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Archive for the tag “health”

How to Prevent Varicose Veins Naturally

Have you noticed purple or blue veins emerging on the surface of your legs? Those bulging veins are varicose veins, which most experts believe to be caused by weak valves in the veins. When healthy, these valves keep blood moving toward the heart. However, when they become weak, blood pools in the legs, causing veins to stretch, sag and protrude to the surface.

Varicose veins can also appear from pregnancy and hormones. While they may initially be a cause for concern, most varicose veins caused by pregnancy will recede after three months. Unfortunately, another pregnancy could bring them back for good.

While you can’t entirely prevent varicose veins, you can minimize your risk and help ease any discomfort from existing ones. In fact, some simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference. Here are our top tips for addressing varicose veins naturally.

The Do’s:

Do exercise regularly

Regular exercise will keep the blood properly circulating in your legs. If trips to the gym are unrealistic for you, walking is an easy way to add movement. Read about simple ways to increase your daily steps here.

Do wear compression gear

compressionCompression socks, pants or hose can reduce the diameter of the veins and ensure proper blood flow. This is especially important if you stand or sit for long periods.

Do manage your weight

precisionStudies show overweight people are more likely to develop varicose veins. It is vitally important to maintain a healthy weight because carrying around extra pounds increases the pressure and strain on your legs and veins. Keep track of your weight with our best-selling EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale.

Do use food as medicine

Add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to reduce swelling. Foods such as berries, dark leafy greens, beets, ginger, turmeric, onions, garlic and oily fish can reduce inflammation in your body.

Do strengthen veins with witch hazel

Witch hazel can help strengthen vein walls. To reap the benefits, soak a wash cloth with witch hazel and place on the affected area.

Do massage your legs

Massage or dry brush your legs to keep the blood pumping. Use gentle upward strokes to smooth out the twisted veins. Make sure to never apply pressure directly on the bulging veins.

Do elevate your legs

After a long day, elevate your legs for 15 – 20 minutes every night.

Do eat your fiber

Eat plenty of fiber, including fresh vegetables and fruits, since constipation can contribute to varicose veins. Did you know that a serving of fruit or vegetables is 4 ounces? Our Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale can help you correctly measure out your fruits and vegetables for the day.

Do give apple cider vinegar remedies a try

Soak a washcloth in equal amounts apple cider vinegar and water and apply as a compress. To help increase circulation, apple cider vinegar can also be used on salads or mixed into a glass of warm water.

Do use essential oils

Consider using essential oils on a cool compress or added into your bath. Rosemary, lavender, cypress, pine and juniper berry all have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

The Don’ts:

Do not stay in one position too long

Shifting your position frequently when standing or sitting for long periods of time can improve circulation.

Do not skip stretching

stretchFlex your feet and roll your ankles when sitting, especially if you’re taking a long car, train or plane ride. Always stretch before and after exercise.

Do not sit with crossed legs

Sitting with your legs crossed at the knee interferes with circulation, and over time, can lead to varicose veins.

Do not forget your Vitamin C & B

Eat foods rich in Vitamin C to help repair damaged cells and strengthen capillaries. Vitamin B deficiencies can lead to damage in the lining of the blood vessels. Lean meat, tuna, shrimp, poultry, potatoes, sweet potatoes, legumes, sunflower seeds, avocados and bananas are all good sources of Vitamin B.

A combination of diet, exercise, and herbal remedies can help you manage varicose veins without surgery. Of course, you should consult with your doctor or a physical therapist if you are not getting the relief you seek.

Shop EatSmart Bathroom Scales.

Do you have varicose veins? How do you treat them? Tweet us at @eatsmartscales.

How to Prevent Text Neck

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Smartphones have transformed the way we live. As new apps are developed and cellular networks have improved, we are using our phones more than ever before. Most users spend two to five hours per day on their phone. Teenagers, the most devoted smartphone users, can spend eight hours per day, or more, using their phone. This adds up to thousands of hours per year!

While we can’t get enough of our phones, there is a risk to staring down at our screens all day long. Hunching forward for extended periods of time can result in shoulder pain, neck spasms and headaches; commonly known as “Text-Neck”. SpineHealth.com describes Text-Neck as the neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long.

The average human head weighs 10 – 12 pounds, but for every inch we lean forward our head weighs an additional 10 pounds. Bending your neck to read a text message can place an additional 50 pounds of pressure on your neck! The farther the head tilts forward, the more pressure it puts on the spine:

  • 15 degrees puts 27 pounds of pressure on the spine
  • 30 degrees puts 40 pounds of pressure on the spine
  • 45 degrees places 49 pounds of pressure on the spine
  • 60 degrees places 60 pounds of pressure on the spine

Continued pressure can result in large amounts of wear and tear, degeneration of the spine and neck, muscle strain, herniated discs, and pinched nerves. There is a risk of losing the curvature in the neck, which may require corrective surgery. Normally, these injuries affect people in their late 40’s, but now teens and young adults are at greater risk.

There are several things you can do to prevent poor posture and relieve any resulting pain including:

  • Always keep your smart devices at eye level to prevent leaning forward.
  • Spend 15 minutes per day stretching out your neck, spine and chest.
  • Every hour, rotate your neck by gently looking to the left and right, 10 times on each side.
  • Strengthen your core muscles so they can help support your upper body and help create proper posture.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to help keep your spine healthy. Every extra pound puts an additional 4 pounds of pressure on your joints. Our Precision CalPal Digital Bathroom Scale tracks weight, features a daily caloric reference that calculates how many calories are needed to maintain your weight and calculates BMI (Body Mass Index).calpal-digital-bathroom-scale
  • Take breaks at least twice an hour to reduce pressure when working at your computer for long periods of time.
  • Make sure laptops and desktop computers are positioned to be read at eye level.
  • Be cognizant of your posture throughout the day. Are you leaning forward to watch TV or drive? Being mindful can help you maintain good posture and relax sore muscles.
  • See a doctor if you fail to obtain relief. They may recommend massage and physical therapy to relieve pain and help you heal.

Enjoy your technology but be sure to take care of your neck and spine.

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How To Prevent Text Neck

Quick and Easy One-Pot Recipes

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Cooking dinner sounds less intimidating if you only have one dish to clean up afterwards. That’s why we have gathered 7 delicious, easy one pot meals. No mess, no stress!


Honey Garlic ShrimpHoney Garlic shrimp

Get the recipe from Kevin and Amanda.


Vegetarian Pasta Primavera

Get the recipe from Oh My Veggies.


Sweet Potato Burrito Bowls

Get the recipe from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.


Seven Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Get the recipe from Mama Miss.


Enchilada Pasta

Get the recipe from Taste and Tell.


Summer Seafood Stew

Get the recipe from Feasting at Home.


Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Rice

Get the recipe from Carlsbad Cravings.


Have a favorite One Pot Meal Recipe? Tweet us @EatSmartScales!

Why You Should Be Eating Chia Seeds and 7 Easy Recipes

ESP_chia_seeds_pinterestWhat are chia seeds and why should you be eating them? Chia seeds, yes the ch-ch-ch-chia of TV fame, come from the mint plant and are incredibly healthy for you. These little seeds are provide a massive amount of nutrients with few calories! High in protein and fiber, they have been proven to aid in weight loss and even reduce blood pressure.

Fun fact: “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” Legend has it that the Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds to fuel performance.

Here’s what a serving of chia seeds looks like: Chia-Seed-Serving-Kitchen-Scale

Here are a few reasons why you should be including these seeds in your diet:

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants help protect our cells from the damages of free radicals which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer. They can also keep our skin in great condition, which may translate to fewer wrinkles!

They’re a good source of protein

A serving of chia has 4 grams of protein. That may not sound like a lot but when paired with nuts or other proteins it really adds up.

Chia seeds are packed with fiber

Two tablespoons of chia sees have 10 grams of fiber. That’s twice as much as a bowl of oatmeal. Fiber keeps the body regular and can help prevent chronic disease.

They’re full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A one ounce serving of chia seeds has nearly 5 grams of omega 3’s, which is the same amount found in 4 ounces of salmon. That’s great news for anyone who is not a fan of eating fish every day!

Chia seeds are high in calcium

Chia seeds provide 18 percent of your daily calcium needs, perfect for those who stay away from dairy. Calcium is essential for bone health.ESP_chia_seeds_list

Chia seeds are tasteless so throw some into your favorite oatmeal or smoothie recipe for an added nutrition boost. When they get wet they become gelatinous, making them perfect for jellies, puddings and smoothies.

For those feeling a bit more creative, here are 7 super simple recipes:

Blackberry Chia Seed Jam by Two Peas and Their Pod

Strawberry Chia Seed Smoothie Bowl by Tastes of Lizzy T

Chia Fresca by Oh She Glows

Overnight Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding by Minimalist Baker

Cheesy Chia Seed Crackers by The Iron You

Peanut Butter Chia Seed Energy Bars – Low Carb and Gluten Free by All Day I Dream About Food

Chocolate Banana Chia Seed Smoothie by A Beautiful Mess

What’s your favorite way to eat chia seeds? Tweet to us @eatsmartscales.

Slow-Cooker Curried Vegetable Lentil Soup

They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb and that seems to be the case in 2016.  With temperatures still chilly in much of the country, it is a perfect weekend to make a simple, comforting soup.  This slow-cooker vegetarian soup is easy to make and tastes great.  Enjoy!

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  • 2 cups uncooked lentils
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans/chick peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 10 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

For cooking instructions visit Dishing Out Health.

About the Author: Jamie Vespa is a Registered Dietitian and health food blogger with a passion for food, fitness and getting creative in the kitchen. Jamie’s blog, Dishing Out Health, offers nutritious recipes to help prove that eating healthy can taste just as good as it feels.

5-Minute Lentil Tomato Salad

Did you know February is Heart Health Month?  Here at EatSmart, we are dedicated to bettering the lives of our customers through encouraging a healthy lifestyle.  We encourage our readers to learn more about living a heart-healthy life by visiting and exploring the American Heart Association website.

To do our part in celebrating Heart Health Month, EatSmart will be sharing heart-healthy recipes throughout the month of February.  This 5-Minute Lentil Tomato Salad, developed by Kaitlin at The Garden Grazer, which is loaded with lentils, a high fiber food known to reduce the risk of Heart disease, is a great way to kick off the month.  Enjoy!

lentilsalad2

Ingredients
15 oz. can lentils
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (or white balsamic vinegar)
1/8 cup chives (optional)
Salt to taste
Other additions: olive oil, basil, parsley, etc.

Click here for preparation instructions from The Garden Grazer.

The recipe is courtesy of Kaitlin at The Garden Grazer.  Kaitlin is vegetable enthusiast who loves animals, nature, matcha, positivity, kindness, and colorful food!  Stop by her website for lots of healthy recipes!

9 Simple Things To Do To Prepare For a Healthy and Happy New Year

ESP_prepare_for_new_years_pinterestThe New Year is almost here! Will this be the year you see your resolution all the way through? If you have health and fitness goals heading into the new year, the following steps will help turn your vision into reality.

Set a fitness goal

Create a specific, attainable goal that you want to accomplish. The goal can be running a 5K or a marathon, committing to attend one exercise class per week at the gym/studio, setting a PR in CrossFit, or anything that keeps you motivated to consistently workout.

Make an exercise commitment

Commit to a certain amount of time per week that you will work out. For instance, you can plan to exercise three times or a total of two total hours per week. It’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. In three months, reassess this commitment and adjust it to better fit your schedule.

Find an accountability buddy

If you know someone who is also striving to hit a fitness goal, invite them to be an accountability buddy. Have regular check-ins to make sure you’re both on track. If you don’t have any friends to hold you accountable, join a workout group or hire a coach to help you hit your goals.

Assess your current diet

Keep a food journal to make sure you’re eating smart and use our EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale to measure proper portion sizes. If you’re looking for inspiration in the kitchen, check out the recipe section on our EatSmart Blog for healthy options.

Stop eating on the fly

Are you constantly snacking on whatever is around or picking up fast food on the fly? Make a healthy eating plan for each day, even if it includes eating out. Apps like MyFitnessPal, Noom Coach and HealthyOut make meal planning easy.

Take your measurements

It’s empowering to see how improved diet and exercise change your body. Track your progress with monthly measurements of your chest, waist, upper arm and thigh. Did you know that our EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale comes with a free Body Tape Measure?

Keep track of your weight

Keeping track of your weight can provide huge motivation towards reaching your goals. Every time you step on our EatSmart Precision Tracker Digital Bathroom Scale it displays three readings: current weight, weight change from the last weigh in, and total change from the starting weight.

Stress less

Set aside a little time each day for relaxation. If it’s hard to find the time in your busy schedule, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Start your day with some quiet time such as a quick yoga flow or meditation. If the morning isn’t possible, try to unwind and unplug 15 minutes before bed.

Get your beauty sleep

Sleep is essential to happiness and health. Besides being cranky and tired, sleep deprivation leaves us more likely to make poor food choices or miss a workout.

If you’re ready to make lifestyle changes in 2016, an action plan with specific goals will be the key to your success. As you progress through the year, create monthly checkpoints to hold yourself accountable and track your progress.

Do you have New Year’s resolution success story? Tell us how you did it @EatSmartScales.
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The Pros and Cons of Calorie Counting

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With so many fitness apps and activity trackers available, counting calories and monitoring fitness is easier to do than ever before. But does this emerging technology help us reach our health goals or is it an obsessive waste of time? Well, it depends on how you use it. Here’s a list of pros and cons, as well as some simple suggestions to help you eat smarter.

Pros of Counting Calories

It provides structure and accountability. Counting calories lets you know exactly how much food you should eat and plan meals accordingly.

It can be motivational. When you improve your diet, the immediate health benefits – weight loss, increased energy, etc. – can lead to positive behavioral changes and healthy habits.

It can lead to better food choices. Counting calories can help you identify which foods are more nutrient dense and which foods lack nutritional value.

It can encourage you to exercise. Knowing that exercise helps burn calories can inspire you to get up off the couch and move.

Cons of Counting Calories

It can be nutritionally incomplete. You may be tempted to skimp on necessary fats and proteins to eat fewer calories. However, this can cause you to miss out on important phytonutrients, vitamins and micronutrients that are necessary for a healthy body.

It can lead to obsessive behavior. Constantly thinking about calories and exercise can lead to eating disorders. It’s important to focusing on how you feel, in addition to your calorie count, to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

It may cause a disconnect. You may ignore or misunderstand your body’s cues and signals for whether you’re hungry or not. Always listen to your body; it will tell you which foods make you feel great and which don’t.

It’s time consuming and a bit tiring. Counting calories for every snack and meal can feel like a second job. It can also put a crimp in your social life since it’s difficult to accurately count calories at restaurants.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for a healthy and smarting eating plan, whether you count calories or not:

Eat balanced meals. Make sure you are eating nutritious, balanced meals that contain foods from all of the basic food groups.

Don’t wait too long to eat between meals. When you are very hungry, you’re more likely to make poor choices or overeat.

Weigh yourself once a week. If the number on the scale is too high and your clothes are too tight, then you’re eating more food than you need. We have a number of digital bathroom scales that help you stay accountable to your health and fitness goals. eatsmart-digital-bathroomscales-2
Keep track of your meals. A food diary will give an accurate picture of exactly what you are eating throughout the day. You can also jot down how you’re feeling to see what foods make you feel the best.

Understand portion sizes. Most of us cannot tell what 4 oz of meat or a 2 oz of pasta looks like. Our Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale accurately measures portions and will save you from making wild guesses. eatsmartpro

Do you have a healthy eating tip that has worked for you? Tweet it to us at @EatSmartScales.

Mason Jar Carrot Noodle Salad w/Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

mason-jar-salad-all-mixed-up-noshThe key to a great mason jar salad is the layering and packing it in tight, so things don’t move around.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Thai sweet red chili sauce
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dark Amber Maple Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Carrot (spiralized, or julienned)
  • 1 roasted bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill hulled hemp seeds
  • 1⁄3 cup cashews (plain or flavored, like Asian Sesame)
  • 2 cups Spinach (or sub your favorite greens)

For instructions, click here.

About the Author: Kelly is the author, recipe creator, and food photographer behind the blog Nosh and Nourish. She incorporates nourishing superfoods into every meal for her husband, adorable toddler, and herself (think quinoa, Greek yogurt, chickpeas, kale, eggs, etc..) and manages to keep everything tasting absolutely delicious! Learn more by visiting her blog, at http://noshandnourish.com/, or check out her new cookbook “Superfoods at Every Meal” here.

Top Reasons to Make Your Own Orange Juice

If you’ve ever had a glass of fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, then you know that the stuff you buy in a carton, a bottle, or (shudder) a can tastes almost nothing like it. There is simply no comparison. Why?

Say you’ve got a thirst for some OJ. You pop out to the store and pick out the best quality stuff you can find. It’s 100% all natural fruit juice, not from concentrate, with no added sugars or any additional ingredients. Sounds healthy, right? Compared to orange “drinks” with added colors and flavors, it’s a good choice. However, even the highest quality container of juice has been processed in some way, then packaged, then shipped. Each step away from the orange itself strips the juice of some of its nutrients and enzymes.

In the United States, 98% of all fruit juices are pasteurized or otherwise treated to kill potential pathogens. In the rare instance when you can find completely raw juice in the market, the bottle will have an ominous warning label stating that the juice may contain bacteria that can make you seriously sick.

That may well be true, but that’s because a bottle, or a carton, is not as good a vehicle for transporting orange juice as, say, an orange. The minute an orange is squeezed, the juice comes into contact with the air, with possibly contaminated factory equipment, unsterile surfaces, improperly sealed containers — you name it. The longer that juice is parted from the cellulose structure that protected it inside the fruit, the greater the odds that something will contaminate it. That’s why the argument for pasteurization is a pretty strong one.

The problem with pasteurization is that it depletes the vitamins and enzymes in the juice, according to many studies (though others argue against this.) Many manufacturers add vitamin C back into their orange juice to help compensate. Do you see ascorbic acid on the label? That’s vitamin C.

Leaving aside the pasteurization debate (which will continue to rage on), consider that unless you buy organic juice, you’ll be quenching your thirst with a cocktail of pesticides and carcinogens — all the stuff that’s sprayed on conventional fruits. If you choose apple or vegetable juice, you’re also likely to find sulfites — a food preservative to which one in 100 people is sensitive. Sulfites have been banned on raw fruits and vegetables, but are still found in some juices.

Once an orange is squeezed, the juice begins losing nutrients immediately due to oxidation. Exposure to air causes food to break down — think of an apple slice turning brown. So, pasteurized or not, the vitamins and enzymes in your juice started degrading the minute the fruit was squeezed.

The volatile compounds that make fresh orange juice taste so amazing also degrade quickly. They’re not called volatile for nothing! Nutritional value aside, freshly squeezed juice tastes better, and that’s one reason why.

So the next time you’re thirsting for a glass of orange juice, just juice a couple of oranges, simple as that. I use a pretty, old-fashioned glass juicer. It’s the kind where you simply press and turn an orange half against the juicer part. The juice flows into the dish, and then I pour it into a glass. I also have an inexpensive electric citrus juicer, which I use when I want to make more than a single glass. For other fruits, more complicated juicers are necessary, but citrus juice is so quick and easy! There’s really no reason not to squeeze a delicious, fresh glass whenever it strikes your fancy.

About the Author: Kim Kash has been a writer and editor for over 20 years, many of those in the book trade with Daedalus Books. Topics she covers as a freelance writer for range from federal government policy to yoga, food and travel. She often writes for beachbody.com, which provides home fitness video programs and recently launched P90X2, which delivers an even more advanced fitness workout. The author of the bestselling Ocean City: A Guide to Maryland’s Seaside Resort (Channel Lake, 2009), Kim is a founder of the Greenbelt Farmers Market near Washington, D.C. Two years ago at age 40, Kim and her husband sold everything and moved to the Middle East. Since then, she has traveled to twelve new countries and has taken up sailing, diving, and rock climbing.

Sources
http://www.cdc.gov/foodborne/juice_spotlight.htm
http://www.acsh.org/healthissues/newsID.725/healthissue_detail.asp
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20492165
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/sulfite-sensitivity
http://diaryofanutritionist.com/2012/02/27/the-great-juice-debate/

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