• Top 10 Greatest Medical Discoveries of All Time

    Medicine is an ever-evolving field. New breakthroughs are being made all the time, but there are some discoveries that will always stand out as changing human thinking forever. Thanks to medicine, diseases have been eradicated, babies have been created and illnesses that used to be serious are now relatively mild. So, be grateful for living in the 21st century as we take a look at the Top 10 Greatest Medical Discoveries of All Time.

    1. Anesthetic

    If you’ve ever visited a museum of naval history, you will inevitably have come across a display that shows how they used to do surgical procedures on board ships in the 1800s. Amputations were done on a table, with the injured man biting on a piece of wood to stop from screaming. You probably shuddered then and are probably shuddering now.

    Fortunately, the late 19th century saw the discovery of anesthetia, which numbs all sensation in the patient. An early anaesthetic was cocaine, first isolated by Karl Koller. It was an effective numbing agent, but as we now know it is also addictive and open to abuse. Around the same time, chloroform was also being used to numb pain (as demonstrated by John Snow during one of Queen Victoria’s births), but this too had potentially lethal side-effects. Luckily, today’s anesthetics are both effective and safe.

    2. Birth Control

    Another huge difference that occurred in the late 19th century was the drop in birth rate as people started choosing to have smaller families. In the UK, for instance, the birth rate was 35.5 births per 1,000 people in 1870 and was down to 29 per 1,000 in 1900. This was, in part, due to better education about sex and reproduction but it was also due to better methods of birth control.

    In the US, the “birth control movement” started a few years later, when a group of radicals, led by Emma Goodman, decided to start educating their fellow women about contraception to try and control the number of unwanted pregnancies. Their campaign was eventually successful and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was formed in 1942. Birth control remains unpopular with some religious groups, but it has had a profound and undeniable social effect.

    3. MMR

    Another controversial one now, with the combined vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. It was licensed in 1971, by Maurice Hilleman and immediately had a significant effect on the number of measles cases reported, with hundreds of thousands in the US during the 1960s (1966 saw 450,000) reduced to thousands by the 1980s.

    The controversy occurred much later, in 1998, when Andrew Wakefield was paid by lawyers to find a way to discredit the MMR. He did this effectively, by publishing a paper claiming that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. The research has since been entirely discredited, but the effects on vaccination rates was devastating, with the officially eliminated disease reoccurring in the US. Similarly, in the UK the number of measles cases had dropped to 56 in 1998 and was up to 1348 in 2008. There is also an epidemic in the UK in 2013, largely around Wales. MMR rates are now increasing again, thanks to emergency vaccination programs and it can be safely said that the MMR is a significant medical breakthrough.

    4. X-Ray

    A medical procedure that is now so common that we take it for granted, the X-Ray was discovered by accident. Its inventor was Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen and on 8 Nov, 1895 he discovered that his cathode ray tube could produce some unusual images. A week later, he x-rayed his wife’s hand and the resulting image was close to our modern x-rays – her bones and wedding ring were clearly visible, but flesh was not. He named it “X-ray” as the x stood for “unknown”, but they are occasionally known as Röntgen rays in his native Germany. He was awarded the first Nobel Prize in 1901 and his invention continues to be used in hospitals everywhere.

    5. Insulin

    Another breakthrough that is used on a daily basis by diabetics, insulin is the life-saving hormone that keeps our blood sugars in check. Diabetics are either missing this hormone entirely (with type 1 diabetes) or produce it but not in a way their bodies can use (type 2). It was first isolated in 1921, by scientists from the University of Toronto, who were later awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery. The following year, a 14-year-old called Leonard Thompson  became the first human to receive artificial insulin after coming close to a diabetic coma. He rallied after his second dose (the first was found to be impure) and lived another 13 years.

    It’s hard to imagine, given that diabetics can now live very normal lives, but Type 1 Diabetes used to be a terminal disease. Apart from diet management, there was nothing that could be done to combat the disease. Nowadays, it still isn’t curable but is manageable thanks to insulin – just as well, given that obesity rates are rising, and diabetes rates with them. Insulin could become the most useful drug in the world.

    6. IVF

    While birth control was a major breakthrough in limiting unwanted pregnancies, its opposite in many ways,  is just as important. In-vitro fertilization is a way of creating pregnancies, for people who have no other way of getting pregnant. The history of IVF dates back to the 1950s, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the first “test-tube baby” was born. The second was born a year later in Scotland, although there were unconfirmed reports that there had been a baby born in India between the two.

    As with any science that is seen to interfere with natural conception, IVF has been controversial. It is still outlawed by the Catholic Church, with its teaching describing babies born through IVF as a “commodity”. There has also been criticism from other quarters about the multi-million dollar nature of the IVF industry and the implications of allowing couples to “design” their baby by selecting embryos based on gender etc. But for childless couples, IVF is a miracle and it should be recognized as an amazing breakthrough.

    7. Germ Theory

    The discovery of germs was such a huge moment in the history of medicine that it completely changed the way that we think. Prior to that, patients were advised to carry around things that smelt bad, in order to ward off the “bad air” or miasma, particles of decaying matter that got into the air and caused diseases. The actual cause of disease – germs – were discovered by various scientists, but the breakthrough came in 1854, when John Snow linked an outbreak of cholera to a specific water pump in Broad Street, London.

    By isolating the source of the disease, he could then analyze what was in the water causing it. He tracked it down to an old cesspit, over which the pump was built and specifically a baby’s nappy that contained the cholera germs. However, his work was rejected by the government of the time, as the idea of people breathing in other people’s fecal matter was considered unseemly. A few years later, Louis Pasteur managed to prove germ theory in laboratory conditions and it is his name that is generally linked to the theory. The work of both men lives on, however, in much-improved sanitation and consequent lower levels of disease.

    8. Penicillin

    Another groundbreaking drug that has become so widely used that it seems commonplace. Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928, almost entirely by accident – a petri dish left overnight showed that a mold was actively repelling the bacteria around it. Fleming developed the anti-biotic and it is now used to treat a number of viruses and infections. A fortuitous discovery that has affected medicine in a profound way ever since.

    9. Smallpox Vaccination

    This is a real success story for vaccinations. Smallpox was once a horror of a disease – killing in its millions – but it has been entirely eradicated thanks to the vaccine. The last recorded case was in 1977, but the worldwide figures for the 20th century still stand at around 30 million deaths. It was also notorious for killing thousands in the colonies, as colonists brought the pox with them and passed it on to the natives. The vaccine was discovered by Edward Jenner, who had learned that a milkmaid was immune to the disease because she’d been exposed to cowpox. Jenner isolated the cowpox and used them as a successful vaccine. One of the greatest achievements in medical history.

    10. DNA

    As amazing as all the discoveries so far have been, there is only one which unpicks the fabric of who we are – and that’s DNA. It dictates which physical attributes about us, from eye color to genetic disease. It has played its part in IVF, forensics and so many other fields. As with many on our list, the discovery was the work of several people, but it was Francis Crick and James Watson who first produced the double-helix model and subsequently won the Nobel Prize. An amazing insight into what makes us.


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  • 5 Surprising Reasons for your Weight Gain

    It’s pretty galling to see the scales creep up on you when you can’t think of a reason why. You’re eating the same food, doing the same exercise but still the weight’s going on.
    There are plenty of explanations that you may not have thought of:

    1. Lifestyle habits may cause weight gain. See if you are guilty of the following:

    • Stopped Smoking

    According to 2012 study, people who cease smoking gain about four to five kilos to their weight. Why? First, whenever you stopped smoking, you may feel increased hunger pangs that lead to overeating. Nicotine increases metabolism but many people do not reduce their calorie intake to compensate for the slowdown after they quit the bad habit. Lastly, since nicotine dulls your taste buds, kicking the habit tends you to savor the food better, resulting to overindulgence and weight gain.

    • Lack of sleep

    If you are still awake at the wee hours of the day, the odds are greater that you will eat some late night snack that will add to your calorie intake. If you are sleep deprived, changes in hormone levels increase hunger and appetite and make you feel less full after eating.

    • Stress
      When stress hits you, you secrete the hormone, cortisol that causes an increase in appetite. This signals you to reach for high calorie comfort foods in times of stress, causing you to gain weight in no time.

    2. Hormone changes may lead you to add more pounds. Here are some hormonal conditions that contribute to weight gain

    • Hypothyroidism
      If you feel weak, tired, cold and gaining weight, your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone. Insufficient thyroid hormone results to slow metabolism; thus, weight gain. Likewise, thyroid functioning at the lower end of the normal range adds pounds.
    • Menopause
      Once you hit menopause, age contributes to slow metabolism and decreased muscle mass, burning fewer calories.  If fat accumulates around your waist not around your hips and thighs, your weight gain associates to menopause.
    • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
      This hormone problem is common among women of childbearing age. Women with this condition are resistant to insulin that may cause weight gain. The weight tends to gravitate to the abdomen, putting these women at higher risk of heart disease.
    • Cushing’s syndrome
      Weight gain is a common symptom of Cushing syndrome, a condition that exposes you to too much cortisol hormone. Exposure to this stress hormone cause weight gain and other abnormalities. Cushing syndrome can happen if you take corticosteroid for conditions like asthma, arthritis or lupus. It can also occur when your adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone. The weight gain may be prominent on areas such as neck, face, upper back or waist.

    3. The medications you are taking can be a culprit for your added pounds. Check if you are taking the following medicines:

    • Antidepressants

    The sad fact about taking some antidepressants is its side effect – weight gain. This side effect may occur in up to 25 percent of people who take these medications for long-term. If you found that that this the reason of your weight gain, discuss with your doctor about the possibility of switching you to a different drug.

    • Corticosteroids

    These anti-inflammatory steroid medications can cause you to adding pounds due to fluid retention and increased appetite. The severity of this side effect of corticosteroids depends on the dosage strength as well as the length of time you have taking the medicine. When you take this drug, you will notice redistribution of fat to other parts of the body like the face, back of the neck or abdomen. Consult with your physician if you are bothered by the side effects of corticosteroids.

    • Other prescribed medications

    Other several prescription drugs are associated with weight gain. The following medications include antipsychotic drugs, as well as treatment for migraine, seizures, high blood pressure and diabetes. Check with your physician what kind of medication that suits your condition without causing disrupting side effects like weight gain.

    4. Dehydration

    Dehydration can seriously affect the mechanics of your body. It affects how your body burns fat and can encourage an excessive calorie consumption. Also, dehydration can slow down your metabolism, cause fatigue, digestive disorders, and the energy needed for your body to maintain or lose weight.

    5. Overtraining/ Overexercise

    Over training is also a common reason that people tend to gain weight. Long workouts can take a toll on your emotion and psychological well being, which is very important to weight loss. Completing longer workouts will put unnecessary pressure on yourself which will cause over stress.

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  • 10 reasons why it is essential to drink enough water

    Has it occurred to you today that you are thirsty? Guess what – by the time you experience the sensation of the thirst, you are already dehydrated. That thirst is your body calling for re-hydration.

    Your body is composed of roughly 60% water. That means when we are dehydrated – and most of us spend our days constantly dehydrated to some degree – we are affecting the performance of the majority of our body.Nearly all of our systems do not function as well without the proper water intake.

    So, really, what does this mean? Why should we drink more water?

    1. Water is life- It’s that important. Depending on our environment, we can live only a few days without water – maybe a week. We can live much longer without food. For most of us, we should prioritize the consumption of water far more than we currently do.
    2. Prevent cancer. Yes, that’s right – various research says staying hydrated can reduce risk of colon cancer by 45%, bladder cancer by 50%, and possibly reduce breast cancer risk as well.
    3. Be less cranky. Research says dehydration can affect your mood and make you grumpy and confused. Think clearer and be happier by drinking more water.
    4. Perform better. Proper hydration contributes to increased athletic performance. Water composes 75% of our muscle tissue! Dehydration can lead to weakness, fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalance.
    5. Lose weight. Sometimes we think we are hungry, when actually we are thirsty. Our body just starts turning on all the alarms when we ignore it. For those of you trying to drop some pounds, staying hydrated can serve as an appetite suppressant and help with weight loss.
    6. Have less joint pain. Drinking water can reduce pain in your joints by keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated. This is actually how glucosamine helps reduce joint pain, by aiding in cartilage’s absorption of water.
    7. Flush out waste and bacteria. Our digestive system needs water to function properly. Waste is flushed out in the form of urine and sweat. If we don’t drink water, we don’t flush out waste and it collects in our body causing a myriad of problems. Also combined with fiber, water can cure constipation.
    8. Prevent headaches. Sometimes headaches can be caused by dehydration, so drinking water can prevent or alleviate that nasty head pain. Next time your head hurts, try drinking water.
    9. Make your skin glow. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Regular and plentiful water consumption can improve the color and texture of your skin by keeping it building new cells properly. Drinking water also helps the skin do it’s job of regulating the body’s temperature through sweating.
    10. Feed your body. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body. Water serves at the body’s transportation system and when we are dehydrated things just can’t get around as well.


    Quick rules for drinking water:

    • Drink half your body weight in ounces of water (if you weight 16lbs, drink 8oz of water each day).
    • Carry a bottle everywhere with you as a reminder to keep drinking.
    • Eat raw fruits and vegetables – they are dense in water. You can get water from food, not just from beverages.
    • Drink water and other fluids until you urinate frequently and with light color.

    Here’s how to drink water at the correct time to maximizes its effectiveness on your Body:

    • Drink two glasses of water after waking up – helps activate internal organs.
    • Drink one glass of water 30 Minutes before meal – helps digestion
    • Drink one glass of water before taking a bath – helps lower blood pressure
    • Drink one glass of water before sleep – may help to avoid stroke or heart attack.

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  • Home Remedies for Acidity

    Do you suffer from a Gastro esophageal reflux disease or acidity? Do you take antacids every day?

    Acidity or acid reflux is most commonly known as heartburn. This is the pain you experience in your chest area through your throat. GERD occurs when the bilious materials, acid content, food or pancreatic juices travel back to the esophagus.

    This acid goes up the esophagus and causes inflammation, scarring and irritation. This can decrease the size of the area of the esophagus. Hoarseness, burning, nausea, coughing, asthma, coughing, eroded teeth enamel and wheezing are some of the symptoms of acidity. Having GERD or acid reflux increases the risk of esophageal cancer.

    Finding the root cause of the acidity is key to curing it. People who are overweight or older are more prone to acid reflux. The abdominal fat affects the esophageal sphincter, this is the muscle that prevents stomach contents from splashing back into the esophagus. The sphincter can be weakened due to age and weight. This muscle can also be affected by certain foods such as caffeine, spicy food, alcohol, nicotine and more.

    Acidity can be cured. Here are some home remedies you can try to relieve you from GERD or acid reflux.

    Aloe Vera Juice

    Aloe Vera can help lower the acid contents of the stomach and remove the stomach spasms. Drink at least two ounces of aloe vera juice a day. Pick aloe vera juice that is unprocessed. Processed aloe vera will have a milder effect on the body.

    Lemon Juice

    Lessen the symptoms of acidity by drinking a cup of fresh lemon juice and a cup of warm water in the morning before breakfast. Drinking this will help balance out the acid levels in the stomach and promote better digestion.

    Baking Soda

    This is one of those remedies that only people with a strong stomach can take. The taste will be highly unpleasant, but is surely effective. Before going to sleep, drink a mixture of water and baking soda. This will balance out the alkaline and acid levels in your stomach. The mixture is composed of one tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of water.

    Weight Loss

    When we gain weight, especially in the abdominal area. The ability of the esophageal sphincter decreases. It stops the muscle’s ability to prevent back wash of acids and bile from the stomach to enter the esophagus. Excess fat in this area can also be causing the unwanted pressure in the stomach. This will push the acid in the stomach and force it to pump upwards, especially when we are lying down. This is especially hard for people who suffer from hyperacidity. The stomach produces too much acid that causes the burning sensation in your stomach. The strong acids combined with heartburn will cause internal problems such as scarring and cyst. You can lower the symptoms of GERD and decrease the production of acid by losing at least ten percent of your body fat.

    Removing Acidic Food from the Diet

    This may not remove your acidity problems, but it can surely lessen the severity of the symptoms. Removing foods that can increase your stomach acids such as caffeine, fat, grease and acid rich foods can remove some of the discomfort in your stomach and lessen the chance of heartburn.

    Cold Milk

    Milk contains high amounts of calcium that can help lessen the production of stomach acids and absorb excess acid. This will lower the symptoms of hyper acidity and give you instant relief. Drinking it cold will also help with the burning sensation in the throat and stomach.


    Bananas are good source of potassium and this can help reduce the production of stomach acids. There are also components in the fruit that can increase the production of stomach mucus. This mucus creates a protective layer on the stomach walls to prevent damage from strong stomach acids. Bananas also give a quick relief for acidity.

    Tulsi Leaves

    This type of plant like the banana produces stomach mucus that can help protect the stomach from damage. Chew on five or six tulsi leaves to help lessen the discomfort of hyperacidity.

    Tired of taking antacids every day? Skip the medication and try these natural ways to get rid of acidity. These effective home remedies have been used for centuries and have proven their efficiency. These remedies, when taken in the right amount and intervals, have no side effects. These may be all natural ingredients but if you have certain allergies or sensitivity to food, consult your doctor.

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  • 6 simple tips for reducing your risk of kidney disease

    In honor of National Kidney Month in March and World Kidney Day on March 13th, the National Kidney Foundation encourages everyone to learn about these bean-shaped organs and how to keep yours healthy.

    For starters, most people are born with two kidneys, but you only need one. Each day, the kidneys filter 200 liters of blood, removing 2 liters of toxins, wastes and water in the process. Wastes and water ultimately leave the body as urine, and through this process, your kidneys are able to regulate the body’s fluid levels. The kidneys also release hormones that regulate blood pressure, produce red blood cells and help maintain healthy bones.

    Often the kidneys are damaged slowly over time, which is one of the reasons why you might not “feel sick” until the kidneys are failing, making awareness, prevention and early detection of kidney disease critical. Protect your kidneys with the National Kidney Foundation’s six tips for reducing your risk of kidney disease.

    1. Get tested. If you’re at risk for kidney disease, it’s important to get your kidneys checked during your annual physical. Even the best of us can procrastinate when it comes to our yearly trip to the doctor, but prevention and testing go hand-in-hand. The National Kidney Foundation’s mascot, Sidney the Kidney, even has a music video to help inspire you to get tested. There are two simple tests to check for kidney disease:

    • A urine test for albumin, a type of protein. Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney damage. When there is too much protein in the urine, it means that the kidneys’ filters have been damaged and are starting to leak protein.

    • A blood test for creatinine. Creatinine is a waste product (from muscle metabolism) that is removed by the kidney. Creatinine levels are used to calculate your estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR). The eGFR reflects how well the kidneys are filtering wastes from the blood.

    2. Control blood pressure and blood sugar levels. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes of kidney disease. The kidney is a “vascular organ, meaning it contains many blood vessels. Therefore, diseases that damage the blood vessels, including high blood pressure and diabetes, can damage the kidneys. Even “slightly” high blood pressure (pre-hypertension) and elevated blood sugar levels, commonly referred to as “pre-diabetes,” can damage the kidneys. Don’t let the “PRE” prevent you from taking them seriously. Manage these conditions to protect your kidneys.

    3. Step on the scale. Maintaining a healthy weight has important implications for your kidneys. Being overweight means that the kidneys have to work harder to filter out toxins and to meet the metabolic demands of the increased body mass. Obesity also increases your chance of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, two major risk factors for kidney disease. Weight loss can help reduce your risk.

    4. Commit to quit. Smoking can worsen kidney disease and diseases that damage the kidneys, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Quitting can be difficult, but it is one of the most important lifestyle changes that you can make to protect your kidneys and impact your overall health.

    5. Get moving and watch what you eat. Because damage to the kidneys usually happens slowly over time, daily decisions make a difference in preventing kidney disease. Making good choices each day such as incorporating physical activity and eating healthy foods will reduce your risk of developing kidney disease. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is balanced and kidney-friendly. Reduce your salt intake and watch for high sodium levels in processed foods, as these can lead to high blood pressure and harm the kidneys.

    6. Exercise caution when taking pain medications. Many prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, including pain medications, are filtered by the kidneys. This means that your kidneys break down and remove these medications from the body. Always read labels and weigh the risks and benefits of taking a particular medication. Avoid excessive use of medications that can harm the kidneys, such as ibuprofen and naproxen.

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  • Home Remedies for Toothache

    We all are scared of visiting a dentist and nobody can deny that. Dentists can frighten the living daylights out of someone and this is applicable on people of all age groups. Whether it comes to a regular oral checkup or for some diagnosis, nobody wants to pay a visit to the dentist because we all know whatever the reason is; it will end up in severe pain. Oral health is something that we cannot keep a tab on regularly because we cannot really see what’s going on in the inside of our mouth. We can only most keep our teeth and gums clean; beyond that we won’t really know what problems our oral health is suffering.

    We get an iota of hint that something might be wrong only when we start having toothaches, bleeding gums, etc. Toothaches can vary widely, from mid soreness to an unbearable throbbing pain around the jaws. Some of the reasons that can lead to toothaches are cavity formation, infection, exposed tooth root, cracked tooth, gum diseases, loose filling, jaw joint disorder, etc. Toothaches occur when the central region or the pulp of the tooth gets irritated or swollen. This happens primarily because the pulp consists of several highly sensitive nerve endings. If you are tired of your incessant toothaches and cannot wait till you get an appointment with a dentist, you can opt for natural remedies to alleviate the pain. In this article, we will tell you about a few effective natural remedies that you can try to relieve the pain in your teeth temporarily.

    Pepper and Salt

    Salt and pepper, when mixed together, form a great combo that works miraculously on your toothache. This is because both the ingredients are packed with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. Do the following to get relief from pain.

    • Take pepper and common salt in equal amounts and mix them properly
    • Add a few drops of water to the mixture to form an even paste
    • Apply this paste directly on the tooth that’s paining
    • Allow this paste to sit for a few minutes
    • Repeat this remedy for the next few days every day


    Garlic is a very famous and potent remedy for several forms of pains. It also works amazingly when it comes to providing immense relief from an incessant toothache. This is because garlic is naturally rich in antibiotic and other useful medicinal properties that help in alleviating the pain. The remedy for toothache is:

    • Crush a garlic clove (alternatively you can use garlic powder too) and mix it with some table or black salt
    • Apply it directly on the affected tooth to alleviate the pain
    • Additionally, you can also chew on a couple of garlic cloves to get relief
    • Keep repeating this treatment for a few days


    Cloves are naturally packed with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anesthetic properties which play an important role in providing relief from pain and fighting infection.

    Take two cloves and grind them properly.

    • Mix the grinded cloves in a little olive or vegetable oil and apply the mixture on the affected tooth.
    • Alternatively, you can dab a cotton ball in clove oil and rub it directly on the sore tooth.
    • You can also mix a few drops of clove oil in about half a glass of water and use the solution as a mouth rinse.


    Onions are packed with antiseptic and antimicrobial properties that are capable of providing immense relief from toothaches. They also help in killing the germs that are causing the infection. If you start having a toothache, do the following without any further delay:

    • Chew on a raw onion for a few minutes; this will help in relieving the pain.
    • If you are unable to chew it, just place a piece of raw onion directly on the aching tooth or gum.
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  • Stay Away From These 8 unhealthy drinks

    Here are eight popular beverages most people think to be pretty acceptable or even healthy, but they might be surprised to discover that they’re actually much better off by ditching most of these entirely or replacing them with other beverages (or foods) that do a better job at keeping them hydrated and offering nutritional value.

    1. Energy Drinks

    Everyone knows at least one person who can’t get through his day without a Red Bull, Rockstar, or Monster Energy drink. He swears it gives him the kick they need to stay alert and get through all the crazy things he needs to do, especially if he’s been running low on sleep lately. It’s a sugar and caffeine addict’s dream beverage.

    You might get a nice short-term burst of energy from one of these drinks, but you’ll probably crash later on — if not from the caffeine, then certainly from all that sugar. Just like other caffeinated and sugar-filled beverages, energy drinks can be highly addictive, sometimes causing you to suffer nasty side effects like the jitters, increased anxiety, and more headaches or migraines.

    2. Coffee Drinks

    Alright, so most people probably know on some level that their favorite Starbucks drink isn’t all that healthy. For some reason, though, tons of people are still convinced it’s a good idea to use all the calories that come packed into their lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos to replace real food for breakfast.

    You may be getting an 800-calorie burst of sweet, frothy energy, but the quality of those calories earn you an F in terms of nutrition. All that saturated fat from cream-based ingredients plus sugar-loaded syrups and flavoring leave you with empty calories devoid of any significant nutritional value, plus the tendency to cause you to crash and feel sluggish later on.

    3. Vitamin Water

    The appeal behind certain brands of vitamin-infused beverages is pretty self-explanatory. If it has vitamins, it’s got to be healthier than pretty much any other drink, right? That’s exactly what the companies that produce and sell them want you to think.

    It’s true that vitamin beverages have vitamins added to them, but don’t think for a second that it makes up for all the other junk you can find added to them too. For example, one bottle of Vitaminwater contains a whopping 33 grams of sugar. That’s even more than what you get from the average can of soda.

    If you really want vitamins, try asking your doctor for an appropriate supplement. Or better yet, eat a balanced diet of real and healthy foods, and drink lots of water. You can’t a better mix of nutrients from anywhere else other than a variety of fresh plant-based foods and lean sources of protein.

    4. Zero-calorie Drinks

    Anyone who used to be a fan of soda of juice is usually a fan of zero-calorie drinks and drink mixes. You know, they’re either those little packets of powder you add to your water to make them taste like juice, or they’re already flavored and sold in cans or bottles at the grocery store.

    Obviously, the “zero-calorie” component makes it an attractive choice in comparison to full-calorie drinks. People think they can drink as much of this stuff as they want and never gain a pound.

    Shockingly enough though, your body is smarter than that. When it senses something sweet being consumed, it anticipates calories. Since these super sweet drink mixes don’t have any calories, your body gets confused, and then ramps up your hunger hormones so you start to crave high-calorie foods like chips, crackers, cookies, and anything else you can quickly shove into your mouth.

    Try squeezing some lemon or lime into some sparkling water for a change. It may not be as sweet as you like, but at least it won’t lead to terrible cravings later on.

    5. Sports Drinks

    Gym rats, endurance runners, and people who do a lot of physically demanding work often rely on drinks like Gatorade and Powerade. For a while now, they’ve been successfully positioned in the market as the best drinks for rehydrating and replenishing electrolytes.

    The bad news about these types of drinks is that most of them contain high-fructose corn syrup, too much sodium, and almost just as much sugar as soda. Similar to energy drinks, sports drinks can also cause you to experience a short burst of great performance followed by a plummeting crash.

    Unless you’re spending all day trekking through a hot dessert on foot, you don’t need this type of drink. The trick is to hydrate (with plain water) and feed yourself enough healthy carbs and protein before you work out. Adding a very small amount of unprocessed sea salt to your water as you sip on it through your workout can be a helpful option too, but not totally necessary unless you’re working out for a prolonged period.

    6. Freshly Squeezed Fruit Juice

    What could be so bad about freshly squeezed fruit juice? The general assumption is that it’s healthier than the stuff you buy preprocessed in cartons, jugs, bottles, and cans. Juicing your own fruits (and even veggies) means you get the fresh stuff without all the added sugar, preservatives, and other nasty junk that often gets mixed into the store-bought stuff.

    There’s just one big problem with juicing, though. You miss out on fiber, which keeps you fuller longer and prevents that blood sugar spike you experience from eating stuff that’s far too sweet. Sure, you get most of the vitamins and minerals from using fresh ingredients, but you basically just end up consuming pure sugar, which really needs to be balanced with fiber.

    You have two options to fix this: either start consuming your fruits and veggies whole, or switch from juicing to making smoothies. Just drop the full fruit or veggie into a blender with some other ingredients, water, and ice, and you’ll still get the benefit of the whole thing in liquid form.

    7. Coconut Water

    There’s a big trend in the health and fitness world concerning coconut water these days. To be specific, health fanatics and super athletes believe it to be the Holy Grail of hydration and a natural, low-calorie alternative to sports drinks for being so high in potassium.

    This is one drink that there’s been a lot of debate over lately. The health benefits that coconut water has to provide are actually hugely exaggerated, and chugging a bottle of the stuff while you workout or after you’re done isn’t any better than eating something with sodium or potassium before you work out, like a banana, in addition to drinking plenty of water.

    Some athletes swear by it, though. So if you love coconut water and you think it helps, you can keep drinking it — just don’t entirely depend on it in place of real food and plain water, and make sure you choose a brand that doesn’t add any sweeteners or use a concentrate instead of the fresh stuff.

    8. Almond Milk

    Almond milk has quickly become everyone’s favorite alternative to cow’s milk. It’s affordable, it tastes good, it goes great with smoothies, and it’s an ideal choice for those who are sensitive to dairy. Derived from almonds, some fans of the drink are led to believe that they offer all or most of the nutritional benefits of the actual nut itself.

    As it turns out, almond milk is only made up of about two percent of real almonds, therefore lacking most of the healthy fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals you get from eating the nuts in their solid form. As if that weren’t depressing enough, some types of almond milk have added sugar to sweeten them up, burdening you with more unnecessary and empty calories.

    You’re better off drinking a cold glass of water and snacking on a handful of raw almonds. Even for an extra 160 calories or so, at least you’ll be satiated and get the full nutritional benefit of what almonds have to offer.

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