Saturday, December 23, 2017

How Much Caffeine Is in That?

couple walking holding coffee cups
1 / 14

Why Does It Matter?

Caffeine can affect you in many ways. It can:
  • Boost energy, memory, and athletic performance
  • Ease headaches
  • Help prevent constipation and type 2 diabetes
  • Protect against brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
But too much can make you anxious, nervous, or jittery. It can affect sleep, digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rhythm. And it can damage a child's developing heart, blood vessels, and nervous system.
green tea
2 / 14

Green Tea

Serving size: 8 ounces
Caffeine: About 28 milligrams
Some people think this is an herbal tea with no caffeine. It’s actually made from the same leaves as black tea (the Camellia sinensis bush). It generally does have a bit less caffeine.
cup of hot tea
3 / 14

Black Tea

Serving size: 8 ounces
Caffeine: About 47 milligrams
Skip your regular morning coffee and you may get groggy, tired, irritable, and even sick. If you want to cut back, do it slowly. That'll give your body a chance to get used to it. A cup of tea in the morning instead of coffee may be a good place to start. At most, tea usually has half the caffeine of coffee.
sweet tea
4 / 14

Iced Tea

Serving size: 8 ounces
Caffeine: 25-48 milligrams
The size here is the same as the other teas. But keep in mind that it’s often sold in larger -- sometimes much larger -- servings. That could mean more than 100 milligrams of caffeine.
brewsing coffee
5 / 14

Brewed Coffee

Serving size: 8 ounces
Caffeine: 130-180 milligrams
For some retailers, 12 ounces is their smallest size. You can cut down how much caffeine you have by sticking to 8 ounces. Pour some out, if necessary. Of course, the stronger you make your coffee, the more caffeine it has.
cup of coffee
6 / 14


Serving size: 2 ounces
Caffeine: About 126 milligrams
Many espresso-based drinks at your local coffee shop (cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos) use this 2-ounce “double shot” as a base. A 1-ounce “single” shot would have about half that (about 63 milligrams).
coffee pot
7 / 14

Decaf Coffee

Serving size: 8 ounces
Caffeine: 2-15 milligrams
There are different methods for getting rid of caffeine in tea and coffee. The amount left depends on what you start with and how you get rid of it. U.S. government regulations require 97% of caffeine to be removed from coffee to call it “decaffeinated.”
8 / 14


Serving size: 12 ounces
Caffeine: 34-54 milligrams
This range is for both diet and regular sodas that have caffeine. Usually, those that have none have “caffeine-free” on their label.
drink can
9 / 14

Energy Drinks

Serving size: 16 ounces
Caffeine: 140 to 350 milligrams
Ingredients like guarana can hide extra caffeine. The sugar or artificial sweeteners can make it easy to drink too much.
gum in hand
10 / 14

Caffeinated Gum

Serving size: 1 piece
Caffeine: 20-100 milligrams
It’s a good idea to do your homework on this. The range can be large and, like energy drinks, there can be hidden caffeine in ingredients like guarana. After meeting with the FDA, Wrigley, a major U.S. gum maker, decided not to sell gum with caffeine because of health concerns.
dark chocolate squares
11 / 14

Dark Chocolate

Serving Size: 1 ounce
Caffeine: About 23 milligrams
Because caffeine occurs naturally in chocolate, the FDA doesn't require makers to list how much it has, so it's tough to know. It’s not too much if you stick to one serving, which is about a third of a typical dark chocolate bar. More than that and the numbers can start to add up.
pills from bottle
12 / 14

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Dose: 2 tablets
Caffeine: 130 milligrams
Some of these combine aspirin, acetaminophen, or both with caffeine. Though they can work well on your headache, they also add to your total daily amount, so you may need to cut back elsewhere.
white powder
13 / 14

Powdered Caffeine

Dose: Not recommended at any dose
Caffeine: 1 teaspoon = about 28 cups of coffee
The FDA knows of at least two deaths from this stuff and recommends you avoid it. You can’t measure safe amounts accurately with typical kitchen equipment. See a doctor if you think you've taken too much, start to vomit, or notice your heart beating too quickly or in an odd rhythm.
woman sipping coffee
14 / 14

How Much Is Too Much?

Different people can handle different amounts. But there's a limit to what you should have every day, even if it doesn’t bother you. Up to about 400 milligrams a day is usually OK for adults as part of a healthy diet. Once you hit 600 a day, you’re probably getting too much.

12 Tips to Keep Your Mind Sharp

woman in art gallery
1 / 12

Use Your Brain

It's true: Use it or lose it. Stretching your brain keeps your mind sharp. People who are more active in mentally challenging activities are more likely to stay sharp. Try these:
  • Read a book.
  • Go to a lecture.
  • Listen to the radio.
  • Play a game.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Learn a second language.
blindfolded woman and pinata
2 / 12

Mix Things Up

Remember trying to talk backwards as a child? Researchers at Duke University created exercises they call "neurobics," which challenge your brain to think in new ways. Since your five senses are key to learning, use them to exercise your mind. If you're right-handed, try using your left hand. Drive to work by another route. Close your eyes and see if you can recognize food by taste.
man stretching
3 / 12

Work Out to Stay Sharp

Exercise, especially the kind that gets your heart rate up like walking or swimming, has mental pluses, too. Although experts aren't sure why, physical activity might increase the blood supply to the brain and improve links between brain cells. Staying active can help memory, imagination, and even your ability to plan tasks.
salmon and vegetables
4 / 12

A Healthy Diet Builds Brainpower

Do your brain a favor and choose foods that are good for your heart and waistline. Being obese in middle age makes you twice as likely to have dementia later on. High cholesterol and high blood pressure raise your chances, too. Try these easy tips:
  • Bake or grill foods instead of frying.
  • Cook with "good" fats like oils from nuts, seeds, and olives instead of cream, butter, and fats from meat.
  • Eat colorful fruits and veggies.
  • Eat fish.
men toasting with beer
5 / 12

Watch What You Drink

You know that too many drinks can affect your judgment, speech, movement, and memory. But did you know alcohol can have long-term effects? Too much drinking over a long period of time can shrink the frontal lobes of your brain. And that damage can last forever, even if you quit drinking. A healthy amount is considered one drink a day for women and two for men.
man playing video game
6 / 12

Video Games Train Your Brain

Grab that joystick. Several studies found that playing video games stimulates the parts of the brain that control movement, memory, planning, and fine motor skills. Some experts say gaming only makes you better at gaming. The verdict may still be out, but why let kids have all the fun?
woman in playing violin
7 / 12

Music Helps Your Brain

Thank your mom for making you practice the piano. Playing an instrument early in life pays off in clearer thinking when you're older. Musical experience boosts mental functions that have nothing to do with music, such as memory and ability to plan. It also helps with greater hand coordination. Plus, it's fun -- and it's never too late to start.
group of friends
8 / 12

Make Friends for Your Mind

Be a people person! Talking with others actually sharpens your brain, whether at work, at home, or out in your community. Studies show social activities improve your mind. So volunteer, sign up for a class, or call a friend!
woman doing yoga
9 / 12

Stay Calm

Too much stress can hurt your gray matter, which contains cells that store and process information. Here are some ways to chill:
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Find something that makes you laugh.
  • Listen to music.
  • Try yoga or meditation.
  • Find someone to talk to.
man sleeping
10 / 12

Sleep and the Brain

Get enough sleep before and after you learn something new. You need sleep on both ends. When you start out tired, it's hard to focus on things. And when you sleep afterward, your brain files away the new info so you can recall it later. A long night's rest is best for memory and your mood. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
woman writing in journal
11 / 12

Memory Helpers

Everybody spaces out now and then. As you get older, you may not remember things as easily as you used to. That's a normal part of aging. Some helpful hints:
  • Write things down.
  • Use the calendar and reminder functions in your phone, even for simple things (Call Dad!).
  • Focus on one task at a time.
  • Learn new things one step at a time.

adults talking at party
12 / 12

The Name Game

Have trouble recalling names? Always repeat a person's name while you're talking to them -- at least in your head, if not out loud. Or invent a funny image or rhyme that you link with their name. For example, think of Bob bobbing out in the ocean.

Surprising Ways Your House Hurts Your Health

fruit bowl in kitchen
1 / 15

What’s on the Kitchen Counter?

Set yourself up for snack success. Stock up on the good stuff: Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. If you get canned goods, go for fruits packed in their own juice (instead of syrup). Skip additives like salt or sugar. When in doubt, read labels. Or better yet, stick to whole foods that don’t need labels in the first place.
family eating dinner together
2 / 15

Is Your Kitchen Table Dusty?

Busy schedules and screens can butt in to dinnertime. That isn't good for your crew's health. Kids have better eating habits and teens are less likely to take part in risky behavior when mealtime is a family affair. Everyone benefits when you carve out time to sit at the table together.
three portions of food on plates
3 / 15

How Big Are Your Dishes?

Did you know your plate size can affect your waist size? It’s true -- studies show that when people use larger bowls and plates, they fill them up. That means they eat more than they need. Try this simple switch at mealtime: Put healthy foods on bigger plates and less healthy foods on smaller ones. You’ll satisfy your hunger with more nutrients and less junk.
containers of leftovers in refrigerator
4 / 15

Do You Do Leftovers Right?

Eating them is a great way to get the most meal for your buck, but be sure you store them safely. Refrigerate leftover food right away in an airtight container to keep bacteria from setting up shop. Reheat in microwave-safe or oven-safe glass or ceramic (not plastic). Get food hot all the way through. Check for cold spots, so germs scram before you swallow.
woman reading laptop in bed
5 / 15

Too Many Screens in Your Bedroom?

Like to surf the Net before sleep, or drift off to a flickering TV? That can rob you of high-quality sleep. Light from electronic gadgets turns on the wakeful parts of your brain. This can make it harder to nod off. And the shut-eye you do get is often less restful.
pet sleeping with owner
6 / 15

Do Your Pets Sleep With You?

Cuddling up with your cat or dozing with your dog at night can be a great comfort, but there are tradeoffs. Pets take up space in your bed, make noise, and move around. Even if they have their own beds on the floor, they can still disrupt your sleep. And if Fido is sick, snoozing together makes it easier for some germs to spread to you.
young woman waking up with backache
7 / 15

Is Your Mattress Just Right?

Do you wake up stiff and sore in the morning? Your mattress might be to blame. Not everyone needs a firm surface for sleep. Your body will tell you what’s best. Replace your mattress after about 8 years, and pick up new pillows if yours are shapeless or lumpy.
first aid kit contents
8 / 15

Can You Find Your First-Aid Kit?

When minor injuries or illnesses strike, it’s good to have the right treatment on hand. Pick up a pre-stocked first-aid kit from your local pharmacy and read up on everything inside. Talk to your doctor about other items you might add. Put your kit somewhere you can get to easily (but kids can’t). Restock anything you use and any expired items.
makeup set in open drawer
9 / 15

How Do You Store Your Makeup?

Whether you wear it every day or pull it out for special occasions, make sure it's germ-free. Store it in a cool, dry place, and always wash your hands before you apply. Try to avoid touching makeup in its container. Don't add water or saliva. And don't share with your friends.
cleaning bathroom shower
10 / 15

Is Your Bathroom Moldy?

When your space isn’t well-ventilated, mold can set up shop, fast. It causes all kinds of health problems, from nose and throat irritation to infection. Send steam from your shower outside with a fan or open window. Clean up with mold-fighting products, and never install carpet on your bathroom floor.
athletic shoes in store
11 / 15

Are Your Shoes Ready for a Workout?

Your body needs about 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week to stay healthy. But if you don’t have the right shoes, you can bring on new aches and pains. A sports specialty store can set you up with the right kicks for your activity level and style. Don’t believe the break-in myth. Shoes should be comfy from the moment you put them on.
young woman painting wall
12 / 15

Does Your Decor Help You Think?

Your wall color can help you get stuff done. Red, for example, can help you with detail-oriented tasks, like chopping vegetables and measuring ingredients. Choose blue for an area like a study or craft room to boost your creativity.
filling drinking glass with tap water
13 / 15

Is Your Water Clear and Tasty?

When the wrong stuff gets into your water, it can cause anything from a stomach bug to neurological disorders. The EPA guards public drinking water safety, but that's your job if you use well water. No matter where it comes from, be careful anytime your home’s water tastes or looks odd. This could be a sign of a problem. You can also use a water filtration system. Be sure you know what your filter can and can’t remove. Change it often.
curtains blowing in breeze
14 / 15

Is Your Air Fresh and Clean?

Air that carries health hazards can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. It can give you a headache or make you dizzy. It can also lead to long-term problems like cancer and respiratory and heart diseases. To lower the chances of indoor air pollution, make sure fresh air can get into your house. Open windows when you can. Be sure your house has proper ventilation. If you still have problems, consider an air-cleaning device.
baby playing on rug
15 / 15

Can You Write Your Name in the Dust?

It’s more than just dirt. Anything in the air can end up in dust, like chemicals used in your flooring, cleaning products, and furniture. Young kids who spend time on the floor are more likely to have health problems from dust. Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter. Wash your hands often, and clean with a damp cloth or wet mop.

Inspirational Quote – December 23, 2017

“People inspire you or they drain you. Pick them wisely.”

Who we spend our time with can influence our perceptions, attitude and abilities. We’ve all experienced those psychic “vampires” who will take and take and drain us of all our energy. Breaking free of them may not be easy, but it’s essential if we want to maintain our wholeness. Strive to surround yourself with inspiring positive people every day – you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!

Susyn Blair-Hunt

Winter Garden

When the seasons turn, snowfall whispers to you to stay warm and cozy - to go a little more inward. The cycle of seasons impact our own inner lives. So how does this cooler season express the balance between our own sense of stillness and busy-ness? How much of our lives do we spend filling our days with activity without purpose? Or ruminating on our own inner voices that tell us we aren't 'busy' or 'productive' enough? How do we find that natural harmony to know when to rest and be still... just like the life of greenery that is blanketed under the white snow. The natural balance of life and rest? Alanda Greene contemplates this sense of stillness and rejuvenation from her Canadian home.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Inspirational Quote – December 22, 2017

“Don’t look where you fell, but where you slipped.”

Exactly! A reminder to pay attention to what came before you “fell.” Looking back to what caused you to fall, not the actual fall itself because, by that time, it was too late to save yourself. Could you have done something, or taken steps to prevent it? Hindsight is a great thing isn’t it? We’ve all at one time or another thought, “If only?” “Why didn’t I?” “I wish I had/hadn’t………” Better to hone our foresight skills rather than feel regret with hindsight further down the line. Something to remember for the future don’t you think?

Living from a Place of Surrender

Michael Singer is a spiritual teacher, entrepreneur, and the bestselling author of the spiritual classic The Untethered Soul. In this conversation, Michael speaks about the core idea of his teachings: that it is only through complete surrender to the essence of the moment that we experience life's full potential. The discussion is rich, detailed, and pragmatic, including what this sense of surrender actually means when it comes to decision-making and day-to-day activities, as well as how to recognize when we are still clinging to resistance.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What's So Bad About Sitting?

It Hurts Your Heart

Scientists first noticed something was up in a study that compared two similar groups: transit drivers, who sit most of the day, and conductors or guards, who don’t. Though their diets and lifestyles were a lot alike, those that sat were about twice as likely to get heart disease as those that stood.

It Can Shorten Your Life

You’re more likely to die earlier from any cause if you sit for long stretches at a time. It doesn’t help if you exercise every day or not. Of course, that’s no excuse to skip the gym. If you do that, your time may be even shorter.

Dementia Is More Likely

If you sit too much, your brain could look just like that of someone with dementia. Sitting also raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, which all play a role in the condition. Moving throughout the day can help even more than exercise to lower your risk of all these health problems.

You’ll Undo All That Exercise

The effects of too much sitting are hard to counter with exercise. Even if you work out 7 hours a week -- far more than the suggested 2-3 hours -- you can’t reverse the effects of sitting 7 hours at a time. Don’t throw away all that hard work at the gym by hitting the couch for the rest of the day. Keep moving!

Your Odds of Diabetes Rise

Yup, you’re more likely to have it, too, if you sit all day. And it isn’t only because you burn fewer calories. It’s the actual sitting that seems to do it. It isn’t clear why, but doctors think sitting may change the way your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that helps it burn sugar and carbs for energy.

You Could Get DVT

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that forms in your leg, often because you sit still for too long. It can be serious if the clot breaks free and lodges in your lung. You might notice swelling and pain, but some people have no symptoms. That’s why it’s a good idea to break up long sitting sessions.

You’ll Gain Weight

Watch a lot of TV? Surf the web for hours on end? You’re more likely to be overweight or obese. If you exercise every day, that’s good, but it won’t make a huge dent in extra weight you gain as a result of too much screen time

Your Anxiety Might Spike

It could be that you’re often by yourself and engaged in a screen-based activity. If this disrupts your sleep, you can get even more anxious. Plus, too much alone time can make you withdraw from friends and loved ones, which is linked to social anxiety. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact cause.

It Wrecks Your Back

The seated position puts huge stress on your back muscles, neck, and spine. It’s even worse if you slouch. Look for an ergonomic chair -- that means it’ll be the right height and support your back in the proper spots. But remember: No matter how comfortable you get, your back still won’t like a long sitting session. Get up and move around for a minute or two every half hour to keep your spine in line.

It Leads to Varicose Veins

Sit for too long and blood can pool in your legs. This puts added pressure in your veins. They could swell, twist, or bulge -- what doctors call varicose veins. You may also see spider veins, bundles of broken blood vessels nearby. They usually aren’t serious, but they can ache. Your doctor can tell you about treatment options if you need them.

If You Don’t Move It, You Could Lose It

Older adults who aren’t active may be more likely to get osteoporosis (weakened bones) and could slowly become unable to perform basic tasks of everyday life, like taking a bath or using the toilet. While moderate exercise won’t prevent it, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon or take up farming to stay mobile in your golden years. Just don’t plant yourself on the couch for hours at a time.

Your Cancer Risk Goes Up

You may be more likely to get colon, endometrial, or lung cancer. The more you sit, the higher the odds. Older women have higher odds of breast cancer. That doesn’t change if you’re super-active. What matters is how much you sit.

How to Take a Stand

Work more movement into your day: Stand up and stretch every half hour or so. Touch your toes. Take a stroll around the office. Stand at your desk for part of the day. Get a desk that raises or make your own: Set your computer on top of a box. Talk to your boss about a treadmill desk. All these things can help stop the negative effects of uninterrupted sitting and keep you on the road to good health.