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What Are Some Tasty, Healthy Alternatives to Soda?

Healthy Alternatives to Curb Your Soda Cravings

We all know that drinking soda causes weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay, heart attacks and other health issues. There are, however, a number of healthy alternatives to reduce or eliminate sugar cravings. 

A splash of fruit juice mixed with seltzer water. Iced tea with lemon or Truvia. Iced coffee has caffeine in it and will curb your need for soda.

“Thorin Klosowski of Lifehacker.com presents a few healthy alternatives to ease your soda cravings.

Soda Alternatives for the Sweet Tooth

We’ve taken a close look at sugar’s effect on your mind and body before. In short, you want to stay away from consuming too much of it, but don’t cut it out completely. This is especially the case with soda because on top of a considerable amount of sugar, calories and high fructose corn syrup, it’s often packed with sodium as well. So what’s the best way to satisfy your sweet tooth without resorting to a can of Mountain Dew? Let’s look at a few options.

Iced Tea: The nice thing about a cold glass of unsweetened iced tea is that you can sweeten it to your liking with sugar, but skip the high fructose corn syrup. If your sweet tooth is truly tingling for a ton of sugar,a glass of sweet tea will scratch the itch without totalling trashing your teeth.

Fruit juice mixed with sparkling water or seltzer: Fruit juices like apple and orange have more calories per ounce than soda, but tossing a splash of 100% juice into some sparkling water keeps the calorie count low and still maintains a perky sweetness. It’s also carbonated, so it closely matches the consistency of soda.

Make your own soda: Food blog Gilt Taste has 11 tasty recipes for making your own soda if you have your own carbonation machine at home. If you don’t, you can make your own out of a few odd parts from around the house. This obviously requires a lot more work than grabbing a can out of the fridge, but the fact your recipes won’t be filled with excessive amounts of sugar means they’re a healthier treat.

Soda Alternatives for Caffeine Lovers

If it’s the caffeine that attracts you to soda, there’s some great alternatives as well. As with sugar, we’ve looked at how caffeine affects your brain and while it’s not particularly nasty for you, it’s best consumed in moderation.

Coffee: It might be the most obvious choice, but coffee usually has significantly more caffeine in it than a can of soda, so a single small cup will curb your craving for a caffeine boost. If you don’t want a warm cup of coffee, you can make your own cold brew at home easily. Just go easy on the sugar.

Black or Green Tea: Black and green tea typically have more caffeine than soda and both are great alternatives since they come packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Both can be served hot or cold to match your preference. If you’re looking to add a little sweetness but don’t want to use sugar, honey is a good alternative.”

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Sweet Study Drop: Chocolate May Be Good for an Aging Brain

The Benefits of Chocolate for an Aging Brain

Chocolate is good for an aging brain. Recent studies reveal that older people have good reason to enjoy chocolateA cup or two of hot chocolate each day helps to keep your brain sharp. Although these results have not been tested for younger adults, there is much to be hopeful about.

“Published in the journal Neurology, the study involved 60 participants, 18 of whom had impaired blood flow to working areas of the brain — a condition that experts believe may play a role in disease such as Alzheimer’s.

All participants were given two cups of hot cocoa a day — and no other chocolate — for 30 days; they were also given tests to measure their memory and thinking skills at the beginning and end of the study.

By the month’s end, an 8.3 percent improvement in blood flow to the brain was seen in those people who started out with impairment. Those same people also improved their times on memory tests, slashing their recall rates from 167 seconds to 116 seconds on average. Those who had regular blood flow to begin with, however, saw no improvement for either metric. 

Besides the potential health benefit of chocolate, the authors say, this study also demonstrates the connection between healthy blood vessels and thinking skills. “As different areas of the brain need more energy to complete their task, they also need greater blood flow,” says lead author Farzaneh A. Sorond, MD, of Harvard Medical School.

Alas, Sorond also says there’s no reason to suspect that sipping hot chocolate now, while our blood vessels are flowing just fine and our brains are still healthy, will prevent future damage or make us suddenly smarter. (For that, we’re better off drinking good ol H2O.) But hey, there are still plenty of other reasons to indulge in a daily dose of dark, decadent, antioxidant-rich chocolate, right?”

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Boost Your Brain and Memory by Singing

Sing Your Way To A Healthier Brain and Better Memory

People don’t realize how much singing can boost the memory. Exercising your brain is as simple as learning a new song and singing it. Hard to believe? Melanie Pinola of Lifehacker.com sheds light on the matter.

“Singing can help you solve problems more effectively because it exercises the right side of your brain:

“Ever notice how it’s easier to rhyme words when you sing them rather than speak them? It’s because you’ve tapped into the pattern recognition power of the right side of the brain. This will make you a more effective problem-solver.”

The second technique is to try to memorize the lyrics to a new song. Like memorizing other new things, this will boost the level of acetylcholine, which is associated with memory, in your brain.

Music has been shown to be a powerful memory retention tool and good for the brain overall and singing can boost your mood as well.”

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Fruit Consumption Can Prevent Diabetes but Juice Can Help Induce It

Diabetes Prevention: No to Drinking Juice and Yes to Fruit Consumption

According to recent scientific research, eating whole fruits help in warding off diabetes. On the other hand, it was found that drinking juice can actually increase the risk and likelihood of acquiring the disease.

“Here are a few notes to look into:

The Study

The study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health was aimed at studying the effects of eating whole fruits on people who have type 2 diabetes. While other studies haven’t reached conclusive results, this study showed that consuming some fruits might especially lower the risk of developing diabetes.

Statistics

In 2011 there were 25.8 million people in the U.S.A. affected by diabetes, the majority having type 2 diabetes. There are another 79 million people who have pre-diabetes and many of them don’t even know about it. Type 2 diabetes means that the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to break down sugar or the insulin is ignored by the cells. In the long run, diabetes can damage the heart, liver, eyes, and nerves.

The Process

187,000 people participated in the study from several countries to find out which fruits can be connected to diabetes. Health professionals and nurses had to fill out questionnaires regarding their nutrition and their health over the course of 25 years. 12,000 of these people have developed diabetes.

The Results

According to the results of the study, the people who had at least 2 servings of whole fruits per month had lower chances of being affected by type 2 diabetes than the people who had less than one serving. Eating enough fruit appeared to lower chances of diabetes by up to 23%.

Fruit Juice

It is surprising to know that the people who had fruit juice each day had 21% higher chances of develop the condition than the people who had whole fruits. Having a fruit instead of every 3 glasses of juice lowered the chances of diabetes by 7%.

Diabetes Prevention

This study proves the importance of whole fruits in preventing diabetes. However, it also shows that fruit juice cannot take the place of whole fruits. The specialists studied several fruits, including grapes, plums, peaches, prunes, cantaloupe, bananas, pears, apples, grapefruit, oranges, blueberries, and strawberries. The specialists say that juice may not be good for the body because of its high glycemic index. This means that the carbohydrates increase the blood sugar levels very fast.”

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Eat a Banana to Remedy Over-Caffeination

Over-Caffeinated? Eat a Banana!

Getting too much caffeine can happen to all of us. Coffee here and there, sodas every now and then… However, there is a simple remedy to solving over-caffeination ―eat a banana. As easy as it sounds, this has been proven to do the trick.

“Kevin Purdy of Lifehacker.com explains on how to deal with over-caffeination beyond the somewhat obvious answers (drink water, take a walk, have a full stomach), one answer popped up in three distinct answers: eat a banana.

A banana, just because it’s a somewhat substantial and relatively healthy snack, one that often is offered at coffee shops? No, a banana because, as they say on the web, science.

The Livestrong blog cites the banana’s similar effect on sleep disorders:

Eat a small snack that contains calcium and potassium, such as a glass of milk, a piece of cheese or a banana. According to the Sleep Disorders Guide, the drying effect of caffeine can throw off your balance of electrolytes, including calcium and potassium, which can lead to muscle cramps and other systemic symptoms.

The Daily Mail suggests it’s the carbohydrates and blood-sugar-balancing effect of a bananathat helps with caffeine-triggered headaches (while contradicting Livestrong’s cheese suggestion):

But sometimes a desire for chocolate or cheese may actually be a craving for sugar – which can be a sign of an impending headache, says Dr Andy Dowson, director of headache services at King’s College Hospital, London.

He suggests eating carbohydrates, such as a banana, which will stave off symptoms by keeping blood sugar levels even.

And a short Quora conversation on the banana/caffeine link hints at the power of potassium to better regulate muscular and cellular functions and electrolytes.

You have almost nothing to lose in trying it out, too, because a banana is almost always the healthiest option at the snack bar.”

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The information on Your Natural Youth is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or health care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.