How to Save Hundreds per Month on “Fixed” Expenses

This article is obviously not written by me as I’m not the best with money but I found it interesting and informative. Since before we got married, we’ve tried to find ways to save money and cut expenses. It’s something we are constantly doing since that time 11 years ago and even now we find there are little things we can improve on. Sure I still, years later, miss my magazine subscriptions but in the long run, am glad we have been able to travel, relocate, have kids, a house, etc.

Thanks, Christine, for guest posting this article 🙂

When you sit down to determine your budget, you probably divide your expenses into “fixed” and “variable.” This is a great way to find wiggle room and cut back on certain indulgences. We immediately take a good look at how much we spend on eating out, entertainment, and gasoline. However, sometimes we don’t label those “fixed” expenses correctly. In fact, there are a lot of things that you can do to reduce your payments on things that seem like inflexible necessities. For example, utilities often seem out of our power. No matter what, you’re going to want heating in your house, you must have insurance, and cutting back on an internet connection will significantly reduce your quality of life (and sometimes even your job prospects.) But at the same time, these costs could be draining your finances much more than necessary, as this article points out.

There are often ways to cut back that we don’t even notice. You can get the same services for cheaper when you shop around, you can bundle and save, you can cut back on parts of a bundle that aren’t giving you any value, or you can play hardball and make a deal with your service provider. Think outside the box, consider everything flexible, and if you really want to cut back on your expenses, then make some changes! Here are some ideas:

Renegotiate Your Internet Bill

It’s surprising to most of us how flexible the monthly internet payment is. First of all, take a good look at whether or not you need the best package. Households seldom need more than 40 mbps, unless they have several gamers playing at once. My household of three simultaneous streaming services going at a time was just fine at 30 mbps. Additionally, don’t get suckered into added-on cable services and landlines if you don’t actually use them. Even if you get it for just a few dollars more per month, it’s not worth it if you don’t actually want to use it. Then, start playing hardball.  I’ve talked down internet providers from an 80$/month deal to $25. Do some research, look up deals online. Compare the prices for your current provider with a competitor in the area. Think of a number that you want and then doggedly ask for it. Don’t forget to follow up on it, too, to make sure that it becomes your regular payment.

Cut Back on Electricity

There are some things you can do to significantly reduce your electric bill without even changing your habits. First of all, replace your regular halogen light bulbs with LEDs. They take significantly less electricity and last longer. Then, add some powerstrips for your entertainment system. All of those plugs can drain a lot of energy, even when they’re not in use. Set those power strips so that you turn everything off when not in use.

Look over Your Cell Phone Bill

We know you want the best. There’s nothing more annoying than dropping an important call, or struggling to get data when you need to look something up. However, if you can cut your bill in half, it might just be worth waiting until you have a WiFi connection to look up that particular YouTube video. Start shopping around and see if a different network will give you a better deal. You might even find a better deal within your own network, by moving to a different plan, and making sure that calls to your most frequent contacts aren’t crippling you.

Save on Heating

If you live somewhere with cold winters, then you might notice that your utility bill spikes as soon as the holidays start. To a certain point this is inevitable. However, there are ways that you can minimize the cost of heating your house for the winter. First of all, do some weather-proofing and insulation. Heavy curtains on the windows, weather-stripping around doors and windows, and insulation in the walls and especially the attic can all make your gas use much more efficient. Get a blanket for your hot water heater. Its cost is minimal and it will save you a few dollars per month, quickly paying for itself. You can also lower the temperature of your hot water heater. How often have you put your hands under scalding hot water and realized it really doesn’t need to come out of the faucet that hot?

Review Your Subscriptions

This is especially important for entertainment subscriptions. Magazines, streaming services, even your Amazon Prime account are all luxuries. Sometimes you can share a subscription with someone else. Other times, you realize you really don’t need to keep up on that one show. Look at things like gym memberships and club fees.

Don’t Take Debts at Face Value

Is a significant chunk of your monthly income going towards something like student debt or medical bills? There are often ways to reduce those payments. Think about refinancing a mortgage, consolidating loans, and prioritizing debts or loans that charge crazy interest rates, and getting those paid off first.

Car Payments

Alright, ready to really take a chunk out of your monthly bill? Look at your cars. How much gas and upkeep do they take? Are you making car loan payments? Could you get by with one less car than what you have? Could you perhaps downgrade for a cheaper vehicle and reduce your monthly costs on the loan? Could you get a vehicle that takes a lot less gas? Could you use public transit for your commute, or bike to get errands done?

What are your best ideas for cutting back on “fixed” expenses?

 

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Ideas for a Nutrient Rich Breakfast

Family and breakfast foods are some of my favorite things! Breakfast is usually the rushed meal during the weekdays, especially now that Brent started morning kindergarten. I enjoyed this article of easy, healthy breakfast ideas:

By Alek S.

It’s a cliche, at this point, to say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we’ve all heard it before! However, being a cliche doesn’t make it any less true. A fulfilling breakfast can make or break your day, as it gives you a jumpstart to feel refreshed and the energy to go about the rest of your day. For this reason, you want to make sure that your breakfast is full of the nutrients that you need to get a proper start to the day.

Having a good diet in the morning will help both your physical and mental health. Nutrient-rich breakfasts can even help you lose weight, since you’re more able to resist mid-morning snacking, and make better food choices throughout the day. Proper nutrition can also have a powerful effect on your mental state throughout the day. Here are some ideas of how you can make your breakfast more nutrient rich…

Eat more eggs

Research has shown that higher egg consumption is correlated with lower amounts of heart disease. You’ve probably heard about all sorts of things concerning whether you should just eat the yolk, or just eat the white, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the specifics. Just eating eggs in the morning gives you a boost that is high in protein, yet relatively few calories. For any superstart breakfast, including eggs helps you get a leg up on the day and makes you feel full, without feeling bloated.

Use smoothies

If you need something easy to take on the go, then a smoothie that is full of different yogurt, fruits, and veggies can help you pack a heavy concentration of nutrients that can brighten your day. You can pretty much customize a smoothie to offer as many vitamins and nutrients as you want, which makes them a great breakfast for people who are looking for a specific diet.

Include supplements into your recipes

You can add nutrients to any meal that you make by including supplements that give more nutritional value. There are supplements that include protein or vitamins that don’t do much to change the flavor of a meal. However, you can also use supplements as part of the recipe to actually enhance the flavor of your breakfast. One example of this that is popular, nowadays, is using matcha tea powder in breakfast pastries, such as pancake, waffles, or even matcha scones! Matcha can add plenty of antioxidants and vitamins.

Use wheat flour

When you are making pancakes, scones, waffles, crepes, or anything of that ilk, it’s important to make the most of the carbohydrates. For this reason, you can add some extra nutrients to your breakfast by using wheat flour, in place of regular flour. Wheat flour will have a very different reaction to being baked than your typical white flour, but it is definitely still suitable to make things like pancakes. Wheat flour will pack a lot more of a nutritional punch, and it’s going to make you feel less weighed down than breakfast bread-based foods that are made from white flour.

Add more oatmeal

Whenever in doubt, almost add a small bowl of oats to your breakfast to give you a little extra health kick. Oats are a whole grain full of various vitamins and minerals, as well as an excellent source of fiber. Oats are also one of most protein and fat-rich grains that give you carbohydrates, as well as a healthy dose of other macronutrients. Oats have also been proven to lower cholesterol levels, and help decrease the risks of cardiovascular disease.

Berries

Including various types of berries into your morning routine is always a good idea (berries also make excellent snacks throughout the rest of the day). When you add together a cup of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, you have an excellent source of fiber that helps your body’s metabolism operate efficiently. Berries are also shown to increase the amount of good cholesterol in your body (HDL), while still lowering blood pressure.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt can make for an incredibly easy way to get a nutritional kick in the morning, since it contains a high amount of protein and probiotics. Yogurt also makes you feel more full, which means that you’ll be less inclined to eat empty calories.

*Looking to add more protein to your diet? Check out my favorite, easy recipe for protein bites!

How to Get Better Posture

The second post in this series of health collaborations is about posture. Good posture is not only good for your body’s alignment but can also enhance your self confidence. My biggest key to better posture that is also mentioned later in this post is core and abdominal strength. Some of my favorite core exercises here.

Posture is more important than many people think. With correct posture, you are likely to live longer, have far less trouble with aches and pains in old age, and even  – some studies suggest – live a happier life. But poor posture seems to be almost something of an epidemic at the moment. If you are concerned that your posture is not quite as good as it could be, you will be glad to know that there are a number of steps you can take to improve it. Many of these are relatively simple and straightforward, and yet can make a huge difference to how you live your life.

Developing A Mindfulness Of Body

One of the most important changes you can possibly make is to start to be a little more mindful of what your body is actually doing from moment to moment. Many people go through their daily lives not really paying close attention to their bodies. This inattentiveness can lead on to many problems, and bad posture is just one of them. The more aware you are of what your back is actually doing, the better equipped you will be to keep it – literally – on the straight and narrow.

There are certain times in the day when it is particularly beneficial to practise this. When you are sitting, particularly at a desk, try to remain aware of how your back is arched. Similarly, when you are walking you can use that time to simply pay attention to how you hold yourself. This simple act of drawing attention to your body is only the first step, but it is one of the most vital, and even just doing that is likely to make a difference at first.

Giving Yourself The Gift Of Sleep

Sleep is a hugely important health concern as it is, but it is especially relevant when it comes to trying to improve your posture. Many people often completely overlook the importance of their sleeping position and comfortability, but it is vital if you are truly serious about keeping your posture strong and healthy. Fortunately, there is plenty that you can do to improve your quality of sleep.

First, take a look at how comfortable – or not – your bed is. If it is not comfortable, it is more likely that you will shift around as you sleep, and this in itself can often be a cause of poor posture. Similarly, if you are sleeping on a mattress which is either too hard or too soft,  your posture will suffer – and besides, you will be causing harm to your back in the long run anyway. You should aim for a mattress which supports you, but does not envelop you. This plush beds mattress review gives an example of the kind of mattress which offers a good level of support. Remember that your pillows are important too – memory foam is a healthy option here, and you should endeavor to support your neck a little too.

It’s not just the bed itself however. If you are not sleeping as soundly as you could, you might be causing harm to your back, and making your posture in waking life much worse. Therefore, it is also important to carry out any other essential tasks aimed at improving your quality of sleep. This could mean working to get the temperature just right, choosing calming colors for your decor, and limiting the amount of caffeine you have in your diet. It all helps.

Training Your Body

Many people who want to improve their posture will carry out the things mentioned above first and foremost, without too much hassle. But many fewer people will ever look to training their body more generally. However, the better in shape you stay, the more chance you have of retaining a decent posture throughout your life. Training is vital – but what kind of training is best for this specific aim? The answer might surprise you.

Most of all, you need to make sure that you are working to stabilize your core. There are many specific workouts you can do to achieve this. The single leg extension, for example, can be particularly beneficial. In this exercise, you lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat, and your hands behind your head. Then it is a case of pulling your navel in and up towards your spine. Done right and repeatedly, this can improve your core hugely. That, in turn, means that your core muscles will find it easier to hold your body upright, therefore improving your posture naturally.

With a little concentration and some basic changes, you can improve your posture easily and quickly. Doing so will automatically lead to a better way of life, and this is something that anyone should consider doing.

5 Ways to Counter Negative Self Talk

I came across this article and wanted to share it because I think at one time or another we could all use a pick me up! One of the points is one I’ve talked about as a monthly health tipdon’t compare yourself to others. I firmly believe everyone has something unique to contribute to the world.

5 Steps to Counter Negative Self Talk

By Aurora McCausland

There are plenty of outside forces that affect the way we view ourselves. Some can be good, but all too often, those influences make us feel insufficient, insecure, and alienated. Social media, for example, is an ever-present force, and it often turns negative despite our best efforts. It’s too easy to compare yourself to others and the best parts of their lives, since the best parts of their lives are the only parts they bother to post on social media.

The negative messages can get more and more pointed and heated, whether they’re flaming comments on your Youtube video, or constantly-undermining language from your mother-in-law. However, as bad as these voices can be, the worst thing is when your own internal voices start adopting that criticism. Here are some tips to help you identify and counter negative self-talk.

Stop comparing yourself to others

If you find yourself comparing yourself and your life to other people, then you’ll need to remove the avenues where it makes it easy to compare yourself to them. If you find yourself scrolling through Instagram and feeling bad because everyone else seems to have clean homes, then maybe you should stop following those individuals. It may seem harsh, but your mental health is important, and if you still feel bad, you can explain to your friends why you have to take a break from following them.

Seek support

Sometimes, just removing those influences isn’t enough to keep yourself from feeling negative towards yourself. Because sometimes, it’s a deeper problem than just wishing your kitchen was as clean as someone you follow on social media. Being negative can be the root of mental illness, and letting those negative thoughts fester will only make the problem worse. Talking about the issues can help you feel better, as long as it’s done in a safe space. This could be something that you’ll want to talk to a licensed professional about. Certain therapeutic techniques, like dialectical behavior therapy, for example, help you to target problematic habits and behavior so that you can start having a healthier outlook.

Holistic approaches

There are other things you can do to improve your overall mental health. Some people experience a better wellbeing when they engage in activities such as meditation, yoga, and regular chiropractic visits. These practices are great because not only are they beneficial to your body and your overall physical health, but they carry mental health benefits that will change your life. One of the keys to countering your negative self talk is to eradicate the problem at it’s root. The root of these insecurities is a weak mental state, and by exercising your mind and cultivating a positive environment, you’ll find yourself thinking more positive thoughts and enjoying your life more fully.

Writing therapy

If you’re not comfortable attending therapy, a great alternative is to engage in writing therapy. Writing therapy gives you a creative, and healthy, outlet to express yourself and your thoughts. There are great writing prompts and journaling programs that can help you make the most of your writing therapy practices. Many therapists actually recommend writing therapy as part of your regular therapy practices. Sometimes, the best way to understand your thoughts and the way that you feel is to talk through them. This can be through either talking to someone that your trust, or you can write them out.

Writing them out can sometimes be even more beneficial because some people find that they’re more comfortable writing about their innermost thoughts than they are talking about them. Your journal can’t judge you or make you feel uncomfortable by opening up, and that’s one of the most valuable things about writing therapy practices.

Surround yourself with positivity

You are what you manifest. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re messy, sloppy, ugly, or unsuccessful, you will become those things. If you tell yourself that you’re tidy, attractive, successful, and kind, then you’ll be those things. Your thoughts become actions, so make sure that you’re thinking good, positive things. It can be hard to just dispel your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, sadly it isn’t that simple.

Make sure that you are surrounded by positive people. If there are people in your life that are negative, then maybe consider spending less of your time with them, and seek out friendships and colleagues that are positive and make you feel good about yourself. Fill your home with beautiful things that make you feel peaceful, and listen to music that is uplifting and wholesome. Surrounding yourself with beautiful nature can be another great way to surround yourself with positivity. It’s easier to think wonderful, positive thoughts, when you’re in a beautiful atmosphere that promotes peaceful thoughts and feelings.

You don’t have to live with uncomfortable and negative feelings. There are ways to combat those feelings and start feeling comfortable with yourself and your life again. There are avenues to seek help or find the help yourself, you just have to consciously make an effort to be positive and start loving yourself and your life. 

Health Tip

health tips give a complimentThis month’s health tip is guaranteed to help you feel better and someone else! If you’re feeling down, a great way to feel a little better is to reach out and compliment someone. While you may not see the impact of your compliment, the recipient will remember it. Focusing on others is something that helps me to see outside my own needs and usually gives me a better perspective on any problems I’m having.

*more health tips here

7 Tips for Summer Sun Safety

We’ve been enjoying our first summer in Southern California, and especially the days the kids and I spend at the beach! Newport is the closest beach to us and we usually go about once a week for a few hours. I’m excited to share this guest post about sun safety. My favorite tip is the first one, which may seem obvious, but I’m always sure to slather sunscreen on myself and the kids with a combination of both lotion and spray sunscreen.

By Christine H.

It’s summer! And that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful weather. However, as you spend time splashing in the public pool, picnicking at the beach, and hiking through the mountains, take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the sun.

Here are 7 suggestions that will keep you sun-smart this summer:

  1. Wear sunscreen… daily! If you simply slather on some sunscreen when you go to the beach, you’re not doing enough to protect yourself from the sun. Sun has a major effect on your skin. In the short term, it can lead to heat rash and sunburn. But it has more severe effects over time, and it’s cumulative, as this article warns. Sun exposure leads to prematurely aging skin – wrinkles, and sunspots, and loss of elasticity. Even more dangerous, sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Some melanoma will be minor and simply require removal. Others can spread to the rest of your body and become life-threatening. Wear sunscreen every day, not just when you’re planning a big event outside and you’re worried about sunburn. You should have a daily face cream that protects against UV rays.
  2. Cover up. Sunscreen can’t do everything. Sometimes the best technique for protecting yourself from the sun is the old-fashioned one. Wear a hat to protect your eyes and face from direct light and glare. Wear longer sleeves to limit your sun exposure. Also remember to seek out shade and bring umbrellas with you for outdoor events. It might seem counterproductive to cover up more when you’re hot, but it can actually protect you from heat stroke and exhaustion.
  3. Guard your eyes. Wearing a hat helps protect your eyes from UV rays, but you’re better off wearing sunglasses to keep your eyes healthy. Much like your skin, your eyes can age prematurely with exposure to sun. UV rays can lead to a higher chance of cataracts and AMD. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so take a close look at your purchases. Do they say that they protect from UVA and UVB rays? If not, they might be even more harmful than not wearing glasses at all, since they encourage your eyes to keep the pupils dilated, which lets in more harmful UV light.
  4. Take precautions when you go camping and hiking too. If you’re in the woods or up in the mountains, you might not feel as hot and so you won’t think as much about how much sun you’re being exposed to. However, you’ll probably get more sun through the day than you usually do during just an hour or two at the pool. So bring sunscreen with you, and be realistic about the effects that the sun is having on you. Seek shade when possible, and drink lots of water. Sun exposure can also create fatigue in your body, which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever slept really well the night after a day spent sunbathing. This might be caused by dehydration, and your body working overtime to regulate chemicals and temperature.
  5. Think outdoor events through. Often, fairs, music festivals, and things like amusement parks can cause a lot of health problems because people aren’t thinking about how much sun and heat they’re getting. The crowds can make things even worse, especially if you’re at a music festival or other event where people are in close quarters. So, as you walk into an event, look around and see where the medical tent is. Plan your time under shade. This link has some great suggestions for being safe at an outdoor event.
  6. Be aware of signs of overexposure. Sometimes, exposure to sun isn’t just about your skin and your eyes. Sun exposure can lead to fainting, or heat stroke. So recognize the symptoms and take care of yourself if you start exhibiting some of these problems:
    1. Dizziness
    2. Faintness
    3. Blackout
    4. Headache
    5. Trouble focusing
    6. Spots in your vision
  7. Hydrate more than you think you have to. You may not feel dehydrated while you’re out and about and being busy. But if you’re spending time in direct sunlight, you will get dehydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink water before, during, and after your time outside.

 

Sun safety is important, but so is making the most of your summer. It’s a great season to meet new people, try new things, and have some fun! This article has some great suggestions for things to do to get the most out of your time, whether it’s in the sun or not. So don’t let the warnings scare you away from doing what you want to this summer. Just be smart!7 summer sun safety tips

My favorite beach products here

My favorite way to stay hydrated here

5 ways to increase your self confidence

No matter who you are, there are always situations where you may wish for a bit more self confidence. I think I was pretty shy as a child and learning to speak to adults and really anyone is something I learned a lot on my mission. While I’m not the most self confident person in the world, I do feel that with practice, I’m able to talk to basically anyone. Here are 5 things that have helped me:

1.Firm handshake – a firm handshake can convey that you are a strong and confident person. You don’t need to use a death grip when shaking someone’s hand but you should also try to avoid the ‘dead fish’ handshake.

2. Good posture – body language says a lot about you and your personality. Standing tall can make you feel and appear more confident even if you are feeling nervous. Pull your shoulders back because you are in charge.

3. Have a quick look to appear ‘put together’  – Doing something small can often help you feel more ‘put together’ with your best face forward and more confident. This doesn’t mean you have to be extra fancy or wear a lot of make up. Often looking your best can help you feel your best. I find that small things like having my nails nice or painted, I feel more ‘put together’. Other small ways to look and feel your best include brushing your hair, adding an accessory like earrings, putting on a lip color, cleaning your shoes from any scuffs, etc.

4. Whiten your teeth – smile with confidence by using a teeth whitener. My favorite is the teeth whitening system from Smile Brilliant (save $25 with code ‘jamtartmd25’). The trays are custom fit to mold to your teeth. It comes with whitening gels to use in the trays followed by a desensitizing gel. To see my previous results, click here.

5. Pretend that everyone likes you – whether it’s meeting new people or giving a presentation or speech, pretend that everyone already likes you and are friends.With this mindset, you can overcome hesitation, fear, or nervousness. Chances are that they like you anyway!

5 ways to increase self confidence

5 ways to increase self confidence

Romper from Carissa Miss, an awesome apparel shop where 100% of the proceeds goes towards the National Footsteps for Fertility grant.

Favorite Exercise Products

Before having kids, my favorite ways to exercise were running outside, cycling, soccer and yoga. Since my time is more limited, I’ve been lucky to find gyms with childcare options. We (the kids and I) go to 24 Hour Fitness every morning and I’ve enjoyed lifting weights, strength training and spin classes. Here are some of my favorite exercise products:

favorite exercise products

Fitness tracker – We’ve still been using our Alta Fitbits and I still enjoy tracking my progress. I feel like we do make more of an effort to move around and walk more. I read and enjoyed this article which rated 87 types of fitness trackers! Definitely valuable information for when we upgrade our current trackers.

favorite exercise products

Shoes – I’ve worn Asics running shoes since high school. I’ve tried a few different brands and always come back to Asics. They are great for my neutral foot position, arch and running stride. For running I prefer a little more sole support. For the gym, I like Nikes  since the sole is pretty basic and good for various types of exercises.

Yoga mat – I’ve had this Gaiam yoga mat for years. It’s been very solid and was affordable, I’ll probably have it for years to come.

Pants – I love Zella, Ahtleta and Lululemon 7/8 pants (or petite version). They have great stretch while keeping their form. They aren’t the most affordable but very high quality and worth the cost. I recently tried glyder apparel pants which are very soft and stretchy but don’t have as much form as other pants. For running shorts, I love Lululemon’s 4 way stretch shorts.

Tops – I love Lululemon tanks because they are lightweight and very soft.

Socks – I prefer ASICS socks, they don’t slide down or move around while exercising.

Hydro Flask – staying hydrated is so important to your overall health and I’m still loving my Hydro Flask because it doesn’t leak or collect condensation.

Nike backpack – I take a ‘sport’ backpack (similar to this one) to the gym to hold my water, towel, keys, and diapers.

Foam roller – Still one of my favorite products that is also very affordable! Foam rollers are easy to use and basically a free massage. I love using mine especially on sore hamstrings.

favorite exercise products

Foot roller– I found this foot roller at Homegoods for around $5. It’s a great, cheap massage for the arch and ball or your foot.  You just roll it under the sole of your foot (while sitting in a chair) and apparently you can use these cold or hot although I’ve only tried at regular room temperature. I love using it when my feet feel sore, especially after a long day of walking.

favorite exercise products

Blender Bottle  – This blender bottle is perfect for making protein drinks. I’ve still been using the strawberry protein powder I posted about here. This bottle does a great job breaking up and mixing the powder without any clumps. While I still don’t crave protein drinks because of their flavor, I’ve found that 1) it serves it’s purpose of filling you up with protein and 2) it tastes much better colder and when the foam has settled (from shaking it).

Peppermint oil – This combined with the foam roller are my favorite things for sore muscles to refresh them. I used to buy peppermint oil in a roller bottle at a drug store but recently found them for a better deal on Amazon.     favorite exercise products

What are you drinking? 5 drinks that are good for you

With all the trends of specialty waters, sodas, juices, shakes, etc it can be confusing what is actually good for you without a lot of research. My personal preference is water – for every meal, ha, ha! I’m not a fan of milk because of the texture and taste. I even eat cereal dry which I know is weird! I occasionally drink juice because I try to limit sugar and sometimes drink herbal tea (my favorite is peppermint). We’re going on a staycation to the beach later this week. We’ll only be about an hour from our house but it’ll be nice to relax! Thanks, Maurine for guest posting today!

5 healthy drinks

5 Drinks that Actually Are Good for You

By: Maurine Anderson

There seems to be a lot of misconception in the nutrition world as to which drinks are actually healthy for you. Fruit juice, for example, is commonly deemed a healthy drink option that counts towards your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, yet many health experts are quick to point out that fruit juice contains little fiber and is full of sugar. According to multiple studies, in fact, fruit juice seems to have many of the same effects on the body that soft drinks do.

So what drinks are healthy, then? Here is a look at five drinks that truly are beneficial to your health.

Water

Water, of course, tops this list. Water offers so many health benefits that it would be impossible to name them all in this post. For the skin, for example, water helps bring nutrients to skin cells, maintains skin elasticity, staves off wrinkles, and combats disorders like psoriasis and eczema. For the heart, staying hydrated helps the heart pump blood through blood vessels and reduces risk of heart attack. This article, meanwhile, points out that water also promotes stronger teeth, as it flushes sugars from the mouth, cuts down on sugary drink consumption, and may even contain fluoride if it comes from the tap. Long story short, water is vital to helping every aspect of your body function efficiently on a daily basis.

In addition to all of these health benefits, it doesn’t hurt that water is the most affordable thing you could be drinking. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, you can always invest in a water filter pitcher or a water filter for your faucet. You might also consider installing a water softener as this article suggests, since hard minerals can alter the taste of your tap water. Try infusing your water with lemon juice or fruit for added flavor and health benefits!

Tea

Tea is another immensely healthy drink option. For starters, as this article mentions, drinking herbal tea or green tea is a great way to increase your daily water intake if you have trouble getting in 64 ounces of water each day. In addition, depending on the particular ingredients of the tea, it will offer a myriad of health benefits on top of proper hydration. Chamomile tea, for example, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-ulcer, antispasmodic, and astringent properties thanks to the dried chamomile flower it contains. Açai berry tea, meanwhile, can boost energy levels, improve mental sharpness, regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and enhance nutrient absorption. Tea, in general, has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a stronger immune system, a healthier digestive system, lower risk of heart attack and stroke, and even reduced risk of cancer.

Note: One thing to keep in mind here is that too much caffeine can have negative effects on the body. So in this case, when it comes to caffeinated teas, you can have too much of a good thing. In addition, adding sugar to your tea will, of course, essentially negate many of the benefits you get from the tea.

Low-Fat Milk

Setting aside the fact that some people are lactose intolerant and therefore cannot digest milk properly, milk is another healthy drink option that is rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of calcium, which is known to promote strong and healthy bones and teeth. It is also often fortified with vitamin D, which regulates calcium and phosphorus absorption and is hard to find in other foods.

Raw Coconut Water

Ever tried unsweetened and unflavored coconut water? Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Many health-focused athletes are starting to opt for coconut water to replace fluids after a run, instead of sugary and acidic sports drinks. It’s also a good source of fiber, which promotes better digestion. When selecting coconut water, just be sure that it’s raw and not pasteurized—the pasteurization process boils away many of the nutrients found naturally in coconut water.

100% Fruit or Vegetable Juice (When Enjoyed Properly)

Don’t get the impression that they cannot be part of a healthy diet. Pomegranate juice, for example, is packed with antioxidants that can prevent inflammation and reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Orange juice is rich in vitamin C that neutralizes free radicals and promotes cell repair. Beet juice, meanwhile, can lower blood pressure, increase stamina, and improve blood flow to the brain. Just be sure when selecting juice that there are no added sugars and that it is indeed 100 percent juice—and be sure to enjoy it along with plenty of water throughout the day. It can also be a good idea to dilute the juice that you drink with some water.

coconut water 5 healthy drinks

5 healthy drinks