From the biggest cities to the smallest towns, North Americans reach for their morning caffeine fix. Though a cup or two a day isn't likely to harm your health (200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine), once you get up to the four to seven cup range, you could be heading for trouble.
If you have more than 500 to 600 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day, you may experience anything from restlessness, anxiety and insomnia to headaches and stomachaches. But caffeine doesn't just come in coffee. Use the charts below to evaluate your daily caffeine intake.
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In addition to cofee, sources of caffeine may include medications, candy, ice cream and soft drinks.
Natural energy boosters can include sun exposure, eating a healthy breakfast and brief periods of physical activity.
From the Des Moines Health Research Desk...
If fatigue and lack of motivation are your constant companions, put these natural energy boosters to work for you.
Begin with breakfast -- This isn't the first time you've heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day -- and that's because it really is! Fuel your body with whole grains and protein to start your day out right.
Exercise for energy -- Exercise can add some zing to your day. In one study, 20 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity three times a week increased energy levels by 20% and decreased fatigue by 65%. Not only that, but exercise can boost your overall mood as well as help you fall asleep and have a better quality of sleep.
Power up with a power nap -- A 10-minute nap can help restore wakefulness, and promote performance and learning. Avoid napping longer than 30 minutes, as it can adversely affect your nighttime sleep.
Bag the boredom -- Long hours at a desk or at a single task can lead to boredom, which fosters fatigue. Every hour, stand up and stretch or take a short walk around the office to shake off the drowsiness.
Keep the fluids flowing -- Drinking loads of water is not only beneficial for your health, but it also can act as a fatigue-buster. Dehydration is a common culprit behind fatigue, and has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.
Plug the electronic energy leak -- Keeping up-to-date on your emails, texts, phone calls and everything electronic can sap your brain's energy. For a few
hours each day, shut off your cell phone and unessential gadgetry. You'll be amazed at how much more productive you can be -- as well as much more energized.
Seek out the sun -- Getting some sunshine early in the morning -- right when you wake up is best -- can help your body set its sleep-wake cycle for the day. Seeing sunlight during the day can also give your energy a boost.
Lighten your load -- Having too much on your plate can lead to overwork and burnout. Learn to say "no" and schedule some downtime.
Cut the (refined) carbs -- To avoid fatigue-inducing (not to mention unhealthy) blood sugar fluctuations, try eating more whole grains and complex carbohydrates (think: vegetables), and fewer refined carbs like pasta, rice and white bread.
Healthy Cooking Tips...
Link between pesticide exposure and diabetes
Helsinki, Finland - Overweight and obese people with higher blood levels of certain pesticides, PCBs and other chemicals (referred to as "persistent organic pollutants", or POPs), have a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes than those with lower levels, say researchers from Finland's National Institute for Health and Welfare.
Banned or restricted POPs remain in the environment, and build up in human and animal body fat. POPs have been linked to diabetes in past studies. In the current study, close to 2,000 people had their blood measured for several POPs; about 15% of those tested had diabetes. The higher the POP levels, the higher the risk of diabetes, though this link was stronger in the overweight and obese. People with levels in the top 10% were twice as likely to have diabetes as those in the bottom 10%.
Eating slower makes you feel fuller longer, but snacks tempt
Maastricht, Netherlands - Researchers at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands found that while eating slowly made people feel fuller longer, it didn't prevent them from snacking.
The study involved 38 volunteers who ate the same lunch. One day they ate in 30 minutes, and the other day they ate in two hours. Scientists took blood samples before, during and after the meals to measure hormones involved in hunger and satiety (the feeling of fullness). Participants who ate slower had a slower in hormones that signal satiety, and two and a half hours after eating rated their satiety higher and their hunger lower than those who ate in 30 minutes. However, they ate just as many snacks as those who ate faster. Researchers suggest the availability of snack foods trumps body's hunger cues.
Even 15 minutes of daily exercise may help you live longer
Though experts recommend 30 minutes a day, researchers at the National Health Research Institutes in Taiwan wanted to determine if less exercise still offers life expectancy benefits. Over 400,000 participants were categorized as inactive, or low, medium, high, or very highly active. They were followed for an average of eight years and based on lifestyle, researchers projected life expectancy for each group.
Compared to the inactive group, those in the low activity group had a 14% reduced risk of all causes of death and a 3- year longer life expectancy. Each additional 15 minutes of daily exercise further reduced the risk of death by 4%.
A Hollywood comedy website and others could be key in getting enough Americans to sign up for coverage under the law, especially 18-to-35-year-olds. But opponents are waging their own campaign.
Wedged into the blotter on Mike Farah's desk at the Funny or Die studios in Hollywood is an index card with a list — wrangling talent, polishing scripts and arranging shoots — long enough to keep the comedy website executive fully occupied. But these tasks are part of a different quest: the campaign to ensure the success of President Obama's healthcare law.
It's infuriating to chronic pain sufferers to be told their pain is "all in the head." But a new study offers strong evidence that even before a person experiences an injury, the likelihood that the resulting pain will become chronic can be predicted by examining the brain's "white matter" -- the bundles of fatty fibers that carry electrical impulses between the brain's hemispheres and among its dense network of cells and structures.
BBC News - Health
BBC News - Health
The latest stories from the Health section of the BBC News web site.
Head lice: The idea alone is enough to make your scalp itch. Each year, there are 6 million to 12 million lice cases in U.S. children ages 3 to 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's a year-round scourge, though the number of cases seems to peak when kids go back to school in the fall and again in January, possibly due to familial mingling during the holidays.
Can exercise reduce depression? Research has shown promise but is still inconclusive
Those who aren't depressed sometimes wonder why those who are won't just snap out of it. However, depression is a serious illness that comes in many forms and is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, biological and psychological factors.
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