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4 Foods to avoid before going to sleep

by Alexandra Zega

Everyone likes to snack a little at night before going to sleep. However, research shows that late-night dining can have an adverse effect on our sleep. Granted some foods do help us get to sleep, but some foods should be avoided at night.

Below are 4 foods that you should avoid if you want to have a peaceful night’s sleep:

Pasta -A bowl of pasta might be easy to make, but it’s not the best thing to eat before going to sleep. Pasta is full of carbohydrates. If you go to sleep right after eating pasta, all the carbohydrates will be turned into fat. The other ingredients in pasta such as oil, cheese, tomato sauce and, etc. will only add more fat to your body. In addition, addition, pasta contains a high glycemic index meaning that it has high-sugar content. The high amount of sugar affects the blood-sugar levels in our body. Therefore, disrupting our sleep patterns.

Ice Cream -A scoop of ice cream at night might be the most delicious bedtime treat; however, it is not as soothing as people may think. Ice cream is full of fat. Eating it at night will allow the body to burn all the fat before you get to bed. Furthermore, the sugar content will give you an energy boost which will keep you awake throughout the night.

Some research studies show a correlation between eating food with high-sugar content and nightmares.

Pizza – If you feel like staying up all night, have a slice of greasy pizza. Pizza is not a light meal. Just one slice can cause your stomach to go into overdrive. The tomato sauce contains a high concentration of acidity, which causes acid reflux and heartburn. High-fat and acid content will leave you tossing and turning all night long.

Alcohol – Some people believe that alcohol leads to a good night’s sleep; however, this is not entirely accurate. Alcohol does somewhat get people to sleep; however, its effects do not last unusually long. Research shows that alcohol disrupts the restorative ability of the body during sleep leading to several wake-up calls.

In addition, people that drink alcohol to fall asleep tend to develop a dependency on it, which ultimately causes a serious addiction problem.

If you want to ensure a good night’s sleep, then these four foods should be avoided before going to bed.

(c) June 8, 2012  by Quick Easy - staff

9 Health Risks that Aren't Worth Taking

by Alexandra Zega

1. Holding your cell phone up to your ear.

Although the overall risk is still very low, research suggests that people who have spent the past decade or more frequently talking on their cell phones in the traditional way are more likely to develop brain tumors. John Walls, a spokesperson for industry trade group CTIA: The Wireless Association, points out that no major American health organization has said that wireless devices are a public health risk. (The World Health Organization, though, has expressed concern.) And texting or talking while driving--which boosts your chances of having a car wreck by a factor of four--poses a far bigger risk than the radiation may. But considering that you can get an earbud-type hands-free set for as little as five bucks, why not take the safest tack? "I think the data are strong enough that using a hands-free set with your cell makes a lot of sense," says public health expert Ted Schettler, M.D., science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network.

2. PVC shower curtains.

That funky, chemical-y smell of new polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shower curtains comes from volatile organic compounds, which may be carcinogenic over time and can cause nausea and headaches in the short term, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. "I always recommend the good old-fashioned fabric curtains," says preventive-medicine expert Suzanne Pham, M.D. Want something waterproof? Look for vinyl acetate, which is safer, she says.

3. Microwaving in plastic.

Heat releases some of the chemical building blocks in plastic, sending them into whatever food or drink you're warming up. One such chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), "can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, potentially leading to issues like premature puberty and breast or testicular cancer," says Pham. Even BPA-free plastics could release substances that can have negative effects, so it's best to avoid microwaving any plastic container, says Jennifer Lowry, M.D., a medical toxicologist at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, MO. All of our experts agree: Heat food or drink in glass or ceramic.

4. Flea and tick collars.

Adults who play with a cat or dog while it's wearing a flea and tick collar are exposed to up to 500 times the Environmental Protection Agency's safe level of pesticides, according to a first-of-its-kind study by scientists at the Natural Resources Defense Council. For children, the levels can be 1,000 times higher than what's safe. The worst are collars containing chemicals called (get ready for a mouthful) propoxur or tetrachlorvinphos, which kill pests by disrupting their nerve pathways. Four out of five top-selling brands we shopped for contained one of these, so check labels. Luckily there are other effective pest-killing options. "Pills that pets take internally seem to be safer," says Jerome Paulson, M.D., chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics council on environmental health. Two common brands are Capstar and Program, which you can get for between $20 and $60 online or from your vet. (For other--cheaper!--suggestions, go to

5. Constantly running a humidifier.

Those little steam machines can be a life saver for parents with a stuffed-up kid who can't sleep, but using them too often might make things worse. A study by the New York State Department of Health found that one of the biggest predictors of whether children developed asthma was the frequent use of a humidifier at home. "Too much moisture promotes mold and dust mite growth," which could be a problem for the whole family, explains Morris Nejat, M.D., a pediatrician and allergist in New York City.

6. Certain antibacterial soaps and toothpastes.

Triclosan is a germ killer found in a lot of antibacterial hand soaps, body washes, and even some brand-name cavity-control toothpastes. But the American Medical Association recommends against the use of triclosan in our homes, because it may encourage the development of scary bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. "Studies have shown that these triclosan products don't work any better than regular cleansers or toothpastes, but they damage the environment and potentially place our long-term health at risk," says Susan Shaw, Ph.D., an environmental scientist at the State University of New York, Albany. Not sure whether triclosan lurks in your favorite products? Just check the labels.

7. X-ray airport scanners.

You know those "backscatter" full-body X-ray machines at airport security gates? Europe banned them several months ago because of health concerns, but the machines are still in use in some airports in the States. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says the amount of radiation emitted by each scan is minuscule, but independent research suggests the dose to some parts of the body is at least 45 times higher than the TSA claims and may even increase cancer risk, particularly for the elderly and women predisposed to breast cancer. Since you're already going to be exposed to radiation by flying, avoid the extra rays and ask for a pat-down, says John Sedat, Ph.D., a professor emeritus at the University of California, San Francisco.

8. Colon "cleansing."

Celebs may swear by this kind of thing, but colonics and colon-cleansing pills could be dangerous, our experts said. The intestines are self-cleaning, so unless you're getting a colonoscopy, there's no reason to sweep the whole thing out, says gastroenterologist Lisa Ganjhu. The pills are poorly regulated and could make you laxative-dependent, she says; colonic enemas carry a risk of intestinal perforation, which requires surgery to fix. To keep your digestive system working smoothly, says Ganjhu, stay hydrated; eat lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains; and exercise. If you regularly have gas or constipation, a probiotic supplement may help by adding more healthy bacteria to your gut.

9. Ready-to-feed canned baby formula.

Bisphenol A (BPA) isn't only found in plastic--it's also used to line the inside of cans to keep bacteria out. And according to tests conducted by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, one of the foods that ends up most contaminated with BPA is canned liquid infant formula. (Powdered formula, on the other hand, contains almost no traces of BPA from its packaging.) If you must use liquid canned or bottled formula, make sure not to warm it up in its original container, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends.

(c) Redbook | Healthy LivingTue, May 29,2012 - (c) Melinda Wenner Moyer, REDBOOK



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