Monthly Archives

February 2016

is-coffee-good-for-you
Health

Is Coffee Good For You?

Ah, coffee. My pride and joy — the reason I get out of bed. But, what if it’s actually causing you to stay out of bed, even when you need to wake up in, say, a mere five hours? We’ve heard back-and-forth banter about whether or not it’s a myth that coffee is good for you and offers a whole array of health benefits. The other day I heard a couple conversing, and one asked, “Is coffee good for you? It can’t be, right?” Wrong!

The health impacts of coffee have long been a controversial topic, as there are two sides to every story. Pro-coffee connoisseurs promote coffee’s antioxidants, while those on the other side name the downsides, such as insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Fear not: drinking coffee may be healthier for you than you thought. Well, it all comes down to what’s in your coffee, how much you drink, and when you drink it. Let’s break it down.

Three to Five Cups A Day: A-Okay!

Grab that java! A study of 25,000 participants in South Korea found that moderate daily consumption of coffee, or three to five cups, is correlated with a decreased risk for coronary artery calcium. The middle of the ground, four cups of coffee, was also found to reduce one’s risk of melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer. A high amount of coffee consumption, or four to six cups a day, reduced coffee-sippers risks of getting multiple sclerosis (MS).

Before you start downing your fifth cup today, be sure to drop the cream and sugar. Drinking coffee with a loaded amount of cream and sugar and calling it “healthy” is the equivalent to deep frying potatoes and calling it healthy. (French fries for health!) If you can’t stand drinking completely black coffee, opt for a little bit of cream and a little bit of sugar. Just keep it to a minimum and be sure to choose all-natural sugar as opposed to artificial sweeteners.

Proven to Reduce Depression

Many studies conducted have linked coffee consumption to lower rates of depression in both men and women.  In several studies, the data suggested a relationship between coffee consumption and depression: in other words, heavy coffee drinkers seemed to have the lowest risk (up to 20 percent) of depression.

Lessening Your Risk of Type II Diabetes

A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine shows those who consumed six or more cups of coffee a day had a 22% lower risk of diabetes. A review of research conducted by Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu showed that the risk of type II diabetes decreases by 9% for each daily cup of coffee consumed.

Your Liver on Coffee…

Aside from actually lowering the risk of liver cancer, coffee consumption has also been linked to a lower incidence of cirrhosis of the liver. A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed an inverse relationship between increased coffee consumption and a decreased risk of cirrhosis, or a 20 percent reduction for each cup consumed (when consumed up to four cups).

Grab Decaf after 2 P.M.

We all know coffee is a stimulant just like soda, energy drinks, and some teas — that’s why we enjoy drinking it so much to stay alert. But be sure to keep an eye on the clock when you’re going for that afternoon coffee as you should stop drinking coffee about ten hours before you go to bed to reduce any sleeping issues. (No one likes waking up in the morning exhausted; it affects performance, happiness, and alertness.)

So, Is Coffee Good For You?

If you keep it to a minimum, drink your coffee in its (mostly) pure form, and watch the clock, you can see the many health benefits of consuming coffee. Just remember, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, try and reduce your caffeine consumption even more.

What’s your go-to caffeine kick? Or, do you prefer the au-natural boosts of sleeping a good 8 hours a night?

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

list of healthy foods
Health

You Need This List of Healthy Foods in Your Fridge

I recently wrote an article for Lifehack on the 20 healthy foods everyone should keep in their fridge. (Hint: You can have your peanut butter and eat it too!)

Here’s a little teaser of the top five:

1. Eggs

eggs-healthy-breakfast

Eggs are an excellent breakfast choice and are a go-to source of high-quality protein, nutrients and vitamins. If you’re in a hurry or relaxing at home, eggs are a great way to enjoy your breakfast without feeling bloated or unhealthy. (Sorry waffles!!)

Plus, they’re inexpensive and filling. If you like a sweeter version, I like to add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract to my scrambled eggs! (Like French toast without the bread and sugar!)

2. Chicken and Lean Meat

chicken-healthy-dinner

What is considered “lean meat”? Lean meats are relatively low in fat and are usually skinless. Chicken and other lean meats are essential healthy foods to keep around as they can make a main course pop with just the right ingredients. In a pinch, mix chicken, stir-fried veggies, and soy sauce for a healthier version of take-out.

3. Apples

healthiest-foods-for-your-fridge

What better breakfast, snack, or dessert than a succulent, crisp apple? Not only are apples fiber-laden, but they’re great for helping people lose weight. Try slicing an apple up and tossing it in your morning oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon. You can find a ton of creative recipes, or enjoy them straight out of the fridge!

4. Yogurt

greek yogurt-healthy-foods

Now, before you grab that 200-calorie topping-heavy yogurt with loaded sugars (artificial or not), stop! The best type of yogurt to eat is plain Greek yogurt with added toppings like fruit, nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of honey. (Greek yogurt also makes a great substitution for mayo in chicken salad!) Greek yogurt makes for a satisfying dessert, breakfast, snack — or even dinner!

5. Cheese

cheese-healthy-food

Cheese lovers, rejoice! Yes, cheese can be a healthy food! You just have to watch your proportions. Low-fat, part-skim string cheese and shredded cheeses are a delicious addition that can add a huge flavor punch to many recipes or on their own (String cheese is my go-to lunch snack; I’m still a child at heart!). Just be sure to eat sparingly — (I know, it’s hard) as cheese can add a lot of fat and sodium to your diet before you can even think to drop the cracker. Treat yourself to a better-quality cheese so you’ll not feel the urge to overindulge.

Check out the list of all twenty here!

 

how to work from home
Productivity

How to Work From Home and Nail It

I’m straying away from my usually lifestyle pieces to turn to a topic I’ve been quite familiar with for the last six months or so: working from home. It’s both the best thing in the world, and many times, the worst. I like waking up at 8:30 in the morning and working from my bed, but that only lasts so long until I start chugging endless cups of coffee and bouncing off the walls, probably blasting the latest Drake album or something. I don’t do that in an office. The best way to learn how to work from home comes with pretending you’re going into a office, forget that you’re in your own living quarters, and create an office space, even if you don’t have an additional room.

It should be easy to work from home, right? Hmm…maybe for you, but I’m a coffee addict and me + coffee + my apartment = a recipe for disaster and a lack of accomplishments.

Follow these tips to maintain your sanity while typing away from the luxury of your bed:

1. Turn Off Your Phone and Put it Away

fomo

This one is my number one favorite. Ever since I decided to take the “smart phone leap” my junior year in college, I’ve been a fiend since. It’s not on purpose, it just is. (I’m trying to get better.) To be honest, knowing you may have a message or two awaiting for you during your lunch break is more fun than always responding to your messages right as they come in. In fact, research from The Harvard Business Review suggests that sound alerts from your phone, whether it be a simple ding or vibration, can make you less productive and more prone to mistakes.

Do you ever get annoyed when someone doesn’t respond right away? Don’t focus on the negative and start getting what really needs to be done accomplished.

2. Stay Away From Your Social Media Accounts

Seriously, whether or not your friends are “re-gramming” last week’s impromptu vacation or just about TBT it doesn’t matter. You can care about that once 5 o’clock comes around…if at all 😉 Around 60 to 80 percent of Americans admit they don’t go online for anything necessary, but rather to kill time or be entertained.

Social media is great if it helps benefit you for work, but your personal accounts won’t benefit you any. It doesn’t matter during your work hours what your friends ate for dinner last night, or that your neighbor bought a new watch. Chances are, you won’t feel any better checking social media anyway.

Reddit, Imgur, even Twitter are everyday websites I go to for work, but I make sure to never log into my own account. It’s a dead-end!

3. Stop With the FOMO

partying

Ok, you’re not in an office with a puppy or a Keurig machine, or you’re not getting  free bagels on Friday. It’s okay! You didn’t have to commute, you’re working from the comfort of your home, and you can buy your own bagels for only a few dollars a bag. Or, better yet, grab some fruit and veggies or whip yourself up an omelette! You can’t do that in an office.

When all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with checking out some TED talks on productivity!

4. Coffee Shops are Work Spaces Too

Sometimes when I’m feeling down or unproductive, I hit up one of my neighborhood coffee spaces, which I know is good for working. (Atmosphere = everything!) When you’re around other productive people, you can be more productive too, even if you go in for just a few hours. Get a headstart on your work, and you’ll be done in no time.

5. Silence is Golden

movie

Do you ever feel a constant need to put in ear buds when you’re at work because of all the outside sound? Yeah, well, who’s talking when you’re at home? (Unless your dog is yapping or you’ve got a roommate!)

Appreciate the silence, but if it’s getting to you, then take a trip outside, call a friend, turn on some productivity-enhancing music, whatever it may be that helps you concentrate. In fact, Business Insider recommends nature sounds with no lyrics to help you stay on task and even enhance your cognitive functioning.

6. Set Goals For Yourself

I love setting goals for myself, especially when I work from home. I used to struggle  to write a 400-word article in several days in college, and now I aim to write 500-600 words in an hour. Not rushing or being sloppy with my writing, just making sure I block out any distractions and just writing. There’s always time for editing, but it’s much easier to edit when you already have something to work with.

7. Give Yourself Breaks

How to be productive when you work from home

No one ever suggested working 8-hour days without getting up for food, exercise, sanity breaks, etc. You’re at home after all, so take some time to turn on the TV for a little while, binge on some daytime television (oh what fun!) and go back to work. You’ll probably enjoy working more than watching those terrible re-runs on TV.

If you work best in sprints of 3-4 hours, then set an alarm for a specific time to remind yourself to get up and take a break. If it’s warm outside, I try and run during my lunch breaks or even take a walk. Figure out what works best for you!

8. Think Longterm Benefits

Last I checked, you can’t get a promotion, a raise, or a congratulatory thank you from your boss or peers when you’re perusing endless cat videos on YouTube. Think about what you wish to accomplish from your job, your work, your career, even a month down the road. Do you have big dreams and goals for yourself? I sure hope so!

9. Have a Schedule and Stick To It

home office

When I’m working from home, I like to plan my day right when I wake up in the morning and make sure I don’t spend too much time on one  task. If I know I have a blog post to write that day, I’ll try and dedicate an hour to research so I don’t start going off-track. If I have a huge post to promote by the end of the week, I’ll spend a few hours during the day making sure I’m all set to promote right as the piece goes live.

10. Reaching Success

Remember, productivity is good! Accomplishing your tasks feels amazing, especially when you go above and beyond to complete your goals. Reserve the “fun” stuff for your lunch break and please please please don’t check your Facebook unless you’re posting your latest article for work! Only you can figure out how to work from home to achieve the most success.