Reasons to Add More Garlic to Your Diet

garlic benefitsGarlic makes your breath smell funny, but that’s just a small inconvenience compared to the health benefits that come with it. You actually have a lot of reasons for adding garlic into your recipes.

It makes you more resistant to colds.

Garlic contains compounds that fight bacteria and viruses. There’s a reason why naturopaths use it as a germicidal ointment for different types of skin infections. What most people don’t know is that garlic can enhance immune function. A robust immune system has greater resistance to cold and flu viruses.

It packs a lot of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are important to your health. They keep good brain function. They optimize immune system function. They keep aging at bay. Antioxidants fight chemicals that cause cellular damage, which leads to premature tissue damage and aging.

It’s good for your cardiovascular health.

Garlic has potent sulfur compounds that regulate your blood pressure and cholesterol. These compounds bind with red blood cells to produce hydrogen sulfide, which causes dilation of blood vessels. Expansion of blood vessels results in lowering of the blood pressure. Moreover, garlic has compounds that lower blood cholesterol, thus preventing buildup of plaques inside arteries. Thus, your risk of atherosclerosis is lowered.

It fights cancer.

Garlic contains natural substances that stop the formation of certain types of cancer. These substances work by blocking carcinogens in the body.

It relieves pain and inflammation.

Garlic is a natural remedy for many skin diseases. Sulfur compounds in garlic can stop inflammation. For instance, applying garlic on psoriasis has been known to curb inflammation. Also, garlic has pain relieving properties. You can apply it on bites and wounds to reduce pain. You can also apply crushed garlic on an aching tooth.

It fights bacteria.

Potent compounds in garlic fight Staphylococcus, E. coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. These types of bacteria can cause different types of infections and diseases. In some cases, natural antibacterial substances in garlic work better than conventional antibiotics. This is why garlic has considerable effectiveness in treating food poisoning or sore throat. Moreover, the combined antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic is effective in treating cold sores.

It treats fungal infections.

Have you heard of people using crushed garlic to treat ringworm and athlete’s foot? Again, garlic owes its antifungal properties to its sulfur compounds. There’s no need for complicated preparations. All you need to to is crush and apply it over the affected area of the skin.

It fends off bugs.

If you want to keep pesky insects off a vicinity, scatter some crushed garlic over the area. You can also apply some garlic on exposed skin to keep insects off.

It has other health benefits.

Research continues to identify other health benefits of garlic. One of the surprising research findings is the ability of a compound found in garlic to treat hair loss. This compound is called allicin, which gives garlic its characteristic odor.

How to Get Into Shape for Snowboarding

Snowboarding can be a fun way to keep fitness during the cold, snowy months. It’s also a great way to enjoy outdoor sport during the cold season. But you can’t just hop on a snowboard and risk injury. You have to prepare your body for it. Question is, how?

Keep yourself active.

Our bodies do not keep their stamina and endurance without constant stimulus. If you slack off during the summer months, you won’t have much strength and endurance for any winter sport. The same thing happens to strength trainers, swimmers, runners, and athletes. They have to be consistently active to stimulate their muscles and bones.

Get stronger.

Snowboarding recruits all muscles of your body, most especially the quads, hamstrings, and core. These muscles are more effective in giving you more force and stabilizing you at the same time if they are stronger. Weight training is the best and most efficient way to build bigger and stronger muscles. Runners, swimmers, and other athletes have to incorporate weight training into their schedules for similar reasons. Gym memberships are relatively inexpensive. You can do compound and isolation workouts during summer as you prepare yourself.

Train your balance on a surfboard.

Head to surfing spots nearby and train your balance on the surfboard. Summer is the perfect time to do this. Balancing on a surfboard over water is much more difficult than balancing on a snowboard. If you can surf, there’s no reason you can’t snowboard. And if you can’t find a surfboard, then go with a stand up paddle board. Active Weekender gives a list of the top affordable models for the year.

More exercises for balance are beneficial.

Do exercises on a Swiss ball. Work out using free weights, not machines. Free weights force your body to recruit extra muscles for balance. The same thing doesn’t happen with workout machines, which do the stabilization for you. Strength is absolutely important in balancing. You could injure yourself without proper balance training.

Hike!

One of the best and most enjoyable ways to train those thigh and leg muscles, so they get stronger as snowy winter approaches, is to hike. The trail you choose depends on your experience. Beginners have to pick trails on plains and hills. Advanced hikers should pick more challenging trails on rugged, rocky terrain.

Can’t get to the gym? No gym equipment? No problem!

Do bodyweight workouts. Start with push-ups and pull-ups, because you have to work your upper body. Squats, even air squats, are indispensable. They train your quads, the large muscle group of the thighs that do much of the work when snowboarding. Lunges work the quads and hamstrings too. Train your core with planks. Your core absolutely does much of the work in balancing your body. A strong core is vital for stabilization. Get stronger at these exercises and try harder versions of each as you advance.

6 Health Benefits of Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts benefits

Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients and should therefore be included in the diet. Brussels are one of the members of this family and something you should consider eating as part of your healthy diet. Three one-and-a-half-cup servings of brussels sprouts a week are good enough for you to get the following benefits.

1. Detoxification

Brussels sprouts contain glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are compounds that fight carcinogens, and there are different types of glucosinolates in brussels sprouts, making them a potent detoxifying agent.

Brussels are also rich in sulfur, which is required for detoxification. You can actually smell the sulfur aroma when cooking the sprouts, more when you’re overcooking them.

2. Antioxidant Supply

Brussels sprouts are also rich in different kinds of antioxidants. Vitamins A and C, flavonoids, and polyphenols are present in them. Vitamins A and C are known to fight free radicals. But more than that, the antioxidant content of brussels sprouts exceeds that of other cruciferous vegetables, making it one of the best choices for detoxification and cancer prevention. Furthermore, brussels have better combination of antioxidants.

Antioxidants fight oxidative stress, something you get from many things like bad food, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle. It’s a process that gradually damages healthy cells and causes premature aging. Oxidative stress is also a contributing factor to cancer.

3. Inflammation Reduction

Exposure to irritants and infectious agents causes inflammation. When you expose yourself to pathogens and toxins, your body responds by fighting them, an action that also gives rise to inflammation. However, there are instances wherein inflammation is just more of a nuisance than a necessity. Keeping inflammation at bay is one of the good effects of the nutrients found in brussels sprouts. In fact, the substances that provide detoxifying benefits are the same substances that work to reduce inflammation. In addition, brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin K, which directly controls inflammation.

4. Omega-3

Another important component in reducing inflammation in the body is omega-3. You may be surprised, but omega-3 fatty acids do have a role in fighting inflammation. Brussels sprouts surprisingly contains considerable amounts of omega-3. A serving of 1-1/2 cups has nearly 500 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 is better known as the good fat that lowers LDL and keeps your heart healthy.

5. Healthier Heart

The ability of nutrients in brussels sprouts to control inflammation indirectly reduces inflammation that affects the heart and the arteries. Researchers have been studying the role of inflammation in the development of cardiovascular diseases, and they have found a connection between the two. Certain types of glucosinolate in brussels trigger the body’s defenses against unwanted inflammation, particularly in the circulatory system.

Moreover, the sprouts also have compounds, like the omega-3 fatty acids, that lower bad cholesterol, which as you know gets deposited on the walls of arteries.

Fiber in brussels sprouts also help lower blood cholesterol by binding with bile. Your liver produces bile using cholesterol. If fiber binds bile, the liver then produces it using existing cholesterol in the body.

6. Proper Digestion

Fiber in brussels sprouts also promote good colon health and good bowel movement. Also, their sulfur compounds help control bacterial population in the digestive tract.

For tips on eating these delicious veggies, check out the simple recipes here.

Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

eat healthy on a budgetThe media has misled people into believing that healthy food is expensive. The truth is healthy food or a healthy lifestyle does not have to be expensive at all. In fact, going healthy in the kitchen could mean curbing your budget for groceries. The secret is to be in control of your menu.

Here are quick tips.

1. Stop buying junk food.
2. Stop buying alcohol and soda.
3. Reduce trips to fast food chains.
4. Limit sweets.
5. Watch what you eat.

Check your grocery expenditure after a month. You will notice how much you have saved nixing all unnecessary fattening, sugary, and unhealthy stuff. Plus, you will see less clutter and trash in the kitchen. You see, eating healthy, in fact, will make you spend less.

Start by learning to cook your food.

You don’t need to be a culinary arts graduate to learn how to cook. Simple recipes that are healthy are available everywhere. By doing your own cooking, you control what you put in your food. You control the amount of sugar, salt, and fat you put in it. You control your intake of the macro-nutrients–carbohydrates, protein, and fat. When you buy prepared food, you don’t know how much trans fat or simple sugars you’re consuming.

Prepare your weekly menu.

Plan your menu for the entire week. That includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you have little time cooking food during weekdays, look for easy-to-prepare recipes. There are easy meals that require just a few ingredients and are healthy. One of your assignments now is to search for easy to cook recipes.

Stock ingredients for cheap, quick recipes.

Quick recipes are usually cheap. They require just a few common ingredients, and you can cook them in 10-30 minutes. No lavish preparations are needed. No waiting for several hours. These recipes are great when you are preparing quick breakfasts or packed meals for lunch. What are the usual stuff for these recipes?

1. Eggs. Eggs are great. You can boil them for 5 minutes, and you have a nutrient-rich meal good for breakfast or for snacks. You can eat them alone or with brown rice. Omelets are quick breakfast choices too. Just use olive oil.

2. Rice. It doesn’t matter whether you choose white or brown. Both are good choices. Some say brown is healthier, but research has debunked that. Both are excellent sources of carbs, which you need as an energy source. Just eat a cup per meal, and you should be fine. You can mix them with veggies and green peas if you want to be more creative.

3. Beans. Another cheap ingredient for quick recipes are beans and lentils. You can never go wrong with these protein rich goodies, which can complement rice and veggies.

4. Veggies and fruits. Vegetables are excellent sources of fiber and micronutrients. They should be part of your meal. They are very cheap, so you have no excuse for skipping them. Fruits are excellent alternatives to junk food as snacks.

5. Lean meat. Lean meat should be part of your grocery budget. It’s your excellent source of protein, B-complex, and iron. Meat can be grilled or stewed. Look for inexpensive cuts.

6. Fish. This is another excellent source of protein, plus good fat. Buy raw and cook it yourself. Look for simple recipes online. Fish dishes at restaurants are much more expensive.

Side Effects of Paleo Diet

paleo diet side effects

An abrupt shift from regular high-carb diet to paleo diet can shock your digestive system and your body as a whole and make you feel some funny side effects at first. People who switched to this kind of ancient, paleolithic man’s diet reported disturbing symptoms like headache, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, diarrhea, bodily aches, nausea, irritability, and hunger. Pay attention to these side effects. However, most of the time they go away as your body learns to reconfigure itself to your new diet. Of course, this diet has it’s benefits for some people, but not everyone has such an easy time with it.

Why are you experiencing these things?

Your body is adapting to your consumption of more fat.

Paleo diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It sounds funny at first. However, once you look into it, you will realize you’re turning your body from a carb-burning furnace to a fat-burning furnace. Your body turns to fat as the major energy source, not carb. This results in your body beginning to burn fat, and this transition causes funny symptoms.

You’re losing a bit more water.

Regular high-carb and sodium-rich diets lead to your body storing more water than necessary. This is why when you transition to paleo diet, you tend to lose that extra water. However, drastic transition means significant loss of water, which leads to dehydration when unchecked. Dehydration causes many symptoms like weakness and dizziness.

You’re missing your carbs without you realizing it.

Switching to a different dietary regimen can be off-putting, but you deal with the negative emotions you feel towards the change by convincing yourself you’re doing the right thing. However, there’s that part of your brain that still misses the high-carb foods. This subconscious conflict causes irritability.

Don’t worry. The side effects of the transition are temporary, lasting for only a week. In addition, you can reduce the intensity of the side effects by doing the following:

Have enough serving of fat.

Paleo diet is grounded on the principle that our paleolithic ancestors didn’t consume grains (carbs) until agriculture was invented. Back in those days, they hunted meat and climbed trees to eat their fruits. Fat was the major source of the paleo man’s energy. Protein in meat was used to build strong muscles, which they needed for running, climbing, and hunting.

However, you cannot just help yourself to any type of fat. Choose good fats–coconut oil, olive oil, or butter. Nuts, olives, coconut, and avocado provide you with healthy fat too. Increase your intake of fat to compensate for your decreased intake of carbohydrates. Make sure you’re still consuming a healthy amount of calories.

Have snacks in between meals.

When you switch to paleo diet, you should adjust by eating at regular intervals. If you have blood sugar issues, you should eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your sugar levels stable. Otherwise, you can eat 3 large meals and have snacks in between. You can snack on nuts. Avoid intermittent fasting until your body adapts to your high-fat paleo diet.

Increase your water intake.

Reduced ingestion of carbs mean you’re losing water. To avoid dehydration, increase your water intake. Drink at least two liters of water every day.

Avoid strenuous exercise during the transition.

This is a good time to deload on or take a break from your workouts. If you’re on fat loss workouts, avoid doing intense cardio or HIIT, especially if you’re feeling a bit weak.

Another good read on this diet is this article from The Week on why this is a terrible diet for many people.

7 Reasons to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet

benefits of chia seeds

You have probably heard of chia seeds, or not. Chia, a flowering plant that is native in Mexico and Guatemala, was not known in North America until the recent decades. The tiny white or dark brown seeds don’t look anything special, but they contain omega-3 fatty acids, which we know to be beneficial to the heart. Unlike other types of seeds, you don’t need to cook chia seeds to be edible. Like nuts, they can be eaten raw.

Here are different benefits of chia seeds:

Diabetes Prevention

Although researchers are still studying the potential effects of chia seeds on blood sugar regulation, there’s already a huge number of people who have experienced the benefits of consuming them. Moreover, many experts have pointed out chia seeds as a natural treatment for type 2 diabetes. They have found out that chia can stabilize the blood sugar levels and prevent insulin resistance.

Dietary Fiber

Every 10 grams of chia seeds has about 4 grams of fiber. That makes the wonder seeds one of the best sources of fiber. In fact, an ounce of them gives you roughly one-third the amount of fiber you need in a day. Fiber is good for proper digestion and colon health.

Omega-3

Omega-3 seems to be the most popular type of fatty acid. It’s known to be the heart-friendly fat. It’s not found only in fish. An ounce of chia seeds has 5 grams of omega-3. You can snack on them and get your dose of fatty acids that help fight heart disease.

Minerals for Bones and Teeth

Another reason you should be munching on chia seeds is because of their calcium content. Calcium is an essential mineral for bones and teeth. A good supply of calcium helps prevent osteoporosis and early bone density loss. An ounce of chia seeds gives about 10% of your daily calcium needs.

Chia seeds also contain manganese, another mineral that’s good for bone health. Aside from that, manganese is also necessary in the absorption of thiamine.

Another mineral present in chia that’s good for bone health is phosphorus. An ounce of chia seeds has 27% the amount of phosphorus you need in a day. Take note that this mineral is also needed in protein synthesis.

Protein

Vegans should consider chia as one of their protein sources. An ounce of chia seeds yields 10% the amount of protein needed daily. This is cholesterol-free protein.

Appetite Regulation

Helping yourself to a serving of chia seeds helps you control your food intake so that you tend not to overeat. Thanks to tryptophan, which helps control appetite and mood.

Good for the Heart

Chia seeds do not only keep your blood pressure within normal. They also regulate your bad cholesterol. Thanks to chia’s omega-3 and other components, which lower LDL and triglycerides.

Adding chia seeds to your diet shouldn’t be much of a problem. The seeds are tasteless and so won’t alter the taste of your dishes. Mix them with your salads or sprinkle them on your cereal or yogurt.

Learn more about this superfood at chia seeds vs flax seeds.

Why Try Oil Pulling for Your Health?

oil pulling benefits

You have probably heard about oil pulling from a friend or come across a post about it on Facebook. They have been doing it in India in what they call Ayurvedic medicine for 3,000 years. It’s an oral therapy that involves swishing one tablespoon of oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. Twenty minutes is long! But people who have tried it swore to its health benefits. You can use coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil.

This is not some kitchen remedy some housewife invented out of boredom. Research has actually proven its benefits. It’s not some false science. According to research, oil pulling helps treat or prevent gum disease, plaque, tooth decay, and bad breath.

How does it work?

Bacteria that inhabit the mouth are single-celled microorganisms. Well, all bacteria are single-celled. Their membranes are composed of lipids. So what’s the big deal? Naturally, the fat molecules on the membrane of bacteria tend to stick to the oil molecules you use. So when you swish oil in your mouth, you take the bacteria out of your teeth, gums, and tongue. You spit them out with the oil. It sounds too simple, but this simple principle has a lot of health benefits.

Many people who have tried it swore it made their teeth whiter. If you’re wondering whether this is true, there’s only one way to find out. Why be scared? Swishing coconut or sesame oil in your mouth is okay. These things don’t cause any illness. In fact, they have lots of nutrients that are good for you.

What is research saying about oil pulling?

There are a few scientific studies conducted in 2008 and 2009. These studies aimed to find out the effects of swishing coconut oil. The findings: coconut oil stops plaque from forming.

Is there enough scientific evidence?

That’s the problem. There are not too many research studies done to update or back up formerly conducted studies. With so many people exaggerating the effects of coconut or sesame oil, it makes sense to do comprehensive research on the true benefits of these oils. Most doctors would encourage people to just stick to conventional means of preventing plaque and tooth decay. That’s brushing at least twice a day and flossing.

Also, there seems little or no evidence that support oil pulling will reduce chances of diabetes or heart disease. However, we know there’s a connection between gum disease, which can be prevented by oil pulling, and heart disease.

CNN recently did an article on this to see if it worked or not.

Should you try it?

If you’re curious, know that there are a lot of people who have tried it and they have seen benefits from doing it. In addition, coconut or sesame oil are not only safe but also filled with beneficial nutrients and minerals. There are no reported adverse effects from oil pulling. This practice would not have lasted for thousands of years if it caused mouth sores.

You don’t have to do it for 20 minutes. You can start at 5 minutes. See if it’s something you can do. Don’t swallow the oil. Spit it out.

Do not use oil pulling as an alternative to brushing and flossing. You still need to do these things.

Health Benefits of Sesame Oil

sesame oil benefitsSesame oil, like coconut oil, is one of the most nutrient dense foods that also has numerous therapeutic properties that make it one of nature’s awesome inventions. It has been around for more than five millennia, and researchers continue to explore the health benefits of one of nature’s wonders. Sesame oil is rich in nutrients like protein, calcium, zinc, thiamine, vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium. But its benefits don’t end there.

It’s good for the skin.

Sesame oil contains zinc, which is important in the production of collagen, a main structural protein found in the skin. Not only is zinc essential for production of collagen for good-looking, healthy skin. It’s also important in the body’s healing processes.

It’s good for your teeth.

Did you know sesame oil has antibacterial properties? Yes, it can be used like a mouthwash in a procedure better known as oil pulling, wherein you swish oil in your mouth. This eliminates bacteria in the mouth and teeth responsible for decay and bad breath. Doing this also whitens the teeth.

It helps regulate blood pressure.

Magnesium has been known to lower blood pressure, and sesame oil has magnesium. Thus, including it in your diet or food preparation has blood pressure regulating benefits.

It protects your heart.

Another great thing about sesame oil is that it has sesamol. Researchers know this compound is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It helps prevent buildup of free radicals in the body and helps fight inflammation. Studies have shown sesamol can prevent atherosclerosis.

It lowers your risk of diabetes.

Another good thing about magnesium is that it also helps regulate glucose in the blood. Patients with diabetes may find this beneficial. According to a study published on the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sesame oil improved the effectiveness of glibenclamide, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes.

It lowers your risk of cancer.

Another effect of sesamol is to protect you from damage due to radiation. We get much of it from sun exposure. Sunlight has lots of DNA-damaging UV radiation, which in the long run raises your risk of skin cancer. However, sesamol in the body helps retard the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

There’s one thing more. Magnesium does another thing, and that is to reduce your chances of getting colorectal cancer. There’s another study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that tackles the anti-cancer properties of magnesium. According to the data, 100 mg of magnesium lowers an individual’s risk of colorectal cancer by 12%.

It curbs bone loss.

Sesame oil both has calcium and zinc. Your bones need both of these minerals to stay strong and to fend off the bad effects of aging on your bones. People who are consuming sesame oil are less likely to develop osteoporosis.

It has fiber.

We all need fiber in our diet. Fiber delays digestion and keeps sudden spikes in blood sugar levels after meals. Fiber also adds volume into what we are eating without adding calories. More importantly, it helps keep the colon healthy, helping prevent and treat constipation and prevent colon cancer.

Easy Ways to Get in More Physical Activity Each Day

Being active seems hard to come by in today’s post-modern world wherein people can do things at the tip of their fingers. People spend less time on their feet. Like most of the others, you probably spend most of your time sitting or lying down. Worse, much of the food available today are rich in fat and sugar. The result–obesity!

But increasing your physical and getting fit are not too difficult. You just need to be dedicated and disciplined.

Keep in mind it’s easy.

Who told you have to enroll in a gym to be fit? Increasing your physical activity does not necessarily mean having a daily workout routine on some odd-looking machine. No! Even something as easy as walking suffices. That’s right. You can actually start with walking for at least 30 minutes a day. That doesn’t sound like a lot. And walking is fun and relaxing. You don’t need equipment or training for this.

There are many ways to make walking more fun. Walk with your partner. Walk with friends. Walk your dog.

Do housework.

Instead of sitting on the couch all day and watching TV, start cleaning up and de-cluttering your home. Break a sweat while making your home a better place to live in. Many people just hire cleaners. You probably can afford to hire one. But if you have enough time left to clean the house, wash the dishes, and do the laundry, please do, just so you could burn some calories.

Take the stairs!

We have elevators, but they don’t work your legs and your glutes! You’re burning quite a few calories standing idly in an elevator. If you’re working on the 20th floor, exit the elevator on the 15th, and take the stairs to the 20th. That way you will work out some of the biggest muscle groups in your body–your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. You’re burning more calories climbing the stairs than walking and way much more than standing in the elevator.

Take a 5-minute break!

Your desk keeps your butt glued to your seat. Are you seriously spending all 8 hours sitting down? That’s bad for your back! Here’s what you need to do. Every hour, stand up, stretch, and walk around for 5 minutes. That will refresh you and promote better blood circulation. You will feel less grumpy afterwards while you stare back at your cluttered desk.

Engage in sports.

You may not be athletic, but that doesn’t mean you should just stay indoors during weekends. Find people who love to play basketball or soccer or badminton or tennis for recreational purposes. There’s no need to be the star player. All you need to do is get moving, get your heart pumping, and burn calories to keep the fat at bay.

Start a fitness routine.

Working out for fitness may seem off-putting, especially for people who are either overweight or skinny. It’s sounds ironic that the people who need to workout are the ones who avoid it. Usually, it’s because of shyness. When you’re having difficulty making it to a single rep with a 45-lb barbel, and you’re straining next to a burly guy making 5 reps with 200-lb weights, it’s tough!

Hey! Everyone, even that burly guy, had to start somewhere. Keep that in mind.

Why It’s Important To Get A Good Night’s Sleep

An hour of sleep debt can have drastic effects on your health and life in the long run. How many times have stayed late at night? The recommendation is 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Are you getting enough of that? You should. Here’s why.

For Good Health

Isn’t that obvious? While 8 hours of good sleep will not transform you into Superman, it definitely is good to your brain, cardiovascular system, and immune system. People who often get less than 7 hours of sleep are prone to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Lack of sleep alters your body chemistry and activates certain body chemicals that raise bad cholesterol and fat in your system.

For Happiness

Admit it! You’re happier after a good night sleep and grumpier after 4 or 5 hours of sleep. That’s related to stress. Lack of sleep taxes your brain. It affects your alertness, cognitive functions, and even emotion. As much as you’re less able to focus when you lack sleep, you also tend to be more irritable.

For Your Waistline

Enough sleep is crucial for fat loss. If you’re wondering why you’re packing more fat, especially around your waist, check your sleeping habits. Lack of sleep or lack of quality sleep could be the culprit. When you haven’t had enough sleep, you tend to be sluggish the next day. You’re not that active, so you burn less calories. At the same time, you’re hungrier, so you tend to eat more. That’s because sleep is essential for production of leptin, a hormone that gives you that feeling of fullness after a meal. Sleep deprived individuals are low in leptin. They tend to eat more because of delayed fullness sensation. When you’re hungry, you tend to crave for unhealthy snacks, making you eat more fat.

For Better Thinking and Memory

Not getting enough sleep slows down your cognitive function and impairs memory. It’s difficult to focus. It’s difficult to make sound decisions. It’s difficult to think clearly. People who haven’t slept well also tend to forget a lot of things–car keys, money, appointments, documents, etc. Cumulative sleep debt takes a toll on your higher brain functioning and may set you on the course to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

For Better Defenses Against Illnesses

Your immune system depends on a number of things, chiefly your diet, fitness, and sleep. People who are chronically sleep deprived to get colds more often than those who are getting enough sleep. If you sleep less than seven hours frequently, you’re three times likely to to get sick. Experts don’t yet quite understand the connection between sleep deprivation and decline in immune response. But some studies have shown that sleep deprivation causes a decline in the production of T-cells and an increase in inflammatory cytokines.

For Libido

Lack of sleep wreaks havoc in the intimacy department. When you’re sleep derived, you tend to be tired and unable to perform well on bed.

Ready to start getting better sleep now? If so, you may need to do things like make your bedroom darker, start going to bed at the same time each night, get some noise cancelling earplugs for sleeping through the loud noises from next door, wear a sleep mask or any other type of night time ritual that helps you start sleeping better tonight.