TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Delicious Banana-Free Smoothie Recipes

From strawberry basil to fudgesicle

Bananas are ubiquitous in smoothie recipes, but don’t go bananas if you’re allergic to the tropical fruits, don’t like them, or just don’t have any on hand: You don’t have to miss out on good-for-you shakes. Just blend up one of these banana-free treats and sip away.

A few notes:

For all of these recipes, combine the ingredients in a blender—preferably high-speed, like the Vitamix ($382, amazon.com)—and blend until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, add water a bit at a time until it’s the consistency you like.

We gave suggested serving sizes, but remember that smoothie calories add up. Have a larger serving if the smoothie is a meal. If it’s a snack, pour it into a smaller cup and sip slowly.

Don’t leave out the pinch of salt. Your smoothie won’t be salty, but it will have a brighter flavor.

If you’re going to use almond milk, beware of packaged brands with fillers and sweeteners. One way to avoid all that is to make your own; it’s super-easy to DIY.

  • Strawberry Basil Smoothie

    strawberry-basil
    Beth Lipton

    Serves: 1

    1 cup milk (dairy, almond, rice, coconut) or plain yogurt

    1 cup frozen strawberries

    1/2 cup frozen spinach

    ¼ cup fresh basil leaves

    2 Tbsp. hemp seeds or almond butter

    1 Tbsp. honey

    ½ tsp. vanilla extract

    Pinch of salt

     

  • Peachy-Green Smoothie

    peachy-green
    Beth Lipton

    Serves: 1

    1 cup milk (dairy, almond, rice, coconut) or plain yogurt

    1 1/2 cups frozen peach slices

    1/2 cup frozen spinach

    2 Tbsp. flax-chia or flax-hemp blend (such as Carrington Farms, $6.50 for 12 oz., amazon.com)

    1 tsp. greens powder, optional (I like Sunfood Sun Is Shining, $40 for 8 oz., amazon.com)

    1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey

    ¼ tsp. ground ginger, optional

    Pinch of salt

     

  • Mighty Mango-Coconut Smoothie

    mango-coconut
    Beth Lipton

    Serves: 1

    1 1/4 cups frozen mango chunks

    1/2 cup frozen spinach

    1 cup full-fat coconut milk

    2 Tbsp. hemp or chia seeds, or flax-chia or flax-hemp blend

    1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey

    Pinch of salt

  • Fudgesicle Smoothie

    fudgesicle
    Beth Lipton

    Serves: 2

    1 cup milk (preferably coconut, but dairy or almond will work. Rice is too thin)

    1/3 cup raw cacao powder (such as JoyFuel, $18 for 1 lb., amazon.com)

    ½ cup frozen spinach

    ½ avocado, peeled and pitted

    3 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey

    pinch of salt

    1 cup ice cubes

  • AB&J Smoothie

    abj
    Beth Lipton

    Serves: 2

    1 cup milk (dairy, almond, rice, coconut) or plain yogurt

    1/2 cup frozen spinach

    1 cup frozen mixed berries

    ¼ cup almond butter

    ¼ cup oats

    1 Tbsp. honey or maple syrup

    Pinch of salt

    This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

6 Moves That Burn More Fat in Less Time

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Here's everything you need to know about plyometrics

 

There’s an in-vogue specialized training method that many people are using to get crazy results, and it is one of the fastest methods to get fit in a short amount of time: plyometrics.

Plyometrics are explosive movements that combine power, speed, and strength by working several body parts at once. Since they recruit more muscles than your average exercise—compare a bicep curl, which isolates only that one muscle, with a move that activates your arms, legs, and core simultaneously, like many of the ones below—you burn more calories not only during your workout, but up to eight hours after you’ve finished.

While plyometrics are well-known in the world of sports as a way to help athletes improve their game, they’re starting to take the rest of the fitness world by storm, and for good reason: In addition to toning and sculpting your legs, booty, arms, and abs, plyometrics help to build strength, increase balance and coordination, and improve cardiovascular health.

Before you jump off the couch and head to the gym, make sure you’re ready to handle plyometrics; since the difficulty level is somewhat advanced, being able to perform a proper basic squat and lunge first is important. Once you’ve mastered those moves, you’re ready to move on. Here are 6 plyometrics that will burn fat in no time:

Squat Jumps

Start by getting into the bottom of a squat position. Your legs should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out. Your chest should be out, shoulders back, and core engaged. From here, explode straight up in the air, allowing your feet to leave the ground. Make sure to land softly on your toes when you come down. Doing this will protect your knees and hips. Complete 10-15 squat jumps.

Lunge Hops

Start in a lunge position with your right foot in front and left foot behind you with your left knee about an inch from the floor. From here, explode straight up out of the lunge, switching your legs mid-air and landing softly on your toes. You will now have your left leg in front and right leg behind you. Repeat this until you’ve completed 10 total lunge hops.

Skaters

Start at the bottom of a squat position. Jump to the left, landing on your left leg, while bringing your right leg behind your left ankle. From here, jump to the right side with your right leg, bringing your left leg behind your right ankle. This completes one rep. Complete a total of 30 skaters.

Toe Taps

Find a stable medicine ball, step, or bench. This will be your base for the toe touches. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Bring your right toe to the edge of your base. From here jump and switch your feet so that your left toe is at the edge of the base and your right foot is now back on the floor. Repeat this for a total of 30 toe taps.

Medicine Ball Squat Thrusts

Grab a medicine ball and stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold the ball at belly-button height and slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower. (Do not let your knees extend past the tip of your toes.) From here, explode upwards and toss the medicine ball straight in the air. Keep your eye on it so you can catch it and drop right back into the squat position. Do 12-15 medicine ball squat thrusts.

Medicine Ball Burpees

Grab a medicine ball and stand with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Squat down to the floor and place the medicine ball between your feet while keeping your hands on the ball. From here, jump back into a pushup position, making sure your hands are placed securely on the ball. Jump your feet forward until you are at the bottom of a squat again, then stand up straight. Try to do 10-12 medicine ball burpees.

Liked these moves? Check out A 5-Move Workout To Get Your Butt In Shape

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

14 Most Dangerous Summer Foods

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Avoid leaving food out for more than four hours

Who doesn’t love picnics and barbecues? Thing is, if you don’t practice safe food preparation, outdoor eating can also set the stage for foodborne illness. Every year approximately 1 in 6 Americans gets sick, and 128,000 are hospitalized from foodborne diseases, according to the CDC. Among 31 known pathogens, most deaths occur from Salmonella, Toxoplasma, Listeria, and norovirus. “The rule of thumb is that no food should be left out for four total hours,” says Amy Goodson, RD, a dietitian at Ben Hogan Sports Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. “This refers to not just four hours at a time, but four accumulated hours.” The following foods are most likely to ruin your good time.

Burgers

Undercooked meat puts you at risk for potentially life-threatening illness from a subtype of E. coli bacteria called O157:H7. An outbreak in 2014 linked to ground beef contaminated with this type of E. coli sickened 12 people from four different states. “Your risk largely depends on the number of cows making up your ground beef,” says Michael Schmidt, PhD, professor at the department of microbiology and immunology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). “The greater the number of cows the greater chance of having something that was not intended to be in the meat.” Ground beef is riskier than specific cuts of meat that come from a single cow. Regardless, cook burgers or any beef to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees to kill E. coli.

Sprouts

Topping your burger with a handful of raw sprouts could set the stage for food poisoning. Seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to grow, which also happen to be ideal conditions for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. Even homegrown sprouts grown under sanitary conditions can produce harmful bacteria because seeds have been known to be contaminated. “If you are putting sprouts in a salad or on a sandwich/burger, consider sautéing them first,” says Goodson. “Sprouts can easily harbor bacteria and when that is mixed with moisture, food poisoning risk multiplies.”

Caesar dressing

Eating a Caesar salad can make you sick if the dressing is made the traditional way—with raw eggs. (Store-bought bottled dressing is pasteurized; it’s homemade dressing you need to watch out for.) “Pay close attention to anything that could be made with raw or undercooked eggs, especially if they are not pasteurized,” says Lori Zanini, RD, a Los Angeles-based dietitian. The Food and Drug Administration recommends cooking eggs thoroughly and washing all equipment that comes in contact with eggs and your hands with hot soapy water.

Leafy green salads

Once you know the dressing’s safe, you also want to consider the lettuce itself—and the hygiene habits of the person who prepared it. A CDC report revealed that salad greens—such as lettuce, escarole, endive, spinach, cabbage, kale, arugula, and chard—caused 262 outbreaks involving 8,836 reported cases of foodborne illness between 1998 and 2008. There are a few ways greens can be contaminated: at the farm by manure or dirty water rinses; when a sick person preps a salad without washing their hands; and by cross-contamination at home (for example, by using the same cutting board for raw meat and salad prep, which spreads bacteria from meat to produce.) Wash greens before eating by placing them in a large colander and tossing them under your faucet, or by using a salad spinner.

Oysters

If a summertime trip to the shore always includes a stop at a raw oyster bar, consume with caution: Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Vibrio vulnificus can both can be contracted by eating raw shellfish, especially oysters. In fact, the CDC reported a 52% increase in Vibrio poisonings between 2011 and 2013. Both of these bacteria cause diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain in healthy people. For people with liver disease, diabetes, cancer, stomach disorders, or any other condition that affects the immune system, Vibrio vulnificus is extremely dangerous: it can invade the bloodstream, causing a life-threatening illness. Half of all Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal.

Homemade ice cream

It sounds like a luscious treat, but homemade ice cream prepared with raw eggs could contain Salmonella, says Leigh Tracy, RD, dietitian at the Center for Endocrinology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. “The FDA recommends using a custard base or pasteurized eggs.” Cooking and pasteurization kills Salmonella. Store-bought ice cream can contain harmful bacteria as well, but it’s much more rare. In 2015, both Blue Bell Creameries of Texas and Jeni’s Ice Cream of Ohio produced ice cream contaminated with Listeria. The Blue Bell ice cream was linked to 10 illnesses, including three deaths. All that said, you generally shouldn’t worry about the safety of store-bought ice cream;Listeria is rarely found in the sweet stuff because it can’t grow at cold temperatures.

Melons

Cantaloupes have been linked to Listeria outbreaks, and watermelon can also cause problems. Listeria traced back to a North Carolina farm and another outbreak in Colorado sickened more than 140 people and resulted in 30 deaths. Unlike other germs, Listeria can grow in refrigerator-level temperatures. It has no smell or taste and only heat can kill it. But if heated food cools, the Listeria may grow again, according to the FDA. Since the germs live on the outside peel, rinse all melons under running water and scrub with a produce brush before eating or cutting the fruit, even if you peel it first. Cutting into the rind can spread bacteria from the outside of the fruit to the inside.

Chicken

Chicken is commonly contaminated with Salmonella and needs to be thoroughly cooked to kill the germs. A 2014 Consumer Reports analysis found that 97% of all chicken breasts, including organic, were contaminated with harmful bacteria. Use a food thermometer when cooking meats and chicken to ensure you’ve heated them to a safe temperature. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees and held at between 140 and 145 degrees, says Goodson. “Plus, be careful of storage practices before it’s grilled,” she says. “For example, don’t put raw chicken or beef, even if wrapped in foil, above the salad or fruit bowl when you are transporting it to the BBQ or party, as fluids can drip and cross-contaminate other foods without you knowing.”

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are super healthy, and can be tossed into salads or sliced as a burger topping. But because they aren’t cooked (which generally kills bacteria) they have been linked to foodborne illness outbreaks. Cases of Salmonella poisoning in 2006 were traced to a packinghouse in Ohio. Overall, 190 people were sickened across 21 states before the source of the outbreak was discovered. Salmonella is found in the feces of animals or in some habitats including ponds as drainage ditches. “It is important to wash your tomatoes thoroughly under running water,” says Tracy. “Additionally, discard any bruised or spoiled tomatoes.”

Deviled Eggs

The risk of Salmonella is highest in deviled eggs when they’re not held at the right temperature (at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), says Goodson. Salmonella can live on both the inside and outside of eggs and the egg can still appear perfectly normal, according to the CDC. Deviled eggs are cooked, of course, which should kill any germs in the eggs. But because you combine a bunch of eggs together for the filling, and then it sits for hours at room temperature, bacteria can grow to dangerous levels if an egg is undercooked or contaminated after cooking. Buy eggs only from stores or other suppliers that keep them refrigerated at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and serve deviled eggs on ice at all times.

Macaroni salad

Staphylococcal aureus is type of bacteria found primarily on skin and hair, and can cause food poisoning when a person prepping a dish contaminates it and then fails to refrigerate it properly. It’s most common in foods that require handling, but no cooking—like macaroni salad. Some strains of Staphylococcal aureus are capable of producing a highly heat-stable protein toxin, and unlike some germs that can take up to two weeks to cause symptoms, S. aureus can make you sick within 6 hours and sometimes as little as 30 minutes. Any food that should be held either hot to cold, left in the danger zone (40 to 140 degrees F), puts you at risk for foodborne illness.

Leftovers

Leftovers should be handled properly as well. Once everyone has eaten, put the food in its appropriate hot or cold environment, says Goodson. “Food left out becomes a problem because it enters the temperature danger zone, between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.” Count how many hours the food has been left out overall. If it’s close to or over four hours, trash it, says Goodson. “Do this especially if the food was left out a good part of the day, and at the hottest part of the day, just get rid of it,” Goodson says. “Don’t take the risk of getting sick.”

Charred meats

Though most summer food hazards come from food poisoning germs, here’s one danger you may not have thought of: Grilling meats has been shown to form cancer-causing substances, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). Studies have also demonstrated that one of the possible cancer-causing substances could be reduced when the meat, poultry, or fish has been marinated for at least 30 minutes with a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice, or wine with herbs and spices. “Cooking the meat over a low flame as well as trimming off the fat and flipping it frequently can help reduce the formation of the cancer-causing substances,” says Tracy.

Potato salad

When you see potato salad on a picnic table, you can probably assume that it’s safe to eat, but there’s one instance in which it can become dangerous: when the potatoes are baked ahead of time and then stored in foil. Spores of Clostridium botulinum—the group of bacteria that causes botulism—can survive the potato-baking process. Leaving the cooked potatoes wrapped in foil at room temperature produces perfect conditions for those spores to germinate and grow, and release their deadly toxin. In 1994, an El Paso, Texas Greek restaurant kept baked potatoes at room temperature for several days before using them in a dip; 30 people contracted botulism. Botulism is exceedingly rare, but even still, you’re best off prepping potatoes the same day you plan on making them into a salad.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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Read next: The Best Way to Treat Food Poisoning

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

10 Delicious and Healthy Ways to Use Chia Seeds

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The tiny little seeds pack in tons of good nutrition

Just because something’s little doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. Case in point: Chia seeds. These little superstars are tiny, but they’re loaded with essential nutrients like omega-3s, calcium, potassium and magnesium. If that isn’t enough, they’re great for keeping hunger at bay; between all the fiber they contain (5 grams per tablespoon) and their liquid-binding power, chia seeds can be a powerful force against the munchies. Here are 10 great ways to incorporate them into your day.

Make them into pudding

Chia seeds can absorb many times their own weight in liquid, so when you soak them in water or milk overnight, you get a dish that’s a lot like tapioca pudding in texture. Add some spices and a little bit of sweetener (like honey or pure maple syrup) and you get a healthy breakfast or snack that tastes like a treat. We love this recipe for clementine chia pudding; the creamsicle-like dish boasts 4 grams each of filling fiber and fortifying protein, all for less than 150 calories. Top it with a tablespoon or two of toasted pistachios or sliced almonds for a bit of crunch.

Use them as a topping

Add some crunch to yogurt or oatmeal by sprinkling on chia seeds. Note: Once they sit in liquid for a while, they form little gelatinous balls. If you don’t like that texture, sprinkle them on just before eating. Just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds gives you 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein, as well as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and omega-3s, and has just 60 calories. The black and white seeds are equally good for you, so pick up whichever one you prefer (or whichever one your supermarket or health food store carries).

Mix them into muffins (and more)

If you’re making pancakes, waffles, muffins, or homemade granola, toss in some nutritious chia seeds. They have a neutral flavor, so they work in almost anything. Toss a handful into these hearty flapjacks, or swap them for the poppy seeds in the streusel in these tasty muffins. You could also use chia seeds in place of some of the flax seeds in homemade granola bars. Wherever you put them, they bring a happy bit of crunch.

Add them to your kid’s snacks

Admit it: If you have kids, you dip into their little squeeze packs of fruit (we do it, too). Now get your own, with the added goodness of chia. In flavors like wild raspberry, pomegranate mint and green magic, they’re good for grownups on the go ($13.30 for 8, amazon.com). (Your kids might want to try them, too.) These are best for fans of bubble tea, tapioca, or gelatin; if you don’t care for that texture, these aren’t for you.

Bake them in to bread

We love this bread recipe, which combines chia with sunflower, caraway, sesame, and poppy seeds. Not only do you get the crunch (and nutrition) from all those seeds, you also get a delicious loaf perfect for morning toast or lunchtime sandwiches—and it’s gluten free. Try it slathered with your favorite nut butter (or regular butter) and low-sugar jam, with smashed avocado on top, or as an open-face melt with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut piled on.

Snack on ’em

Chia-packed Health Warrior energy bars ($25 for 15, amazon.com) are a tasty, energizing snack. Flavors include coconut, chocolate peanut butter, acai berry and coffee, so there’s something for everyone. Plus, they’re sturdy, so they won’t get smashed in your purse or gym bag. Have one before or after a workout, with your midmorning coffee, or to stave off the 4 p.m. munchies. With just 100 calories (but 4g fiber), they’re satisfying without weighing you down.

Turn them into a spread

Make your own jam the easy way with chia. The seeds’ binding power means you won’t need pectin—just a bit of sweetener (how much depends on the fruit). For blueberry jam, for example, add a few tablespoons of maple syrup or honey and 1/4 cup chia seeds to a few cups of berries and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until it thickens. The result is so delicious and healthy. Use any fruit you like, or a combination; we love berries mixed with peeled and seeded stone fruits, like peaches or plums.

Bread fish, meat, or veggies

Add some chia seeds to your favorite breading for chicken, fish or vegetables to boost the crunch factor as well as the nutrients. Blog Savoring the Thyme offers this recipe for chia-cornmeal-crusted tilapia, while Dole adds them to a delicious Italian-flavored chicken recipe. For something a little different, click on over to Nutrition Stripped, where you’ll find a trendy cauliflower pizza ‘crust’ fortified with chia seeds.

Work them into your beauty routine

We love superfoods that also work as beauty products (we’re looking at you, coconut oil!). Chia is so good for you inside, it just makes sense that it works on the outside, too. In this scrub by Andalou Naturals ($13, amazon.com), chia seeds work as an exfoliant and buffing agent, leaving you with smoother, brighter skin. If you’re more of a DIY person, make your own chia scrub with this recipe by Spa Index.

Fuel up

If you like to run or bike, no doubt you’re familiar with energy gels designed to keep you going during prolonged exercise. Some of those products are healthy enough, but others are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients, and may upset your stomach. Chia seeds—with their power to turn liquids into gels—to the rescue. We like this recipe by running blogger I Run On Nutrition, which combines chia seeds with tart cherry juice, orange juice, salt and honey for an all-natural boost.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Non-Diet Ways to Trick Yourself into Losing Weight

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It's all about vegetable artistry

Convenient. Attractive. Normal. These three words (which are the basis for the even easier to remember acronym C.A.N.) may be the key to eating healthier without really trying, according to a recent paper from Cornell University. The review of 112 studies concluded that eaters make good choices when healthy foods are visible and within reach; they’re displayed enticingly; and they’re set up as the most obvious choices compared to other food options. It just makes sense: When you place gorgeous pieces of fresh fruit in a pretty bowl on your counter, you’re more likely to take one than if they’re hidden away—especially if the chips or cookies are even easier to grab. Bottom line, make it handy to eat healthfully and you’ll follow through, no “diet” or willpower required.

In addition to remembering C.A.N., there are plenty of other research-backed strategies for not dieting, and still shedding pounds. Here, four more easy tactics you can adopt.

Plate your veggies artistically

In a University of Oxford study, subjects in one group received salads arranged to resemble an artistic painting; a second group was provided with salads featuring vegetables lined up in neat rows, and salads in a third group were served in a typical piled-up fashion. While all the salads contained identical ingredients, dressing, and condiments, the artistic salad was rated the best by subjects, by a nearly 20 percent margin. In fact, people reported that they’d be willing to pay twice as much for the painting-like versions. The takeaway: We eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs, so if you’re trying to reach for healthy foods more often, put some effort into how you present them. (I think this study demonstrates one reason why Mason jar salads—and the myriad of photos of them on social media—have become so popular.)

Nosh before you shop

You’ve heard this one before, but it’s worth repeating: A 2013 study, also from Cornell University, found that skipping meals before heading to the supermarket is a surefire way to sabotage healthy shopping. Volunteers were asked to fast for five hours, then either given nothing to eat or crackers, and asked to make purchases at a simulated food market. The fasting group bought 18.6% more food—including a whopping 44.8% more calorie-packed items, like chips and ice cream—than the cracker eating crowd. In a follow-up study, researchers observed shoppers at an actual supermarket just after lunch and in the late afternoon. Compared to post-lunch shoppers, those who strolled the aisles in the late afternoon—when they were way more likely to be hungry—bought over a quarter fewer low-calorie foods like vegetables. To prevent hunger from keeping healthy food items out of your grocery cart, eat something to take the edge off pre-shopping. Stash a golf-ball sized portion of nuts or seeds in your bag, and try to finish them before you walk through the entrance of the supermarket.

Spend a little time in the morning sun

The timing, intensity, and length of your exposure to light during the day may significantly affect your weight. In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at Northwestern University found that compared to people who got most of their light exposure later in the day, those who enjoyed even moderately bright light in the morning had significantly lower BMIs. In fact, the later the hour of light exposure, the higher a person’s BMI, and vice versa. The numbers held true independent of an individual’s exercise regime, calorie intake, sleep timing, and age. The powerful effect, researchers say, is due to how light influences our body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate metabolism and weight regulation. To keep those rhythms in sync and your weight in check, researchers advise getting 20 to 30 minutes of bright light exposure between 8:00 a.m. and noon. And no, you don’t have to be outdoors—a room brightened by natural sun (versus a room with no windows and only artificial light) will do.

Don’t dine while distracted

Bringing your lunch to work is a smart way to control your calories. But if you surf the Web while you eat, you may consume more than you would’ve if you’d focused on your meal, both during eating and later in the day. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who played a computer game while lunching felt less full, snacked more, and had more trouble recalling what they had eaten than those who’d eaten without distractions. So while it may feel weird to sit at your desk without checking email or doing anything but eating, that’s the best lunchtime strategy for your waistline. Bonus: You’ll actually enjoy your lunch.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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TIME Health Care

3 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Contact Lenses

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Wear glasses when you can

If you’re a regular wearer of contact lenses, you’ve probably been warned about the health hazards of leaving them in too long and washing them improperly (or infrequently). But a recent study from NYU Langone Medical Center’s a gross reminder about why it really is a bad idea to use unwashed fingers to pop them out or sleep in them (as tempting as that may be when you’re sooo tired): It found people who wear contacts have different types of bacteria in their eyes than non-users—including one kind often connected with eye ulcers. (Ouch.)

For this small study, researchers swabbed the eyes of 20 subjects—9 contacts-wearers and 11 non-users—to examine the types of bacteria there. Those who wear contacts had a higher number of four species: Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium, and Pseudomonas, the last of which is commonly linked to corneal ulcers.

“There has been an increase in the prevalence of corneal ulcers following the introduction of soft contact lenses in the 1970s,” study co-author Jack Dodick, MD, and professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone noted in a press release. “Because the offending organisms seem to emanate from the skin, greater attention should be directed to eyelid and hand hygiene.”

So what can you do to keep your eyes infection-free? We asked Steven Shanbom, MD, an ophthalmologist in Berkeley, Michigan, for a quick primer:

Clean your hands, then the lenses

Be sure to wash your hands with soap before you handle your contacts. Then rid the lenses of harmful dirt and bacteria by putting them in the (now spotless) palm of your hand, followed by some cleaning solution, then gently rubbing the solution into the lens. (Note: Even if your solution bottle says “No Rub” on it, you’ll get much more sanitary lens if you do.)

Consider different contacts

Dr. Shanbom sees daily disposable soft lenses as a good way to avoid these issues. “There’s only so much gunk and bacteria that can get into the eye when you’re using a new set of contacts every day,” he says. And if you’re less than diligent about cleaning your contacts, what could be easier than never having to do it ever again?

Give ’em a rest

The best way to avoid a bout of pink eye or something more severe, however, is wear glasses when you can to limit your eye’s exposure to lenses. Dr. Shanbom advises wearing your contacts only during the work day, and sticking to glasses at home and on the weekends, limiting your lenses to 12-14 hours a day at the most. (And never swim with your contacts in, since pool water’s teeming with infectious bacteria just waiting to glom onto them. Ew.) The upside: With the recent resurgence of glasses as a cool accessory, you’ll be right on trend.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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TIME Healthcare

5 Sleep Problems Nobody Talks About

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From teeth grinding to jittery legs

You drift off at night like a newborn baby, yet can’t recall the last time you woke up truly refreshed. It may not seem that weird: “People tend to assume that because our modern lives are so hectic, nobody feels rested,” says Meir Kryger, MD, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine. But the reality is, you might have a sleep disorder and not even know it. There are a handful of problems that can cheat you out of quality slumber, leaving you more tired in the morning than you were when you went to bed. Find out what could be going on between your sheets and how to catch more restorative z’s, starting tonight.

Sleep Problem No. 1: You snore like a saw

Those snuffle-snorts mean that your slack tongue and throat muscles are narrowing your airway, possibly due to the shape of your soft palate or any extra weight you’re carrying.

Although you’re likely to wake up if you get short of breath, it may not be for long enough to remember. Some people wake dozens or even hundreds of times a night—a disorder known as sleep apnea that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and possibly osteoporosis, according to a new study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. “Those repeated awakenings are as disruptive as someone pinching you every two minutes all night long,” says Safwan Badr, MD, chief of the division of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

Sleep aid: If you rarely wake up feeling bright-eyed, see a specialist to get checked for sleep apnea.(Three to 9 percent of women between the ages of 30 and 70 suffer from it.) If you have the condition, a CPAP machine and mask can help by keeping your pharynx open with a steady stream of air.

To quiet your snore, avoid rolling onto your back—a position that makes your airway more likely to collapse. Rachel Salas, MD, associate professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, suggests this little trick: Sew a tennis ball into the pocket of a sweatshirt and wear it backward to bed.

Sleep Problem No. 2: You grind your teeth

Do you wake up with a sore jaw or get chronic headaches? If so, you may be gnashing your ivories overnight. All that clenching can cause enough pain to interfere with your shut-eye (not to mention wear down your enamel). Experts believe that teeth grinding, which about 16 percent of us do, is associated with anxiety—though an abnormal bite and antidepressants can also play a role.

Sleep aid: A dentist will fit you with a mouth guard. If you’re clamping down because you’re overwhelmed and overloaded, find a healthier way to manage stress, urges Michael A. Grandner, PhD, an instructor in psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s also crucial to spend plenty of time winding down before bed so you drift off in a calm, relaxed state,” he adds.

Sleep Problem No. 3: Your body clock is off

Not even drowsy until the wee hours? Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is the technical term for this disorder, which afflicts 10 percent of people who seek help for insomnia. It involves a biological glitch that prevents your body from making melatonin (the sleep hormone) until 12 a.m. or later. A prime sign you’ve got DSPS: You’ve been a night owl since high school. The syndrome is common among teenagers and sometimes persists into adulthood. If you’re not squeezing in at least seven hours of z’s a night, you’re at greater risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. What’s more, a recent study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research found that people who nod off late (and get less sleep as a result) tend to experience more negative thoughts.

Sleep aid: Begin by improving your sleep hygiene. Cut back on caffeine. Avoid tech and television starting 90 minutes before bedtime. Create a soothing wind-down routine. And get some sun first thing in the morning to help reset your body’s 24-hour rhythm. “In 80 percent of cases, these strategies lead people to conk out earlier,” Dr. Badr says. If they don’t do the trick, a specialist may prescribe synthetic melatonin, as well as light therapy with a medical lamp to use in the morning.

Sleep Problem No. 4: Your legs feel jittery at night

That creepy-crawly feeling—aptly called Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)—troubles as many as 1 in 10 people and is thought to be linked to a dysfunction in the way the brain processes the neurotransmitter dopamine. However, in some cases it suggests a nutritional deficiency, Dr. Kryger notes: “With people who have low iron, there seems to be overactivity in parts of the brain that results in an urge to move the legs.”

Sleep aid: Ice packs, warm packs, massages, a bath—any of these remedies might help, says David N. Neubauer, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: “Different things seem to work for different people.”

Also, talk to a sleep doc about trying an RLS drug. Be sure to mention your current prescriptions because some meds (including certain antidepressants) reduce dopamine activity. Get your iron levels checked, too, Dr. Gardner advises: “Sometimes a supplement is the only treatment necessary.”

Sleep Problem No. 5: You sleepwalk—and even sleep eat

For reasons that aren’t completely understood, somnambulists are partially aroused in the night—often from the deepest stage of slumber (called slow-wave)—and proceed to wander around the house. The behavior, which may affect up to 4 percent of the population, appears to run in families and is more likely to occur with sleep deprivation. Another trigger: taking zolpidem (one of the most popular sedatives), according to Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, author of Sleep Soundly Every Night; Feel Fantastic Every Day.

Additionally, 1 to 3 percent of people who experience such a zombie-like state actually raid the kitchen. Called sleep-related eating disorder, this condition often strikes women on a diet, who go to bed hungry.

Sleep aid: Benzodiazepines (aka tranquilizers) can sometimes help, and so does getting more sleep. As long as your nocturnal adventures don’t involve anything risky (like, for example, baking cookies), you may not need medication, Rosenberg says: “Just make sure you safety-proof your home by clearing out clutter and stowing away sharp objects.” If you’re a nighttime roamer, let your partner know that the ideal approach is to gently lead you back to bed.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

6 Summer Activities That Will Work Out Your Abs

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Beach volleyball will tone your abs fast

Crunches, planks and bicycles are all effective at working your core. But so do some way-more-fun summer activities (think hula-hooping and stand-up paddle boarding) that just so happen to tone your abs in a similar way. Both routes to a six-pack can be effective, but personally, I’d rather get some serious enjoyment out of the process too, especially when it’s nice out.

Check out these sports that secretly strengthen your core—chances are, you won’t even realize you’re getting an ab workout as you’re doing them (though the burn the next day will probably clue you in).

Hula-hooping

You’ve got to really move your middle to keep the hoop spinning, so it makes total sense that this seemingly silly activity might seriously target your tummy. And a new, small study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proves just that. Thirteen women were asked to use a weighted hula hoop for five days a week for six weeks, for two minutes on the first day and then for longer and longer stints until they were hooping for 15 minutes a day starting in week three. The result: The women lost 3.4 centimeters from their midsections and 1.4 centimeters from their hips, on average.

Stand-up paddleboarding

All you have to do is get on a board and you will understand how your core is involved—it’s all about balance, and to stay upright your core is engaged the entire time,” says Chris Freytag, a fitness instructor in Minneapolis and founder of gethealthyu.com. If you’re a newbie, Freytag suggests starting on your knees, which lowers your center of gravity and still works your middle, and then moving up to standing when you feel comfortable for maximum perks.

Kayaking

Just because you’re sitting doesn’t mean you’re not working your stomach. “The majority of your body’s strength while paddling comes from the core, so while it feels like an upper-body exercise, it begins in your abdominals and lower back,” says Ramona Braganza, celebrity fitness trainer and creator of the 321 Training Method. Plus, your body rotation when paddling targets your obliques, too.

Beach volleyball

This classic summer sport is all about moving side-to-side and up-and-down to get the ball. All that quick lateral movement works your middle like crazy. On top of that, “the unstable surface of the sand gets your stabilizing muscles activated,” Braganza notes. Try playing with only a few people, rather than seven or eight folks on each side, which will force you to move more—and burn more.

Treading water

“Treading water, or really doing any water sport in general such as swimming or snorkeling without fins, can improve your core and provides a lot of cardiovascular benefits,” says Braganza. And that’s important, she says, because it’ll burn off any fat hiding sculpted muscles underneath.

Rollerblading

To stay balanced, you have to rely on a strong midsection to keep you upright. You’re also burning lots of calories as you roll, which is great for fat-melting purposes, Braganza says.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Surprising Things That Are Ruining Your Teeth

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Some juices have higher sugar content than smoothies or soda

We all know that candy and soda aren’t good for our teeth, but the sugars and acids lurking in other, seemingly innocuous (and even healthy) foods can also do a number on your dental hygiene. We got New York City-based cosmetic dentist Marc Lowenberg, DDS, to give us real talk on five culprits you didn’t realize were hurting your choppers, and how to prevent the damage.

Juicing

Say it ain’t so: While bottles of the cold-pressed stuff may be chock-full of good-for-you nutrients, juices also have such a high sugar content (some have even more than smoothies or soft drinks) that drinking them isn’t far off from bathing your teeth in chocolate, Lowenberg says. This sugar is consumed by the bacteria in our mouths and converted into acid that wears away enamel and can cause cavities.

The solution: Sip juice through a straw to help keep it away from the surfaces of your teeth. And make sure sure to wait at least 45 minutes post-drinking to brush your teeth: Scrubbing them immediately while after acid has softened their enamel can leave them even more vulnerable to damage.

Chewable vitamins

They taste just like gummy candy—and they’re not much better for our mouths. In fact, their sticky, sugar-y makeup adheres to teeth so well that they’re just practically bound to cause cavities.

The solution: Take your vitamins in pill form. While that may not be as fun (or taste nearly as good), neither is a trip to the dentist for a filling.

Barbecue sauce

Backyard barbecues are a summer staple. But most people don’t realize that the thick, sweet sauce marinating your chicken and ribs is also marinating your teeth in sugar (yep, the sauce is full of it), potentially sending you down a road of tooth discoloration and decay if it’s in your mouth long enough.

The solution: Before you know you’ll be eating ‘cue swipe a (very) thin layer of petroleum jelly over your teeth to create a barrier between the sauce and your enamel. Can’t stand the feeling of the jelly on your teeth? Try to brush right after the cookout to remove any residue.

Dried fruit

While some fresh fruits are actually considered good for teeth (think water-packed produce like apples and pears), dried fruits never are. This otherwise-nutritious snack is packed with non-cellulose fiber, which traps sugar on and around teeth the way gummy candies (and vitamins) do.

The solution: Get it off! Brush and floss teeth immediately after eating dried fruit to get rid of any stuck-on sugar.

White wine

Red wine tends to get a bad rap for staining teeth—and it does!—but white’s no better for your dental health. The acid in white wine eats away at your enamel and leaves teeth vulnerable to stains from other foods or drinks.

The solution: Eat more cheese with your wine! It’s rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus, all of which can help buffer the acids vino leaves in your mouth. A less-caloric approach: Gargle with water after drinking to flush away some of the acidity.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Weird Coffee Trends You Should Know About

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When you're not in a hurry, try pour over

Americans are certifiably obsessed with coffee. Nearly 60% of Americans age 18 and up report they drink coffee on any given day, according to the National Coffee Association’s 2015 trends report, with this year’s Zagat coffee survey finding that the number of people with a daily habit is more like 80%.

As you’ve probably heard, the potential health benefits of coffee are many: it’s been linked with helping weight loss, and possibly even slashing your risk for diseases like diabetes and cancer. It may also boost your calorie-burn during a workout, making it the perfect pre-gym drink. While this definitely doesn’t mean you should drink coffee non-stop, you can feel great about your daily fix.

These days it’s not just your regular mug of hot and (deliciously) bitter goodness: Over a third of Americans are now choosing gourmet coffee beverages. And there are a number of trendy new ways to prepare the beverage.

Here are five buzzing ways to enjoy java, along with what you should know about each.

Pour over

The first time I saw this method I thought, hmmm, so this is just a low-tech way of making a brew? (e.g. no machine plugged into an outlet). But nope, there’s more to it than that. In a nutshell pour over involves placing freshly ground beans into a rinsed filter, within a filter holder or cone, which is placed over a vessel. Connoisseurs say that wetting the grounds, then continuously pouring water (heated to a precise temperature, usually 200 degrees) from a kettle methodically and slowly (we’re talking four minutes or so) over the grounds, rather than “flooding” them, extracts more flavor. When using this meticulous method some baristas also utilize scales and timers. Pour over has been referred to as “theater” because it’s quite entertaining to watch. I have to admit, I really enjoy the “show” myself when I’m not in a hurry for my cup, that is.

Cold brew

With cold brewing, time replaces heat: instead of five or 10 minutes of brewing with hot water, you steep coffee grounds in cold or room temp water for 12 hours or more before filtering them out. Because the coffee never comes into contact with hot water, certain oils and fatty acids, which can only be extracted by heat, are left behind in the grounds. Cold brewing fans say this results in coffee that’s smoother and less bitter.

Cold brew also tends to have less caffeine. For example, 16 ounces of Starbucks unsweetened cold brew contains around 165 mg of caffeine, compared to 330 mg in the same sized cup of dark roast. So if you’re looking for less intensityboth in buzz and in bitternessthis may be your brew. Just don’t confuse cold brew with regular iced coffee, which is typically made from hot coffee that’s been chilled or poured over ice.

Single-origin

Coffee makers often blend beans to create more complexity. For example, they might mix a bean with great flavor with another that has a fantastic aroma, or combine beans with varying flavor profiles. “Single-origin” means coffee made from beans grown in one geographical region, or even a specific farm, instead.

The benefit for the coffee-connoisseur? You get to experience the unique qualities imparted from just one source of beans, which are affected by things like climate, soil, elevation, biodiversity, and growing techniques. Beans from one farm in Ethiopia will have very different characteristics from those grown in Brazil, or Guatemala, and serious coffee lovers appreciate the nuances.

Two other key reasons single-origin coffee has become more popular involve sustainability and traceability. As coffee buyers develop relationships with specific coffee growers, farmers are often able to receive higher prices for their crops, use more environmentally-friendly farming techniques, and keep their land healthier, all of which help to improve the well-being of communities, and foster sustainability. Food enthusiasts are also much more interested in knowing exactly where their food comes from now, and choosing single origin can allow coffee drinkers to learn about the specific farm or farmers that produced their coffee, even if they are many miles away.

Edible coffee

Several years ago munching on a few dark chocolate covered espresso beans inspired me to whip some coffee grounds into a cherry almond smoothie (which was Ah-mazing), and I’ve been experimenting with baking and cooking with coffee ever since. It’s become a pretty hot culinary trend, and there are countless way to get creative in the kitchen. Try brewed coffee as the liquid in dishes ranging from oatmeal to a marinade. You can also use coffee grounds as a rub for meat, add it to pudding, yogurt, brownies or cookies, or in a myriad of savory dishes, like chili, and black bean soup.

Bulletproof

Bulletproof Coffee is a concoction created by a tech entrepreneur named Dave Asprey. The controversial formula involves a combination of proprietary coffee, grass fed butter, and a Bulletproof branded “Brain Octane Oil” made with coconut and/or palm kernel, which are rich in a type of fat shown in some research to boost satiety and your ability to burn calories. While grass-fed butter is certainly better for you than its conventional counterpart, proponents of this coffee drink (and the diet) recommend sipping it as a breakfast substitute.

Personally I do not advise trading a healthy breakfast like an organic veggie and avocado omelet, or oats with fruit and nuts, which provide a much broader spectrum of nutrients, for coffee alone, with about 400 calories from butter and oil. While drinking the coffee by itself is supposed to be connected to its weight loss benefits (coming from the zero carb and high fat content), I have seen people shed 25, 50, even 100 pounds eating healthy, balanced meals that include reasonable portions of “good” carbs. So in short, my biggest concern about the coffee isn’t so much its ingredients, but what you’re giving up for them.

Now that you’ve got the skinny on these trends, it’s up to you what you brew next.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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