

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