Sometimes, you just can’t cut corners – and one of those times is when it comes to basic hygiene.

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That’s because ignoring certain basics can be downright dangerous. For example:

First: Sleeping in your contacts. It boosts your risk of developing infections by a whopping 1,000%. And can cause cornea scarring and permanent vision damage. In fact, one ophthalmologist from NYU Medical Center says 95% of the eye infections he treats come from someone sleeping in their contacts. So, take your contacts out and use new solution every time you clean and store them. If you don’t, it’s like taking a bath in yesterday’s dirty bath water.

Next: Not flossing. Experts say if you’re not flossing every day – it’s like taking a shower – but only washing your chest and back and forgetting your armpits and privates. You’re not getting 100% clean – and the spots you’re missing are where bacteria can hide. And over time, if you’re not flossing, that trapped bacteria will eat away at your tooth enamel.
The best time to floss is before bed, so food doesn’t have 8 hours to fester between your teeth.

And ladies, don’t go to bed without taking your mascara off. Sleeping in mascara can cause eye swelling. So, do your face and health a favor and wash up every night.

Do you have the hiccups?

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Type “cure for the hiccups” into Google and you’ll get 1.4 million results. And although the exact cause of hiccups is still a mystery, scientists know what goes on: A stimulus in the brain tells the diaphragm to suddenly contract. As a result, you take a sudden breath in, which forces the vocal cords to slam shut. That repeats until something happens to interrupt the reflex.

So is there anything that really works to get rid of hiccups? Here’s advice from Philip Hagen, a doctor of preventive medicine at the Mayo Clinic:

1. A glass of water, ice water or water with a teaspoon of sugar in it. Any of these stimulate the upper throat and interrupt the reflex response.

2. A teaspoon of sugar, dissolved slowly in the mouth. The sweet sensation creates a signal in the mouth that uses some of the same neural pathways involved in hiccups.

3. Breathe into a paper bag. This subtly increases carbon dioxide in the blood, which represses the reflex to hiccup.

A fourth way to relieve hiccups: Hold your breath. Again, it increases carbon-dioxide levels in the blood. Don’t take it to extremes or you’ll feel faint. Just hold your breath until it’s slightly uncomfortable, and repeat if it doesn’t work the first time.

Are you feeling sluggish today?

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It could be something you ate yesterday that kept you awake last night. Because, aside from stress, our diet is the number one cause of a restless night. So let’s run down the best and worst foods for sleep. We’ll start with the WORST.

It turns out, those high-protein diets we love for weight loss can sabotage our sleep. Dr. Michael Breus wrote The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan. And he says that high-protein, low carb diets provide a steady supply of energy, which is great in the daytime. But at night, it can suppress the hormones that help us relax. And our wide-awake digestive system can keep us from getting deep, restorative sleep.

Another enemy of sleep is Fatty, fried foods. The fattier your dinner is, the less sleep you’ll get. Dr. Breus says, eating foods high in fat can trigger heartburn or stomach issues when you lie down. 

So what are the BEST foods for sleep? Dr. Breus says try eating breakfast for dinner.

The healthy carbs in a bowl of whole-grain cereal, for example, will stimulate production of the sleep hormone melatonin.

And if you top your cereal with a banana, you’ll get a dose of magnesium, which is a natural muscle-relaxant.

Finally, wash down your “breakfast-food dinner” with some cherry juice. It contains so much melatonin that drinking 2 cups a day can add 40 minutes to the average amount of time you sleep each night.

Do your joints ache from arthritis?

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Researchers at the University of Florida recommend cutting certain plants out of your diet that are packed with solanine – an inflammatory chemical. They’re all from the nightshade family of plants, and include:
•Eggplants
•Potatoes
•Tomatoes or tomatillos.
Also, eliminate peppers – the sweet and the spicy ones. That also includes pimentos, which come from cherry peppers, and are found in processed meats and stuffed olives.
And steer clear of paprika and cayenne pepper.
The chemical in those vegetables is part of their natural defense system – like a naturally-occurring pesticide. So, try eliminating all of those foods for two weeks, and let me know if it helps.

What do you think is healthier? Smooth peanut butter or chunky?

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It’s actually a tie. The amount of salt, sugar and oil in peanut butter varies from band to brand. But smooth and crunchy versions from the same company are identical nutritionally. One is just ground up more than the other.

But the healthiest peanut butter option is one without added sugar or salt.

Your smartphone could get you sick!

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Even if your smartphone looks spotless, it could be plastered with bacteria that can cause everything from the flu to pinkeye to diarrhea. All those germs are just a finger swipe away because of the phone’s proximity to our hands, nose, and mouth.

That’s according to the Medical University of South Carolina.

Now, you may say – well, the same goes for anything we touch and hold. But here’s what makes the difference……We take our phones everywhere – from restaurants, to the bathroom, to setting them on the elliptical machine at the gym. And although we may wash our hands, we typically don’t wipe down our phones after each activity. And that greasy smear from the dinner table feeds those microbes even more.

So, how bad is it? When the researchers swabbed volunteers’ phones, every single one had sky high levels of coliform – that’s bacteria from waste matter! That means, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, people are just as likely to get sick from their phones as from bathroom door handles.

So what’s the best cleaning method? A soft, lint-free cloth with rubbing alcohol is best, removing nearly 100% of the bacteria.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, your smartphone may be to blame!

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Researchers found that people who never turn off their smartphones are the most likely to develop sleep disorders. Researchers say being “constantly connected” makes us feel stressed.

Plus, smartphones arouse our brain in a way that keeps us awake. They’re constantly looking for a signal, and that electromagnetic output stimulates our brain. In the study, people who didn’t turn off their phones had more agitated sleep, and they woke up more often. It also took them longer to reach the stage of deep sleep.

Some people are more affected than others, but if you have disrupted sleep, you may want to try turning your electronic gadgets completely off before going to bed…Or leaving them in another room.

The Mediterranean Diet isn’t the only game in town.

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You may want to try The Baltic Sea DietIt’s recommended by the British Journal of Nutrition. The Baltic Sea runs along the coast of Sweden and nutritionists found that people who ate traditional Scandinavian foods were 43% less likely to be overweight. The diet is filled with whole grains like oats and barleyberries, vegetables, low-fat milk and fish. The diet has a lot of fiber – particularly from the grains.

Stress is the emotion that drives us to overeat the most!

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Here are 3 tricks to combat the urge from the book “The Hunger Fix” by medical professor, Dr. Pamela Peeke:

1. Chew sugarless gum. It triggers the release of serotonin, one of our feel-good chemicals. Which soothes stress.

2. Don’t work against your stress and start a diet plan on a Monday. You’re stressed out enough as it is at the beginning of the workweek. Instead, start your diet on a day off – like Saturday.

3. Create a visual reminder of your goal. Maybe it’s a picture of an outfit you want to wear, or a vacation you want to go on. But having a visual reminder of your goal on your fridge, computer, or phone can be the stop sign you need to see before reaching for a snack.

Ladies, if the man in your life upsets you – speak up!

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Women who avoid conflict with their spouses by keeping their feelings bottled up are 4 times more likely to die from ANY cause than women who express their feelings. That’s because emotional strain wears you down mentally and physically.

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