Blog Posts by The Editors at Sharecare

  • 10 Naughty Ways to Ruin a Good Night's Sleep

    10 Naughty Ways to Ruin a Good Night's Sleep

    Getting a good night's sleep is often a matter of timing. Something as simple as an after-dinner drink can pop your eyes open an hour after you've drifted off to dreamland. Even good sleepers can stare at the ceiling in the early morning hours if their timing is off in any of these 10 ways:

    1. Drinking within 4 to 6 hours of bedtime. Yes, a second glass of wine at dinner may make you drowsy at first, but as the alcohol wears off, it eventually leads to restlessness -- the kind that awakens you.
    2. Eating nothing since lunch. An empty stomach keeps you from falling asleep. A high-carb snack (toast, cereal, pasta) and a glass of milk will quiet the growling and bring on sleep.
    3. Having caffeine after noon. If sleep's an issue, make your midmorning cuppa joe your last cup of the day. Caffeine can linger in your body for 12 hours. Skip black and green tea, chocolate, and colas, too.
    4. Eating a big meal after 7 p.m. An overtaxed gastrointestinal tract takes
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  • Spring Clean Your Body: Top 10 Detox Foods

    Spring Clean Your Body: Top 10 Detox Foods

    Want to baby your liver? Keep your GI tract fit? Flush out toxins? These 10 foods -- many of them chosen by RealAge experts Drs. Oz and Roizen -- can spring clean your body and keep refreshing your vital parts all year 'round. No need to fast. Just take these three steps:

    • "Eat clean," avoiding processed foods and chemical additives.
    • Stay well hydrated by drinking lots of filtered water.
    • Include some of these 10 foods in several meals throughout the week.

    The Detox Top 10

    1. Leafy green vegetables. Eat them raw in a salad, throw them into a broth, steam them and mix with rice or add to an omelet, or puree them into juices. The chlorophyll in greens helps swab out environmental toxins (heavy metals, pesticides). It's also an all-around liver protector, which your liver needs since it's your major domo detoxifier.
    2. Lemons. Fresh lemonade made with filtered water will keep you hydrated, and its vitamin C helps convert toxins into a water-soluble form
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  • 8 Energy Boosters to Get You Through the Day

    8 Energy Boosters to Get You Through the Day

    Back away from the Red Bull! Don't even think about Rockstar! If you want to short-circuit your slump without feeling wired, you want a smoother, less jolting solution. These eight natural energy lifters are proven to work:

    1. Snap open the shades. A jolt of morning light -- scientists call it the dawn signal -- activates special cells in your eyes that send a wake-up call to your brain's internal clock.
    2. Light up your brain at lunch, too. Sitting beside a sunny window for 30 minutes midday makes you more wide awake. In one study, women who did scored better on alertness tests afterward.
    3. Top off your tank. Getting to the point where you're just starting to feel thirsty -- a mere 2.6% drop in hydration levels -- can double your feelings of fatigue. It made study volunteers work twice as hard on a set of brain-teasing puzzles.
    4. Squeeze your hand or tap your head. Sounds crazy, but DIY acupressure boosts alertness as effectively as a small cup of
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  • Nature's Viagra? BIG Benefit of Watermelon Juice

    Nature's Viagra? BIG Benefit of Watermelon JuiceNature's Viagra? BIG Benefit of Watermelon Juice

    Summer's favorite fruit has more going for it than a good excuse for a picnic. Turns out this sweet and juicy treat is loaded with a come-hither compound that turbocharges blood flow in much the same way Viagra and other "performance" drugs do.

    The compound is citrulline, which your body converts into l-arginine, a blood vessel relaxer that enhances circulation to all your vital parts. In a new Italian study, 24 lucky middle-aged guys with "mild" erection problems took a citrulline supplement for a month; half said their difficulties cleared up and they had sex more often. American experts have found that knocking back a couple of glasses of watermelon juice a day raises blood levels of l-arginine significantly. (And, yes, you can buy 100% watermelon juice; if your local health-food store doesn't have it, Amazon does.)

    Get your groove back without pills. Here's more help.

    There are many other sources of citrulline -- almonds, cantaloupe, chickpeas, cocoa, cucumber,

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  • Are Earbuds to Blame? Take This Online Hearing Test

    Can You Hear Me Now? No? Take This Test

    You can blame MP3 players and iPods for the increasing number of young adults -- especially women -- saying, "Huh?" "Could you repeat that?" and "What did you say?" Age isn't the issue; ear abuse is, say Harvard researchers. You can mistreat your ears in any number of ways, but common culprits are today's ubiquitous earbuds and headphones. And the music streaming through them doesn't even have to be that loud. If it goes on for hours at a time, you're risking NIHTS (noise-induced hearing-threshold shifts), a change in your ears' sensitivity that can lead to permanent hearing loss.

    How loud is too loud? How long is too long? A conversation with a friend over lunch falls somewhere near 60 decibels (dB). A medium setting on your MP3 player is about 85 dB, a level your ears can tolerate for about 8 hours, experts say. But turn up the volume just 3 more decibels and you cut your tolerance time to 4 hours -- or less, because earbuds and headphones bring music very close to the

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  • When Weight Loss Is a Bad Thing

    When Weight Loss is a Bad Thing

    When was the last time you complained about losing a few pounds? Never, right? In our weight-obsessed culture, even slim people are usually ecstatic to find themselves a little slimmer. Yet losing weight without trying is a common symptom of dozens of medical conditions -- though only one-third of people think to tell their physicians about it. And losing weight when you have a healthy appetite heralds one of the biggies: diabetes.

    If this sounds like an eerily familiar situation, we've got a question for you: When was the last time you had your blood glucose checked? You could have high blood sugar and not even know it. In fact, one-third of those who already have diabetes aren't aware of it. And that means they (you?) are missing out on the chance to control it and reduce the risk of complications.

    Who Needs a Blood Sugar Check

    Like blood pressure, blood sugar levels tend to creep up as you age, so doctors generally recommend testing every 3 years, starting at age

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  • Don't Walk This Way: 7 Bad Walking Habits

    Don't Walk This Way: 7 Bad Walking Habits

    You may have been walking since you were 1, but you've changed a lot since then. For starters, your goal is more than just toddling from the coffee table to your mom's arms without tumbling over. Now, you're walking for fitness -- to burn calories, flatten your belly, and strengthen your heart. But if you're slumping and slouching along like a teenager, the weight of the world on your sagging shoulders, that's not gonna happen. Here are the seven worst ways to wreck your fitness walk:

    1. Worst: Leaning forward, as if you're heading into a stiff breeze.
      Best: Walking tall, as if a string is pulling your spine upward from the top of your head.
    2. Worst: Looking at the ground in front of you, shoulders hunched.
      Best: Looking at the world ahead of you, not at your feet.
    3. Worst: Letting your hands flap around as if they have a mind of their own.
      Best: Keeping your hands in a loose fist, fingers relaxed.
    4. Worst: Letting your belly bulge out and
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  • 5 Flavor-Boosting Spices with Healing Benefits

    5 Flavor-Boosting Spices with Healing Benefits

    Five of Mother Nature's best botanical healers are probably already on your spice rack. Here's the lowdown on their disease-blocking benefits. Just sprinkle, savor, and smile. You're doing your body (and your RealAge) good.

    Worried about your blood sugar? Or cholesterol?

    Kitchen Rx: Load a shaker with cinnamon and a few dashes of cloves. Cinnamon's got MHCP, a compound that tells cells in your body to absorb blood sugar. Researchers have found that eating as little as 1/4 teaspoon a day can lower blood sugar by 18% and bad LDL cholesterol by 7%. (Your doc will be so impressed at your next checkup!) Cloves seem to have the same effect, sending three bad guys packing: excess blood sugar, bad cholesterol, and heart-threatening triglycerides.

    When you make your mix, just use a light hand with the cloves, and keep tasting. Eugenol -- the chemical that gives cloves medicinal value and most of their flavor -- is super potent. The idea is to complement cinnamon's flavor, not

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  • Never Again Say, "Oops! I Forgot"

    Never Again Say, 'Oops! I Forgot'

    Where would you be if it weren't for lists -- shopping lists, birthday lists, to-do lists? You'd be constantly going back to the grocery store, always forgetting birthdays, and never remembering to pick up the dry cleaning (get it tonight!). But if you're like us, you're probably doing that anyway, because even when you make a list, you forget it or lose it. And that's something all the apps in the world can't fix.

    Time to train your brain to remember things using a mnemonic device -- a fancy name for a technique that gets your memory to work.

    A mnemonic (rhymes with demonic; the "m" is silent) relies on the fact that your brain uses information from all your senses -- touch, sight, smell, hearing, and taste -- to form memories. Have you ever noticed how a certain smell can remind you of someone or something from your past? That's because information from your nose is processed partly by the limbic system, a part of the brain involved in memory and emotion.


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  • Trouble Sleeping? Top 10 Foods That Help You Sleep

    Trouble Sleeping? Top 10 Foods That Help You Sleep

    Tryptophan -- as in turkey -- is legendary for being a snooze food. But actually, not so much. Other foods are far better at pulling the shades down over your eyes. True, when tryptophan's combined with other nutrients (B6, B12, folic acid), it helps make serotonin, the sleep hormone. The trouble is, it's hard to get enough tryptophan into your brain to put you to sleep. Other smaller, more nimble amino acids tend to crowd it out, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of The Food & Mood Cookbook: Recipes for Eating Well and Feeling Your Best.

    What to do? Eat more carbohydrates. They release insulin, which reduces the amino acids in your blood stream -- except for tryptophan. With the competition gone, whatever tryptophan is around can enter your brain and make serotonin. Even better, the carbs also lower your blood sugar, which also makes you drowsy. (Still with us? Great. We're done.)

    So if you're often staring at the ceiling for more than 15 minutes, try one of these light,

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