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5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Glass of Wine Tonight

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It seems like no one can get enough of red wine, scientists included; every day there seems to be another study touting the amazing benefits of the plum-colored beverage. Lucky for us, the proof is in the long-stemmed glass (just one, since drinking more may be detrimental to your health). Here are five reasons unwinding with a glass of red after a long day should be on your list of to-dos — one reason for every workday!

It’s good for your heart: Antioxidants in red wine called flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and increasing the production of good cholesterol. According to researchers at the University of California, Davis, certain varietals have more concentrations of flavonoids than others. Of the most common red varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon has the most flavonoids, followed closely by Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir, then Merlot and Red Zinfandel.

It can lower depression: While heavy drinking has been linked to mental health problems, drinking a glass of red wine a day may do the opposite. A recent study found that moderate drinkers (those who drank two to seven small glasses of wine a week) were less likely to suffer from depression than those who drank more or less.

It can help your gut: That morning bowl of Greek yogurt isn’t the only thing that’s helping your gut. A study found that drinking red wine increases the amount of good bacteria levels in your digestive tract.

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It may help you lose fat: New research is studying the effects of piceatannol, a compound found in red wine that is converted from the antioxidant resveratrol, has on fat. A recent lab study found that piceatannol blocks fat cells from forming, and more studies are looking at how the compound can help us slim down.

It can improve memory: Polyphenols, also found in tea, nuts, berries, and cocoa, can improve your memory and may also decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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The benefits of plyometric exercises

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Plyometrics are great for cardio, toning and fat loss here, we take a look at how the humble plyometric box can be a killer workout session.

“The plyo box has been popular among athletes and hard-core fitness enthusiasts for a while now, but has become more mainstream since the introduction of CrossFit,” says elite trainer of over 15 years Matthew Strickland.

“They are great for cardio-based and high-intensity training, but can also be used for rehabilitative purposes and for evening out physique imbalances.”

Plyometric boxes and aerobic steps come in a range of heights and sizes to adhere to varying fitness levels and exercise goals. While fixed-height boxes are available and usually come in sets of three to four, try opting for a sturdy, adjustable step if you are tight on space. And if you aren’t confident in the jumps, we say go for foam rather than metal or wood versions: a lot less chance of skinned shins.

For cardio/fat loss: Plyometric training involves using explosive bodyweight movements to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time – making them the perfect fat-burning tool. Explosive movements also mean power and strength, especially in the lower body, can be achieved. Again, keep rest periods short and repetitions as high as possible – although given their taxing nature, sessions shouldn’t go much longer then 30 to 45 minutes. Tip: “When performing box jumps, start in a quarter squat and hinge from the hips to engage the hamstrings and glutes,” says Strickland. “Landings on the box should be soft to help avoid injury.” 

For toning: While plyometric training is renowned for explosive bodyweight movements, Strickland says that there are a range of toning exercises that can be performed simultaneously. “Think anything from single-leg step-ups to incline push-ups using the box,” he says. “The varied range will target muscles you never even knew you had.”

“With proper technique, kettlebells can be used to train your entire body for both toning and fat-burning goals,” says Strickland. “I run a half-hour class and never repeat the same exercise, so boredom is never an issue.”

Compound movements such as the kettlebell swing, in which the centre of gravity shifts, work the entire body while moves native to dumbbell workouts often isolate one or two muscle groups.

“Kettlebells, in my experience, allow people to get deeper into the movements than say a dumbbell,” says Strickland.

For toning:  Kettlebells of varying weights can be used to load isolated muscle groups. When setting up your home gym, opt for a set of light, medium and heavy kettlebells to ensure everything from shoulders to legs can be worked. Strickland’s favourite for a killer lower-body toning session? “I often work some of my favourite kettlebell exercises into a circuit to ensure the muscles are exhausted while also providing a killer cardio and fat-burning workout,” he says. “Try a burpee to kettlebell deadlift to kettlebell upright row. Say no more, this will push your whole body to its limits, and then some.”

For fat loss/cardio: Fat loss and cardio fitness are best achieved through circuit-style training, with limited rest and higher repetitions to ensure the heart rate is elevated for long periods. Strickland suggests high-intensity interval work, with exercises performed for 45 seconds at max reps followed by a short 15-second rest. Sessions should last for about 20 to 30 minutes all up. “Work from the larger muscle to smallest, allowing you to achieve a wider variety of movements. It also means the most taxing, compound movements are completed first,” says Strickland.

NEXT: Looking for more fat loss tips? Check out Alexa Towersey’s here.

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The Best Natural Remedies for PMS, Pain, Sleep, and More

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Two years into medical school, Laurie Steelsmith needed something for pain in her hands and arms. It wasnt clear what was wrong, but it was a struggle just to braid her hair, take notes in class, and even drive a car. When high doses of ibuprofen prescribed by her doctors only made her ears ring, Steelsmith turned elsewhere—to all-natural medicine. Using herbs and other supplements, she says, her pain slowly but surely disappeared.

Seventeen pain-free years later, Steelsmith, 44, a doctor of Chinese and naturopathic medicine and author of Natural Choices for Womens Health, is one of 90 million American women who regularly use supplements. “I really believe in this medicine,” she says. “Its what my body needs.”

Which all-natural remedies are best for you? Health asked Steelsmith and other natural-medicine experts to identify safe and effective choices for women. Of course, as the word implies, any supplement is an add-on to a healthy lifestyle, not a substitute for eating well, exercising, or keeping your doctors appointments. Supplements are not cure-alls.

Best for pain:

Bromelain

This enzyme, found in pineapple, helped Steelsmith resume her daily tasks with a lot less pain. Scientists think bromelain may actually break down protein in the blood, which explains its ability to curb pain-causing inflammation (and why its used as a meat tenderizer). Unlike over-the-counter and prescription pain drugs that come with stomach and heart risks, bromelain is considered safe. Take 200 to 400 milligrams a day when youre hurting.

Boswellia

An herb long used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, boswellia may be more effective than drugs like ibuprofen for reducing inflammation. The acid in the herb seems to block an enzyme that generates inflammatory chemicals. Biochemist Holly Phaneuf, PhD, formerly of the University of Utah and author of Herbs Demystified, says the herb may be useful for pain associated with osteoarthritis, a common disorder among people over 40 that destroys the cushioning in joints. Another target: asthma, which is often linked to inflammation. A typical dose is 450 to 1,200 mg a day.

Best for PMS:

Chasteberry tree

Compounds in the fruit of this tall, blue-violet plant appear to increase the production (or block the breakdown) of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate the hormone prolactin. Elevated levels of prolactin can lead to irritability, painful periods, and breast soreness. Two German studies confirm the effectiveness of chasteberry tree supplements. “Its my favorite herb hands-down for PMS,” says Tieraona Low Dog, MD, director of education at the University of Arizonas Program in Integrative Medicine. She recommends that you take 250 to 500 mg daily for three months. If your next period approaches with a vengeance once you quit, start taking it again.

Best for “the blues”:

SAMe

A natural compound that your body makes by itself, SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine) helps you produce feel-good brain chemicals. In supplement form, it works as well as antidepressants, according to a recent government report. “As soon as you get SAMe, your body just slurps it up,” says Hyla Cass, MD, author of Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesnt Know About Nutrition. Start with 400 mg a day, and build up to 800 to 1,200 mg until you start feeling better.

Best for tummy woes:

Peppermint

Dr. Low Dog highly recommends this age-old remedy for stomachaches and gas because it relaxes the muscles in your digestive tract, which reduces cramping and also helps expel gas. A research review found that peppermint-oil tablets may work as well as muscle-relaxing drugs in relieving the cramps and diarrhea linked to irritable bowel syndrome, a common problem for women. Take one tablet two to three times a day. Constipated? Dont use peppermint; it might make the problem worse. Try adding more fiber to your diet and drinking more water.

Ginger

When youre feeling green in the gills, this root-derived supplement can relieve nausea. Experts say it may block stomach-emptying signals and slow the production of a compound that makes you feel queasy. In several studies, ginger worked just as well on morning sickness as the motion sickness drug marketed as Dramamine—without the drowsiness. Take 1,000 mg daily for a few days.

Best for better sleep:

Valerian

Two-thirds of American women complain of frequent sleep problems; this herb may be just what many of them need. No one knows exactly how it works, but some studies show valerian helps to bring on sleep with no side effects. It isnt addictive, either. Take 400 to 600 mg 45 minutes before bedtime, and make sure you dont mix it with other sedatives like muscle relaxants or antihistamines.

Melatonin

Your body makes this hormone at nightfall—and makes less of it as you get older, which is one reason seniors often sleep less. Melatonin supplements are often suggested for re-establishing your sleep-wake cycle when you travel east across several time zones. And if you need to fall asleep faster, it may help; try taking 3 mg at bedtime.

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Your Healthy Breasts From A to Z

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We admit it: We have a love-hate relationship with our breasts. We show em off when they're proud and perky, but freak the second they start to sag. We squeeze them into bras that don't fit, complain if they bob when we jog, and obsess over every little imperfection. But the minute we find a lump or feel a twinge of pain, we realize just how much we want them around—no matter their flaws. That's why we created this A-to-Z Guide to help keep your breasts——and you—healthy.

A: Alcohol

The numbers don't lie: Alcohol is to blame for 11% of all breast cancers, according to data from the United Kingdoms Million Women Study. That's because beer, wine, or cocktails—even just one or two drinks a day—hike your risk, and that risk increases with each additional drink. Scientists are still probing the alcohol-cancer connection but, for now, moderation is a must. “If you don't drink, don't start,” says Susan Love, MD, president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and clinical professor of surgery at UCLA. “If you do, three drinks a week or less is probably OK.”

B: Breast-feeding

Yes, babies are more likely to attend college if they nurse, but what's really surprising: Breast-feeding may save your life. Women's Health Initiative data suggests that moms who breast-feed 12 months or more throughout their lives have less heart disease than women who don't nurse. And a new study shows that women with a family history of breast cancer cut their risks of getting the disease before menopause if they breast-feed their kids.

C: Caffeine

You've heard theres a link between caffeine and breast cancer? The truth: About 200 to 300 milligrams of the stimulant per day—the amount in two to three cups of coffee or (strong) tea, an energy drink or two, or about five diet sodas—probably wont hurt you, says Liz Applegate, PhD, director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis. But to be safe, don't overdo it.

D: Dècolletage

There's a simple reason you see freckles, sun spots, and those dreaded vertical wrinkles on your cleavage—youre not using enough sunscreen on the delicate skin there. Baby your bosom with a high SPF, plus a moisturizer, says Amy Taub, MD, a Chicago-area dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Try Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 ($13.99). It offers sun protection and spot-reducing soy.

E: Eat right

Loading up on fruits and veggies and cutting back on fatty meat keep your whole body healthy. But which foods specifically help you fight breast cancer? Recent studies suggest you eat more: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and bok choy. They contain potential cancer-fighting compounds called isothiocyanates. Fish like salmon, tuna, and trout. They're rich in omega-3s and are a healthier protein source than meat. Bell peppers and broccoli They're full of flavonoids, a powerful good-for-you antioxidant. Kefir yogurt Its a yummy source of vitamin D and healthy bacteria (probiotics).

F: Fit

If you're like most women, you're wearing a bra that doesn't fit right. Blame the fact that your bust measurements change at least six times in your adult life. To make sure you're getting the right support, talk to a fitter in a department or lingerie store, or do your own sizing. Elisabeth Squires, author of Boobs: A Guide to Your Girls, swears by Size Me Up!, a doctor-designed system that measures the width of each breast to more accurately determine cup size. 

G: Genes

Most women who get breast cancer don't carry the harmful gene mutations known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. Women who do (roughly 1 in 500) tend to get cancer under age 50 and may have multiple cases of breast and ovarian cancer in the family. Who should be gene-tested? If relatives (sisters or other women on your moms or dads side) have had breast or ovarian cancer, its most helpful for one of them to be tested before you. Testing costs about $3,000, and most insurers don't cover it. If a mutation doesn't show up, your risk is still higher because of your family history. But if your relative has the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, your risk could be elevated even more, and you may want to talk with a genetic counselor about your own test.

H: Hormone therapy

If you're on hormone replacement therapy (HRT), its probably for a good reason: The treatment, usually a combo of estrogen and progesterone, can help relieve hot flashes, irritability, and night sweats. But many researchers are now convinced that using combo HRT for five years or more can double your breast cancer risk, which is why women should use the smallest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Fortunately, studies show that within two years of stopping hormones, your breast cancer risk goes back to normal.

I: Inflammatory breast cancer

If you don't know about IBC, you should. The five-year survival rate of this rare but aggressive disease is about half that of regular breast cancer. Symptoms can include redness and painful swelling around the breast; sometimes the skin feels warm and has the texture of an orange. If you have signs, see your doctor right away.

J: Jiggle

Too much jiggling can make you sag: According to one British study, breasts move during exercise up to 8 vertical inches, adding painful pressure on supporting ligaments. Solution: Make sure your sports bra is up to the job. Small-breasted women usually just need a compression, or “uniboob,” bra. If you're large, try encapsulating styles, which surround each breast separately. Champion makes good low-cost running bras, and sportswear companies like Title Nine even offer special rating systems for each bras support level.

K: Know em well

Take a good look in the mirror—is one breast bigger than the other? (That's typical.) Are your nipples inverted? Does anything look or feel different? You need to know your breasts well so you'll notice any changes during your monthly breast self-exam (BSE), which is an important way to catch abnormalities like lumps or swelling.

L: Lumps

The vast majority of breast lumps are benign—and more than 60% of women have fibrocystic, or naturally lumpy, breasts. Still, you should get all lumps and bumps checked, especially if they change. “Women get into trouble when they ignore lumps because they're afraid,” says Joan Bull, MD, director of the Division of Oncology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. The doc may recommend an ultrasound, mammogram, or biopsy to figure out what's up.

M: Mammograms

No one likes having her boobs squeezed flat in what feels like a refrigerator door. But its worth it: Early detection from regular mammograms is estimated to reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by at least 15%, according to a recent research review. Are there any downsides to recommended annual screening mammos? A report in the British Medical Journal suggested they could lead to overdiagnosis—detecting tumors that turn out to be harmless—and unnecessary treatment. But experts insist that the benefits far outweigh the potential costs.

N: Nipples

Smooth or bumpy, inverted or standing at attention on a chilly day, nipples seem to have a mind of their own. Together with the surrounding areola, they even change color during and after pregnancy. Here are some of the most common problems and how to, well, nip em in the bud.

O: Ouch!

About 10% of us have breast pain more than five days a month. Usually the ache (also called mastalgia) goes in cycles, since monthly hormone changes can make breasts extra achy. If the pain is unbearable, try tracking when it hurts most. Then talk to your doctor, and, if you're over 35, consider a mammogram. The doc may recommend pain pills, birth control pills (if you're in your 20s), or possibly evening primrose oil, which might bring relief for some women. Talking to your doc may ease your fears, too, since many women worry that breast pain is always a sign of cancer. It isn't.

P: Plastic surgery

Even in a down economy, boob jobs aren't sagging. But a lesser-known surgery is also on the rise: breast reduction. For top-heavy women, the surgery can bring much-needed relief from back, shoulder, and neck pain. If you want breast surgery—to get bigger or smaller—talk to the doc about scarring, healing time, and final appearance, says John Canady, MD, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Q: Number-one question to ask your doc: “Are my breasts dense?”

Women with dense breasts are five times more likely to develop breast cancer, Dr. Love of UCLA says, although its unclear why. The only way to find out density is after a mammogram—the info is in the results. Bring it up with your doc after the test or have the report mailed to you.

R: Rest 

One more reason to get your sleep: Getting enough zzzs may help protect you from cancer. In a recent study of nearly 24,000 Japanese women, those who slept six hours or less each night were 62% more likely to have breast cancer than the women who slept seven hours. Researchers think that the sleep hormone melatonin seems to regulate the release of estrogen.

S: Soy

Soy contains phytoestrogens, chemicals similar to estrogen. Docs say soy has many benefits, if you get it in natural forms like edamame. But concentrated forms found in supplements may be harmful—especially if youre at high risk for breast cancer, says Applegate, PhD, of UC Davis.

T: Tomosynthesis

Watch for the looming debut of this new digital imaging system, which allows doctors to slice and dice super-clear 3D pictures of the breast, while applying less pressure to your boobs than standard mammos (hooray!). Early research shows the new technique may more accurately spot tumors, especially in very dense breasts.

U: Underwires are dangerous (and other myths)

Relax—, your sexy new number from Victoria's Secret wont give you cancer. Experts say the notion that underwires trap toxins just doesn't hold up. Ditto for antiperspirants, living near power lines, and being hit in the chest. Theres no evidence that any of these things causes breast cancer, Dr. Love of UCLA says.

V: Vaccine

Stimuvax, a vaccine currently in testing, may help women who have inoperable breast cancer live longer. The drug is designed to juice up the immune system so it can kill malignant cells. Its also being eyed for lung, prostate, and colon cancers.

W: Weight

 

Women who gain 55 pounds or more after age 18 have nearly 1 1/2 times the risk of breast cancer compared with those who keep their weight steady. But losing the weight substantially lowers risk as you age.

X: X-Rays

Radiation can cause cancer. That's why doctors say that younger women and girls should avoid unnecessary X-rays (a typical X-ray administers radiation at a higher dose than a mammogram). If your doctor recommends an X-ray for anything, ask how having it will change your treatment plan. If it won't, reconsider.

Y: Yoga

To keep “the girls” from sagging, Health expert Sara Ivanhoe, creator of the Yoga on the Edge DVD, recommends this Plank Sequence: Start with hands and knees on a mat, hands directly under shoulders and knees below hips. Firm your abs to support your lower back; extend right leg backward, curl toes and place them and on the ground; repeat with left leg. (Your body should be in a straight line from your head to your heels.) Hold for 5 full breaths. On an exhale, slowly lower yourself to the floor, keeping your elbows tucked in. Your chest and belly should touch the floor at the same time. On an inhale, push back to lean on your hands and knees; exhale into plank, hold for a full inhale, then exhale and lower again, then up into plank. Repeat 5 times.

Z: Zero!

That's the number of new breast cancer cases we all hope to see in our lifetimes—, and a project launched by the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation and Avon Foundation for Women may get us there. The Love and Avon Army of Women's mission: Recruit 1 million women to participate in life-saving research. Sign up online at ArmyOfWomen.org.

 

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Natural Cures That Really Work

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Will placing a tea bag on a cold sore make it disappear? Can you ease hot flashes with herbs? And does putting yogurt on your nether parts have a prayer of curing a yeast infection? It used to be that you'd hear about these kinds of home remedies from your mom. These days, they're touted on websites, blogs, and online forums. In fact, 61% of American adults turn to the Internet to find help in treating what's ailing them, a 2009 study reveals. But do these natural moves actually work … and, just as important, could they do more harm than good? Health asked medical experts to weigh in on the Internet's most popular home cures.

The online claim: Yogurt can stop a yeast infection

Is it true? No

Yeast infections— and their symptoms, from intense vaginal itchiness to cottage cheese–like discharge—, are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida. Because studies show that yogurt can promote the growth of healthier strains of bacteria in the stomach and intestines, people have long assumed it might also keep candida in check. And that rumor keeps circulating, thanks to the Internet.

Unfortunately, "no study shows conclusively that eating yogurt cures or even lessens the severity of yeast infections," says Michele G. Curtis, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Neither will douching with yogurt, or (yikes!) dipping a tampon in the stuff, freezing it, and inserting it—a remedy suggested on some websites. In fact, douching can cause yeast infections, Dr. Curtis says, especially if youre using yogurt; its sugars could actually help yeast grow.

If youre sure you have a yeast infection, based on a past experience, Dr. Curtis recommends using an over-the-counter medication, such as Monistat. But, she points out, "everything that itches is not yeast!" So see your gyno when in doubt: That itching might actually be bacterial vaginosis, for instance, which requires treatment with antibiotics.

The online claim: Black cohosh eases hot flashes

Is it true? Yes

Commonly known as bugwort or rattle root, this herb is derived from a plant called Actaea racemosa. While it may sound like something from Harry Potters wizarding world, this remedy is not all hocus-pocus: Some studies suggest that black cohosh may indeed reduce hot flashes, according to guidelines re-released last year by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "It appears to have an anti-inflammatory effect," says Philip Hagen, MD, coeditor of Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies.

In fact, the herb is often prescribed in Europe; its a key ingredient in Remifemin, a popular drug there, which is also available in the United States. While U.S. studies haven't conclusively proven that black cohosh works, Dr. Curtis says it cant hurt to try the herb—just consult with your doctor about the dosage first, and stick with it for 12 weeks, she says. (Make sure you're getting black cohosh, not blue cohosh, which could potentially be harmful, she adds.)

The online claim: Pop calcium pills to quell PMS cramps

Is it true? Yes

Since theres scientific evidence that PMS sufferers have lower levels of calcium in their blood, its not a stretch to think that loading up on it would ease the cramps, headaches, and bloating that come at that time of the month. Indeed, research has shown that taking 600 milligrams of calcium twice a day can reduce PMS symptoms. And getting the nutrient in your food (such as calcium-packed dairy) may keep them at bay altogether: In a recent study conducted at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, women who consumed four servings a day of skim or low-fat milk reduced their risk of developing PMS by 46%.

Note: Some women's cramps are so severe that only prescription medication can curb them, Dr. Curtis says. So if calcium doesn't make a difference with yours, see your doctor.

The online claim: Tea tree oil can zap your zits

Is it true? Maybe

One brand of tea tree oil sold online is dubbed "Pure Liquid Gold," and it just may be, at least in the case of acne. A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that applying the extract to pimples reduced inflammation. "Tea tree oil is antifungal and antibacterial," says Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist. "Its so effective that many of my patients prefer it to benzoyl peroxide."

Other experts are not so keen. "The oil can cause rashes and even blistering," warns Jerome Z. Litt, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland and the author of Your Skin from A to Z. If you're nervous about using tea tree oil, Dr. Jaliman says, instead try a face wash for oily skin that contains salicylic or glycolic acid.

The online claim: Steam clears up sinus headaches

Is it true? Yes

This old-school treatment—touted in more than 400,000 Google results!—really works. "Inhaling steam flushes out your nasal passages, relieving sinus pressure," explains Neil Kao, MD, head of research at the Allergic Disease and Asthma Center in Greenville, South Carolina.

Add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to make it more potent. "The minty smell causes a tingling sensation in the nasal membrane, and this has a decongestant effect," says Dr. Kao, who also suggests dabbing Vicks VapoRub at the lower rim of your nostrils. Another natural alternative: Using a neti pot to irrigate the nostrils with saline solution, which can also ease sinus symptoms, according to one study.

The online claim: Black tea bags help cold sores disappear

Is it true? No

If left alone, cold sores usually clear up in a few weeks—but who wants to wait? Online remedies for the blisters range from the absurd (like earwax) to the less silly, like placing a damp black tea bag on the sore. "Black tea leaves have tannins, compounds that may inhibit the growth of viruses and bacteria, but no studies have verified this," Dr. Hagen says. Tea bags may also have an anti-inflammatory effect, he says. But your best bet to shorten healing time is an OTC treatment like Abreva or a prescription med like Valtrex.

To prevent sores from popping up, stay out of the sun, and use a high-SPF sunscreen around your lips: "Sunlight can trigger cold sores if youre prone to them," Dr. Hagen says.

The online claim: Drinking cranberry juice prevents UTIs

Is it true? Yes

This popular home cure isn't just an old wives tale: Major medical institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, agree that drinking cranberry juice can be effective for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs). "The berries contain proanthocyanidins, which keep E. coli from attaching to the bladder wall and causing an infection," Dr. Hagen says.

If youre prone to UTIs, drink one to two glasses of cranberry juice daily to help prevent them. Doing so also works when you have symptoms—like a constant need to pee, or a burning sensation when you do—to speed recovery. (Theres also evidence that peeing immediately after sex can help prevent UTIs by flushing out bacteria.) Stick to juice that's at least 20% pure cranberry—or try supplements, taking up to six 400-milligram pills twice a day an hour before or two hours after a meal. If your symptoms don't end within 24 to 48 hours, see your physician—, especially if you have a fever or chills. "That points to something serious," Dr. Hagen says, "and means you should not be messing with a home remedy."

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The Secret to Happiness, According to Yoga

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“How is yoga meaningful beyond its poses? How can we practice yoga beyond the physical experience?” asks yoga teacher and blogger Rebecca Pacheco in her book, Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life ($17; amazon.com). “What do we need to know to get the most out of our yoga, and by extension, our lives?” In this excerpt, she explains the yogic approach to happiness, and how to make it work for you.

I’m not sure who said, “Happiness is an inside job,” but it’s a great thing to remember as a yogi. According to yoga philosophy, santosha, which means contentment, is a form of self-discipline. In other words, happiness is a skill and practice. Happier people do not have easier lives, with less hard work, grief, divorce, or financial strain than the rest of us. They’re simply more grateful for what they have and choose to be conscious of their contentment more often.

Modern yogis view yoga as a process of self-improvement. We do yoga so that we can get better at it. Gain greater flexibility. Become a kinder or more patient person. Excel at sports. Look better naked. The list goes on. In all the years I’ve practiced and taught yoga, I have never heard someone walk into a class and pronounce, “I’m here because I’m totally content with my life, body, and world view. There’s nothing I seek to change or improve. I just want to learn how to do yoga, for fun.” Never.

RELATED: Yoga Poses for Less Stress and Better Sleep

It’s not that seeking self-improvement is bad. It’s fantastic. The trick is to remember to enjoy the process. If we continually seek betterment, without a genuine appreciation for the present and “whatever fate may bring,” we run the risk of missing the entire essence of yoga and, quite frankly, life. There is no fancy pose, enlightened style of yoga, venerable guru, or brilliant book that can manufacture or deliver your happiness. It comes from within you, and finding it is a different process for everyone.

When I demonstrate challenging yoga poses for my students, I often joke that no matter how impressive, graceful, or fun a yoga pose looks, it cannot change the quality of their lives in any major way. Performing a headstand won’t save someone from getting a parking ticket, losing a job, or getting dumped. Meanwhile, the learning process, attention level, and attitude of the pose can have a positive compounding effect on the rest of our lives. Whenever you catch yourself hungry for the look and flash of an elaborate posture, remember your higher mission. Ask yourself if you’re enjoying the process, not just flinging yourself toward an idealized destination.

RELATED: 8 Tips for Leaving Yoga Class Totally Relaxed

When we forget that happiness is an inside job and look for validation externally—the house, car, or outfit—we will always end up disappointed. The house will never be big enough, car new enough, outfit in season enough. We’ll lose the bigger picture of the process and fixate on the small stuff. Selfish stuff. Ego stuff. Want to know the shortest, most direct route out of ego? The opposite of the obnoxious voice in your head that says: what about me? It’s santosha. It’s gratitude. It’s the skill of taking yourself out of the tailspin of scarcity and reconnecting to contentment. Because as soon as you put yourself in a state of gratitude (for anything, however small) you can no longer operate from ego. The two are polar opposites. The practice of santosha removes us from the rat race and rests us in a gentle hammock of gratitude for a little while. Ahhhh. Doesn’t that feel better?

Do Your Om Thing: Notice Contentment

Keep a gratitude journal in which you write one to three things each day for which you are grateful. They can be incredibly small and ordinary: a warm house, someone who held the door, an email that made you LOL. Review the list before bed. Notice how this makes you feel.
Think of someone in your life who seems to be deeply content. What do you think they might do to achieve that contentment?
To unhook from a feeling of discontentment or ego, a funk or feeling of scarcity, Judith Lasater, cofounder of Yoga Journal and author of Living Your Yoga, recommends using the mantra: How should it be? Notice how your response to this question is an expectation. Not reality. If we are discontented with reality every time it does not go as planned, we lose the skill and gift of santosha.

Excerpted from the book DO YOUR OM THING: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life by Rebecca Pacheco. Copyright 2016 by Rebecca Pacheco. Reprinted with permission of Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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Top 3 training tips by Alexa Towersey

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September cover model and celebrity trainer Alexa Towersey shares her top training methods to burn fat and tone.

 

1. Resistance Training: 

Combine four compound exercises in one giant set:

 

8–10 x Barbell Back Squats

»8–10 x Barbell Bent-Over Rows

»8–10 x Deadlifts

»6–8 x Pull-ups 

»24 x Barbell Walking Lunges

TIP: Rest for 2 minutes between rounds and complete 3 to 5 rounds

2. HIIT Training: I like 400m sprint repeats the best.  Start with 5 to 7 and increase each week. 60 to 90 seconds rest between. 

TIP: Don’t do these on the same day as your weight training.

3. Tabata Protocols:  I like to use Tabata-style exercises as ‘finishers’ after a weight-training workout.  It’s essentially maximum reps of an exercise in 20 seconds followed by a 10-second rest and repeated for a total of eight rounds (4 minutes or 2:40 of actual work). 

TIP: My preferred variations include thruster, squat jumps, air assault bike, burpees, mountain climber or deadmill. 

 

 

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Resistance band curl to press

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The place to come for fitness, weight loss, supplement, and just awesome health info.

Thanks for visiting. Enjoy

 

Sculpt your biceps with this resistance band workout. 

Targets: Biceps, Delts

Perks: This compound movement allows multiple muscle groups to be worked with one exercise, making it time efficient and adding to the difficulty of your workout. Sculpt the arms with this two-in-one exercise.

Move: Stand with both feet on top of the band, about hip-width apart.

(Fit Tip: You can control how easy or hard the exercise is by where you stand on the band to create more or less tension.) Start with both arms straight and begin to curl the arms up and towards the chest. Keep your elbows locked at your side. Once you get to the top of your curl, rotate your arms outward and turn your hands so palms are facing away. Press straight up, pause at the top, lower back down and repeat.

Words and workout by Ashley Azevedo.

Photography by James Patrick.

Check out these top 14 exercises for toned arms. 

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