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Posts for: June, 2016

7 Foods That Whiten Teeth Naturally

Find out how to whiten teeth naturally with these 7 foods including strawberries, raisins and apples.

If your teeth need a little brightening, but you’d prefer to skip whitening treatments, you’re in luck. Here are 7 natural remedies for whiter teeth that you may already have in your kitchen.

—Jacqueline Lanigan, D.M.D.

Apples

Just chewing on apples helps scrub your teeth. Apples also have a high concentration of malic acid, which is used in some toothpastes. Malic acid increases saliva, which cleans your teeth and helps remove stains, according to a 2013 study conducted at the University of Grenada (Spain).

Pineapple

Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain—a compound with anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties. A recent study in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that bromelain is an effective ingredient in a stain-removing toothpaste.

Broccoli

Broccoli is high in fiber, and eating lots of fiber helps reduce inflammation in your mouth (along with the rest of your body). Eating crisp raw broccoli can help clean and polish your teeth and, according to research in the European Journal of Dentistry, the iron in broccoli has the added benefit of providing a wall of protection for your teeth against the enamel-degrading acid that’s produced by bacteria. This helps prevent stains and cavities.

Raisins

You may think raisins are bad for your teeth because of their sticky sweetness, but they’re actually protective. Research shows that bran cereal with raisins helps clean the mouth faster than the same cereal without raisins. Chewing raisins stimulates saliva, which helps prevent plaque, stains and cavities from developing by neutralizing the acidic environment created by other foods and bacteria in your mouth.

Cheese

Here’s another reason to smile for the camera and "say cheese." Cheese helps keep your teeth strong with minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, and protein that protects tooth enamel. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the lactic acid in cheese is also protective against tooth decay. Plus, hard cheeses help clean your teeth by stimulating saliva.

Water

Drinking water throughout the day promotes saliva production, which in turn helps keep your pearly whites, well—white. Sipping water during and after a meal also helps rinse your mouth of any debris and loose plaque.

Strawberries

Like apples, strawberries also contain malic acid, and they have the added benefit of ellagitannins, antioxidants that can help reduce stain-attracting bacteria and inflammation in your mouth. And, strawberries’ vitamin C can help prevent gum inflammation and periodontal disease.

http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/7_foods_that_whiten_teeth_naturally?page=8


Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts

By Jessie Szalay, Live Science Contributor |  October 7, 2014 08:17pm ET

Watermelon: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts

Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — but this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. There's even a modest amount of potassium. Plus, this quintessential summer snack is fat-free, very low in sodium and has only 40 calories per cup.

Scientists have taken notice of watermelon's high lycopene levels — about 15 to 20 milligrams per 2-cup serving, according to the National Watermelon Promotion Board — some of the highest levels of any type of fresh produce. Lycopene is a phytonutrient, which is a naturally occurring compound in fruits and vegetables that reacts with the human body to trigger healthy reactions. It is also the red pigment that gives watermelons, tomatoes, red grapefruits and guavas their color.

Lycopene has been linked with heart health, bone health and prostate cancer prevention. It's also a powerful antioxidant thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, according to Victoria Jarzabkowski, a nutritionist with the Fitness Institute of Texas at The University of Texas at Austin.

To really maximize your lycopene intake, let your watermelon fully ripen. The redder your watermelon gets, the higher the concentration of lycopene becomes. Beta-carotene and phenolic antioxidant content also increase as the watermelon ripens. Nevertheless, "All parts of the watermelon are good. There are a lot of nutrients throughout," said Jarzabkowski. This includes the white flesh nearest the rind.

Another phytonutrient found in the watermelon is the amino acid citrulline, which converts to the amino acid arginine. These amino acids promote blood flow, leading to cardiovascular health, improved circulation, and according to research at Texas A&M University, erectile dysfunction improvement (you'd probably have to eat a lot of the fruit to get a Viagra-like effect, though).

Here are the nutrition facts for the watermelon, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates food labeling through the National Labeling and Education Act:

Nutrition Facts

Serving size:

2 cups diced

(10 oz / 280 g)

Calories 80

Calories from Fat 0

*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Amt per Serving %DV*   Amt per Serving %DV*  

Total Fat 0g 0%   Total Carbohydrate 21g 7%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%     Dietary Fiber 1g 4%

Sodium 0mg 0%      Sugars 20g  

Potassium 270mg 8%   Protein 1g  

Vitamin A 30%   Calcium 2%

Vitamin C 25%   Iron 4%

Health benefits

Heart health

Watermelon's high levels of lycopene are very effective at protecting cells from damage and may help lower the risk of heart disease, according to a study at Purdue University. Also, the fruit's concentrations of citrulline and arginine are good for your heart. Arginine can help improve blood flow and may help reduce the accumulation of excess fat. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that watermelon extracts helped reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure in obese adults.

Anti-inflammatory properties

 "The lycopene in watermelon makes it an anti-inflammatory fruit," Jarzabkowski said. Lycopene is an inhibitor for various inflammatory processes and also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals. Additionally, the watermelon contains choline, which helps keep chronic inflammation down, according to a 2006 article published in Shock medical journal.

Reducing inflammation isn't just good for people suffering from arthritis. "When you're sick, you have cellular damage, which can be caused by a variety of factors including stress, smoking, pollution, disease, and your body becomes inflamed," Jarzabkowski said. "It's called 'systemic inflammation.'" In this way, anti-inflammatory foods can help with overall immunity and general health.

Hydration

"Watermelons are the perfect example of a food that can help you stay hydrated," said Jarzabkowski. Their water content can help keep you hydrated, and their juice is full of good electrolytes. This can even help prevent heat stroke.

Digestion

The watermelon contains fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive tract and helps keep you regular.

Skin and hair benefits

Vitamin A is stellar for your skin, and just a cup of watermelon contains nearly one-quarter of your daily recommended intake of it. Vitamin A helps keep skin and hair moisturized, and it also encourages healthy growth of new collagen and elastin cells, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Vitamin C is also beneficial in this regard, as it promotes healthy collagen growth.

Muscle soreness

Watermelon-loving athletes are in luck: drinking watermelon juice before an intense workout helps reduce next-day muscle soreness and heart rate, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. This can be attributed to watermelon's amino acids citrulline and arginine, which help improve circulation.

Cancer prevention

Like other fruits and vegetables, watermelons may be helpful in reducing the risk of cancer through their antioxidant properties. Lycopene in particular has been linked to reducing prostate cancer cell proliferation, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Health risks

If eaten in reasonable amounts, watermelons should produce no serious side effects. If you eat an abundance of the fruit daily, however, you may experience problems from having too much lycopene or potassium.

The consumption of more than 30 mg of lycopene daily could potentially cause nausea, diarrhea, indigestion and bloating, according to the American Cancer Society.

People with serious hyperkalemia, or too much potassium in their blood, should probably not consume more than about one cup of watermelon a day, which has less than 140 mg of potassium. According to the National Institutes of Health, hyperkalemia can result in irregular heartbeats and other cardiovascular problems, as well as reduced muscle control.

Jarzabkowski also warned watermelon lovers to be mindful of their sugar intake. "Though watermelon's sugar is naturally occurring, [watermelon] is still relatively high in sugar."

Watermelon facts

Some fun facts about watermelons, from the National Watermelon Promotion Board and Science Kids.   

The watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is related to cucumbers, pumpkins and squash.

The watermelon probably originated in the Kalahari Desert in Africa.

Egyptians placed watermelons in the burial tombs of kings to nourish them in the afterlife. The first recorded watermelon harvest is depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics from about 5,000 years ago.

Merchants spread the use of watermelons along the Mediterranean Sea. By the 10th century, watermelons had found their way to China, which is now the world's top producer of watermelons.

The Moors in the 13th century brought watermelons to Europe.

The watermelon likely made its way to the United States with African slaves.

Early explorers used watermelons as canteens.

The first cookbook published in the United States in 1776 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles.

About 200 to 300 varieties are grown in the United States and Mexico, but only about 50 varieties are very popular.

By weight, watermelon is the most consumed melon in the United States, followed by cantaloupe and honeydew.

The watermelon is the official state vegetable of Oklahoma.

All parts of a watermelon can be eaten, even the rind.

Guinness World Records says the world's heaviest watermelon was grown by Lloyd Bright of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, in 2005. It weighed 268.8 lbs. (121.93 kg).

The United States ranks fifth in the worldwide production of watermelons. Forty-four states grow watermelons, with Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Arizona leading the country in production.

A seedless watermelon is a sterile hybrid, which is created by crossing male pollen for a watermelon, containing 22 chromosomes per cell, with a female watermelon flower with 44 chromosomes per cell. When this seeded fruit matures, the small, white seed coats inside contain 33 chromosomes, rendering it sterile and incapable of producing seeds.


11 Surprising Reasons You Should Smile Everyday

Whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, picked a fight with a loved one or struggled through that morning commute to a job you don’t particularly enjoy, it can be a tough task to plaster a smile across your face when you’re feeling less than chipper.

But by choosing to smile, happy changes start to occur automatically, both internally and externally. Great power lies in a random smile, so long as you choose to share it with the world.

Here are 11 reasons why it’s worth showing those pearly whites daily — even when you don’t necessarily feel like it.

Smiling can improve your mood.

Our facial expressions do more than communicate our current mood — they have the ability to influence our mood as well. Emotions may originate in the brain, but the muscles in the face either reinforce or transform those feelings. Recent studies have revealed that through the enhancement of positive emotions — or the suppression of negative ones — with facial expressions, a person’s mood begins to align more strongly with the emotion his or her face is communicating.

Even fake smiles do the trick.

While some researchers insist the benefits of smiling can only be rendered from a geniune expression of happiness, others have found that a forced smile can still make you feel happy, even when your existing mood and surroundings suggest otherwise. It only takes smiling for a brief period of time to experience its benefits — no matter how contrived it feels initially. In this case, maybe it’s OK to fake it a little.

Smiling helps reduce stress.

In a 2012 study published in the journal Psychological Science, University of Kansas psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman studied 170 participants who were told to hold chopsticks in their mouths in three formations, making them smile to various degrees without realizing it, after performing a stressful task. The experiment revealed that subjects who smiled the biggest with the chopsticks experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery compared to those whose expressions remained neutral.

Smiling makes you more approachable.

A 2004 Penn State University study found that authentic smiles shared by employees in the service industry influenced their impressions on customers in a positive way. Smiling employees came across as more likable and friendly, and customers left the interactions feeling more satisfied about their overall experience. While job performance and the busyness of the venues were also factored into subsequent experiments, the researchers found that the added display of an authentic smile helped workers appear more competent as well.

A smile makes you seem more trustworthy.

From a psychological perspective, a person who is smiling appears more trustworthy than a person who is either frowning or holding a neutral expression. In a University of Pittsburgh study, researchers explored the potential connection between a model’s level of attractiveness, the intensity of her smile and her perceived level of trustworthiness. Study participants ranked 45 models on these three conditions, revealing that the bigger the models smiled, the more trustworthy they seemed.

Smiling actually retrains your brain for the better.

While the brain is naturally inclined to think in negative terms as a defense mechanism, the habitual act of smiling helps the mind move to a more positive space and remain there longer the more you do it. According to Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, by making smiling a part of our everyday practice, we help our brains create happiness loops that encourage more positive-thinking patterns.

“Happiness is a work ethic,” wrote Achor. “It’s something that requires our brains to train just like an athlete has to train.”

Smiles are contagious.

Ever notice how often a friend or colleague will reciprocate a smile after you share one? There’s a scientific explanation for that phenomenon. According to neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni, we all posses something called mirror neurons, cells in the premotor cortex and inferior parietal cortex that are activated when we perform a given action as well as when we witness someone else performing it. And when it comes to smiling, mirror neurons respond to the acts of both seeing and doing.

“The way mirror neurons likely let us understand others is by providing some kind of inner imitation of the actions of other people, which in turn leads us to ‘simulate’ the intentions and emotions associated with those actions,” Iacoboni told Scientific American. “When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, initiating a cascade of neural activity that evokes the feeling we typically associate with a smile.”

Smiles may strengthen the body on a cellular level.

 Just as this happy facial expression helps rid the body of stress, smiling can release tension on a cellular level as well, according to biochemist and artist Sondra Barrett. In her book, Secrets of Your Cells, Barrett explains how cells can distinguish between safety and danger, find and repair problems and create an overall sense of balance within the body. She also highlights how a person’s thoughts have a direct effect on cell function. When we smile, we reduce the rigidness of our cells, and this physical relaxation can help combat the risk of stress-induced cell mutations that can lead to the development or persistence of various cancers.

Smiling boosts your productivity.

The benefits of putting a grin on your face at the office don’t begin and end with a mood boost; that dose of happiness can help make you a more productive employee as well. In 2010, a team of economic researchers found that happiness has a significant and causal effect on productivity in the workplace. And just as the positive emotions prove invigorating, negative ones are equally draining.

Smiling makes you more creative.

This same mood boost can get those creative juices flowing. A 2013 study from the University of California, San Francisco explored this connection in men and found that those who were happier had a more comprehensive approach to problems, improving their ability to think of more solutions than their negative-minded counterparts. The researchers connected this finding to the release of dopamine triggered by happiness, since the neurotransmitter is involved in learning, processing and decision-making.

Smiles are free!

This all-around mood booster is one of the few available to you each day at no cost whatsoever. So why not take advantage of your own power to create happiness?

Aleena Hall - Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/08/smiling-benefits_n_6598840.html




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