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Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

Snacking Is The New Healthy Diet

When it comes to eating healthily, snacking has a bad reputation. It’s usually synonymous with unhealthy food, habitually eating between meals and gradually putting on weight.

But is snacking always an unhealthy habit? Could it actually help us lead a more healthy lifestyle?

Why Does Snacking Have Such a Bad Rep?

Snacking is a term used to describe eating between regular meals but it doesn’t automatically mean bad foods.

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Snacking is primarily motivated by hunger which is when our blood sugar levels are low. This causes the body to crave fatty or sugary foods that will help bridge the gap until our next meal and get the blood sugar levels up in the quickest time. Therefore, snacking has been associated with weight gain.

However, many studies have shown that if a person has a generally balanced, healthy diet, snacking has no effect on weight[1]. The idea that eating extra calories can only be detrimental to weight is another flawed premise. There are many ways that snacking can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

Why Snacking is Actually Good For You

So why should we look at snacking as a positive rather than a negative? Is it time to make snacking a habit in our diet?

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As long as you’re mindful of what kind of snacks you’re eating, snacking can be used as a way to lose weight and keep you feeling balanced throughout your day. Here’s how…

It Prevents Overeating

While snacking can be seen as adding extra calories, it makes sense that if you’ve kept yourself topped up through the day, you won’t overeat when you finally come to sit down for dinner. Hunger is the culprit here and, ironically, is the main cause for putting on weight. Feeling ravenous will make us eat up to 20% more than we need to eat so snacking to curb the hunger will keep you eating normal portions. Just make sure the snack is calorie controlled because you don’t want to fill up on processed foods only to not want to eat your healthy dinner.

Helps To Get More Nutrients

Smart snacking can be an advantage when it comes to getting all the goodness your body needs. It can be hard to get all the nutrients you need in three main meals especially if we have a busy day. This is where snacking can provide you with an extra healthy boost. Almost everything that isn’t processed can give us much-needed nutrients – nuts, seeds, cheese, fruit or vegetables. Low calorie snacks that fill you up can help your body power through the day more efficiently.

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Keeps Your Energy Levels Up

We’ve all had that feeling of weakness and loss of energy when we feel hungry. This ultimately doesn’t lead to a productive day and causes concentration levels to waiver and irritability to rise.

Snacking basically prevents this from happening and helps maintain a positive healthy mind as well as body. In other words, snacking can keep us happy and prevents dips associated with negative feelings.

Healthy Snacks Can Create Smart Food Choices

Not only does it prevent overeating but it helps us make better choices when it comes to meal times. If our blood sugar is maintained, we are less likely to reach for the pizza or burger and instead consider a healthier choice.

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Choosing or planning healthier snacks can also convince the brain that we want to carry on the healthy options well into the evening. So snacking on high protein, low fat foods such as protein shakes, plain yoghurts, raw vegetables, or nuts and seeds, can mean you don’t want to spoil your good work when it comes to lunch or dinner.

Snack Smart and Reap the Benefits

So, snacking is far from bad if you’re mindful of the types of snacks you choose. Maintaining your sugar levels and curbing your hunger will go towards eliminating unhealthy choices when it comes to your meals. Try not to over snack, just think of it as tiding you over and giving extra love to your body until your next meal. If you’re aiming to lose weight, snacking will help in your quest for weight loss if done in this smart and mindful way.

Remember to only snack if you’re genuinely hungry. Boredom snacking is very common, generally unnecessary and tends to happen just before a big meal. Try to avoid this and snack when you feel your body needs it not when your irrational mind is convincing you to. Avoid this and you can snack in a positive, healthy way.

Featured photo credit: Oluwaseun Duncan via pexels.com

Reference

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985

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Samantha Aloysius

Samantha is an everyday health expert with a background in International Public Health and Psychology.

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Last Updated on July 2, 2020

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

Simple Hacks on How to Relieve Neck Pain Fast (and Naturally)

There is very little in life as annoying or distracting as neck pain. Most people find that neck pain is temporary. What can you do if your neck pain seems chronic or if it comes and goes with no obvious source?

Whether you have simply slept on your neck wrong or you are working late, hunched over a keyboard half the night, neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck!

What most people are unaware of is that there are little known hacks that can help you find relief from neck pain fast and naturally. This means no pills or expensive exercise equipment to buy.

How can you get relief from neck pain?

There are several easy steps to follow to find the perfect hack for solving your neck pain fast and easy.

How Did I End Up With This Pain in the Neck?

Neck pain often has an I-was-looking-right-at-it source that we don’t recognize at first glance. Once you identify the source of the pain, you can take the best corrective measure, or several measures if need be!

Ask yourself these questions to find a possible source:

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  • Do you spend much of the day sitting (desk job, typing, etc.)?
  • How old are your mattress and pillow?
  • How much exercise do you work into an average day?
  • How do you manage stress?
  • Have you been injured or in an accident (no matter how small) lately?

Perhaps one last question to ask yourself might be, “Is my pain a regular occurrence, or is my neck pain something that has just cropped up?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start searching for answers.

Remedies for Neck Pain

Once you know the source, try tapping into one (or several) of these solutions to start healing your neck pain now.

1. Everyday Activities

One of the important factors with neck pain will be your everyday activities. Other than an injury or accident, one of the largest factors for neck pain includes working overtime in an office and the stress that work entails[1].

Due to the coronavirus, many people find themselves working from home, in kitchens, basements, using a barstool, and/or other equipment that was not designed for humans to spend hours on end, typing and looking at a computer screen.

If you find that your neck pain has occurred during the past few months due to a job change, or if you suddenly began working from home, your issue may be due to ergonomics. Invest in an adjustable office chair to help make your workspace more neck-friendly.

2. Age of Mattress and Pillow

The age of your mattress and pillow should also be considered. Pillows, on average, should be changed every 3 years, and a mattress every 7-10 years. No matter how good or comfortable you think these items are, the truth is that they are hurting your neck and back with a lack of support.

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A good mattress is well worth the investment, and pillows are always on sale, as well as wallet-friendly. If you haven’t tried them, a water-filled pillow can be comfortable for many people.

3. Exercise/Movement/Stretching

It’s that old exercise question that no one wants to hear. This time around, it has been difficult for many people to get in good exercise since they have been housebound due to the quarantine. There are plenty of ways to get in some good, old-fashioned exercise.

Stretching exercises are even more important than before since many people do not get enough movement while sitting at home. There are hundreds of at-home exercise, dance, and yoga videos that require little to no equipment, so even if you’re a beginner, give it a go.

4. Stress and Stress Management

Stress is a hidden danger that robs more people of health than even most doctors realize. While everyone has stress, not everyone recognizes it, nor do they have a means of managing it. Exercise is one of the best ways to release stress, with meditation and yoga being the best ways to manage and relieve stress. All of these will remove tightness in the muscles and relieve neck pain.

5. Accident or Injury

If you have been involved in an accident or injured yourself lately (falling down, or having something fall on you, for example) and your neck pain began after this incident, you should speak with your doctor about this as soon as possible.

6. On-Going Problem or Sudden Occurrence

Finally, if your neck pain is something that has occurred recently, it could simply be that you slept on it wrong or turned your neck too hard. That will make this a very temporary condition. You can try some easy stretches for pain relief .

An on-going problem, however, might respond better to some other alternative methods, including:

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  • Slowly moving and stretching your neck. Do not move too quickly or too far. Roll your head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, to the front and to the back.
  • Ice packs work well for some people, while heat works best for others.
  • Be aware of how you use your cell phone or tablet. If you keep your neck bent downward for too long to look at it, you can develop an annoying pain called text-neck or tech-neck. Take breaks and look up to stretch those neck muscles.
  • Long hours driving can also be hard on the neck. Look from side to side as far as you can, as well as up and down to prevent a stiff neck.

 

Still Have Tight Neck Muscles? 3 Tips for Finding Relief

When tight neck muscles are not responding to the typical heat, ice, or massage treatments, you might want to give the following a try:

1. Gua Sha

This is an ancient Chinese practice that might seem a bit odd, but it works for many people. In this practice, a trained individual uses a spoon or other object and makes short strokes down the neck. It is believed that poor blood circulation causes it to become stagnant, if you will, and blocks the positive energy needed for life, called qi.

Fresh blood will indeed allow oxygen and nutrients to feed the tissues in a given area, and one study found that gua sha worked where traditional methods, such as heat therapy, did not[2].

2. Swimming

You probably know that swimming is a terrific low-impact exercise that works wonders for those with back and knee pain, but did you know that it also works well for neck pain and tight muscles? It helps if the water is tepid and not cold, but even just floating on your back can offer tremendous relief since most of the body weight is suspended by the buoyancy of water.

3. Chiropractic Massage

Not your typical day spa massage, chiropractic massage is performed under the guidance of a chiropractor. A trained massage therapist will still do the massage, but this time, the chiropractor will have discussed your neck pain and any problems you might be having with them. Many people have found real relief from neck pain through chiropractic massage.

The Best Treatment for Neck Pain

When you need to find relief from neck pain and nothing you have tried previously seems to give you more than a few minutes of relief, spending some time with a chiropractor often times can fix this issue, and it doesn’t often return if you follow a healthy lifestyle.

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I’m certain that many of you are thinking about those awful videos with those loud cracking noises you’ve seen on social media, or you are recalling a news story which might have suggested that allowing a chiropractor anywhere near your neck might be a health hazard[3]. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You should try the other suggestions in this article before you head off to the chiropractor, but when all else fails, don’t let neck pain nag you day in and day out. Take steps to make an appointment, and you will be surprised at the results.

What Can a Chiropractor Do for Neck Pain?

Many people mistakenly believe that the only technique a chiropractor will use is a neck adjustment. Chiropractors are trained in a variety of methods that are designed to help you find the pain relief you are seeking.

A few of the methods a chiropractor might use include:

  • Cervical Manual Traction
  • Flexion-Distraction
  • Cervical Mobilization
  • Ultrasound
  • Cervical Drop Technique
  • Trigger Point Therapy

There are many more options, but your chiropractor should explain to you which techniques s/he intends to use and why[4]

The Bottom Line

If neck pain wreaks havoc in your life regularly, the best way to stop it is to identify the source and attack it from that angle.

Getting plenty of exercises, having a proper posture, and buying an office chair that provides plenty of support, as well as a regular stretching program, will keep your neck strong and flexible for many years to come.

More Tips on Healing Neck Pain

Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

Reference

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