Eating sensibly during pregnancy  

Those nine months of pregnancy are obviously fraught times for women. But there are many activities you can indulge in, in order to make the experience pleasant, and more importantly, as healthy as possible. After all, as well as your own wellbeing, your primary concern will be that your baby is given the best possible start.
Deciding what to eat during this period is one of the most crucial decisions to take. The good news is that just because you happen to be pregnant is no reason why making diet choices should be too onerous. Even if you find out you are to be the mother of twins or triplets, you can still choose from a variety of foods in order that you (and your unborn) get access to a full range of delicious nutrients.
A common question asked by expectant mothers is what foods are safest for me to eat? Fruit and vegetables are a great choice. As well as being relatively inexpensive, these are packed full of minerals, fibre and vitamins. You should aim to be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, during the pregnancy. The best aspect of eating these is the fact there are now so many to choose from, all of which can be easily prepared in various ways.
You should also be considering eating a variety of starchy foods. This includes rice, pasta, potatoes and bread. Foodstuffs such as these are excellent sources of vitamins, fibre and energy. In order to maintain a healthy balanced diet during the nine months, it is important to inject your daily intake with these, along with the fruit and vegetables mentioned. When eating bread it is preferable that you choose the wholegrain varieties where possible. Brown rice or pasta is also much higher in fibre.
Your diet should also include a range of protein sources. The best examples of this are eggs, beans, fresh fish, tinned fish, and meat. In the case of the latter, always opt for lean meat. When it comes to preparing these dishes, it is important to ensure that chicken, pork, or even burgers or sausages, are thoroughly cooked through.
The old adage that states everything in moderation is acceptable certainly applies to pregnancy eating. It is only natural that you will feel like supplementing your diet of fruit, vegetables, starchy food and proteins with a rationed amount of drinks or foods that are relatively high in their content of fat and sugar. The key aspect of this, of course, is rationing. While there is no need to be completely abstinent, and it is still okay to enjoy the occasional sugary fizzy drink, crisps, or biscuits, it is important not to over-indulge.
Many women develop all manner of cravings during this period, but what should always be lurking at the back of your mind is the fact that eating too much sugary food can lead to you putting on too much weight. While this is not ideal at the best of times, during pregnancy it can have adverse effects on your health by increasing your blood pressure. Where your baby's health is concerned this should obviously be avoided. 
Enjoy detergent food  

Considering the calorific qualities of your daily meals is only one aspect that should always be under your firm attention. It is one thing keeping an eye on how what you eat will affect your weight, as well as your overall health. But another thing to look out for is what effect anything you ingest will be having on your oral hygiene.
When it comes to keeping your teeth white and healthy-looking, there are certain foods that are far better than others. These can loosely be termed ‘detergent foods'. The number one quality these should possess is that they should be crisp and firm.
The obvious advantage of this of oral hygiene is that unlike brushing teeth that can occasionally be forgotten, we all have to eat every day. All that rubbing up and down of your teeth with a brush can eventually seem like a bit of a chore. But choosing foods with proactive cleaning properties can be exciting. As you get into detergent foods you'll build up your own favourites – foods that you don't just enjoy for their taste, but also for their nutritional and bacteria-slaying properties!
Foodstuffs falling into this category are excellent for giving your teeth a rigorous workout, basically by the force of friction. In much the same way as your toothbrush will rub against the enamel, as well as scraping along the gums, these foods will help to remove plaque or bacteria by applying pressure. A lot of fruits and vegetables seem almost bespoke-designed to achieve the optimum detergent effect. If these were to be arranged into any sort of league table, then those examples that would constantly be battling for the premiership trophy would include celery, apples and raw carrots.
As well as forming the components of healthy salads, these are all relatively cheap foodstuffs. They are also terrific for children because it is actually pleasant and satisfying to really crunch into something with your teeth. Youngsters also go for brightly-coloured items, so will enthusiastically tuck into chopped uncooked carrots, or crimson apples.
Another excellent example of a 'detergent' food is popcorn. It is definitely one of life's pleasures to sit around on a lazy afternoon absorbing an entertaining family film. This experience is topped by having a large bowl of popcorn within easy delving reach of each participant. The popcorn itself is very good at getting right into the recesses of your teeth. Even better, popcorn has a porous quality that allows it to soak up saliva- and with that, unwelcome bacteria.
When it comes to planning your meals, it makes sense to ensure that you leave at least one type of detergent food to the very end. So once you have had your fill of courses that have left you with rich sauces or juices, simply pick up an apple and crunch away. This is a far more recommended way to conclude any feast than gorging on teeth-staining, sugar-infused chocolate mints, or pungent cheeses that are already riddled with their own bacteria colonies.

 

Effective washing for curly hair  
A large part of maintaining curly hair is down to how you go about washing it. Styling hair like this is tricky enough, but before you get that far you should really follow a particular course of action.
The easiest way to achieve this is to set yourself a list of steps. The first is straightforward. When you come out of a shower, resist the urge to rub your hair vigorously with a towel. Instead, what you really want to do is to dab it gently, in a ‘blotting' motion. This will allow the towel to absorb moisture, rather than you going for an impatient all-out-assault to get that hair dried! Energetic rubbing of wet hair will only cause damage and this will eventually lead to that nemesis of all curly haired individuals – frizzy hair!
Of course, if you're hair is on the coarse side, it will require more focused attention. What you want to look out for is a silicone sealant that you can apply to the length of your hair prior to styling, or using any products. As you introduce this sealant, you should avoid applying it to the hair nearest your scalp. The good news is that there are various options available on the shelves of both supermarkets and more highly-specialised salons.
For fine curly hair, a slightly different course of action is required. Rather than a sealant, you should employ a silicone spray, and apply the minimal amounts to the length of your hair. As before, you want to ensure this gets into you hair thoroughly, but avoid the hair growing nearest to your scalp.
Lightweight styling gels are available if you only require minimal hold. If you require a firmer, longer-lasting effect with your products, there are many styling liquids and cream gels on the market. If you are in any doubt about which products to invest in, simply ask the assistant at the counter who will be able to provide you with all the advice you require.
To consider is what to do as you hear begins to dry. Allowing this to occur naturally is by far the best option. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time, using a blow-dryer is perfectly acceptable, provided you have it set at low heat and blast, and use a diffuser attachment. Controlling the force of the blast that is being directed at your hair will allow your curls to better maintain their consistency. As you work through your hair, squeeze the curls gently, lifting it at the roots as you proceed. A good tip here is to apply a styling cream in the first instance.
Food to keep your teeth clean  

There are many foodstuffs on the market that are highly recommended by specialists for their abilities to help maintain healthy teeth. Some are perhaps fairly obvious; others less so.

Herbal tea
Overall, tea is generally regarded as being unsuitable for cleaning teeth, as it possesses chemicals like tannin that will have an adverse affect on tooth colour. But there are many natural teas where the opposite is the effect. Herbal teas, which are infused, are actually a terrific way to keep your teeth in tip-top condition. Green tea has, amongst other ingredients, polyphenol antioxidant plant compounds. These come with a powerful set of cleaning resources. They will help to reduce plaque, as well as combating gum disease and reducing cavities.
Dairy products
Believe it or not, cheese actually contains some natural cavity-fighting agents. It also contains a range of vitamins that will help to preserve the integrity of the enamel, keeping your teeth strong. Cheese possesses phosphate and calcium, two substances that balance your mouth's natural pH. It also not only preserves but also rebuilds damaged tooth enamel. Because it produces a lot of saliva, it assists in the way your mouth combats bacterial infection- killing the very bacteria that cause gum disease, tooth decay and cavities to form.
Dairy foodstuffs like yoghurt and milk are excellent for your dental hygiene because of their low acidity. This means that wearing of the teeth is kept to a minimum. There is also little in the way of decay-promoting sugar present.
Milk is one of the best sources of calcium there is; and this element is the main component of your bones and teeth.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are often, by their very nature, excellent for keeping our teeth cleaned. The obvious ones are apples, but as long as the natural consistency of these products is relatively strong, then they are always recommended for keeping your teeth well-maintained. Eating something like raw carrots, or indeed any fruit or vegetable where are really have to crunch into the flesh, will provide a naturally abrasive action. The friction from this will keep your teeth scrubbed.
These foodstuffs are also a tremendous source of vitamins. Kiwi fruits, apples and strawberries all possess Vitamin C. In chemical terms, this is the element that binds cells together. When Vitamin C is neglected, you're gum cells can break down, rendering them susceptible to disease. Vitamin A is to be found ina diverse range of foods, notably carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli and pumpkins. This vitamin is vital for the formation of tooth enamel.
The key point is that any vegetable tat is crunchy and requires a certain degree of effort to actually chew in order to break it down will help clean your gums. For this reason, raw vegetables are always much better for keeping your teeth and gums clean. As well as having a solid consistency that actually feels better when biting down into the flesh, their natural flavours remain sealed in. Once vegetables begin to get cooked there is always the very real danger of them being overcooked, when they will not only lose their teeth-protecting qualities, they'll also taste a lot worse!

 

Further eye care tips – using computers  

In the modern age, with so much technology surrounding us, from computers to smart phones to widescreen televisions, our eyes are constantly under attack. It is hardly any surprise that the number of people reporting to their local opticians complaining of eye-strain or diminished sight is on the increase. Looking after your eyes has never been so important. So what are the practical steps that we can take to look after ourselves?
If you happen to work in an office where you are constantly staring into a screen, then it practically goes without saying that you have to take certain steps to ensure you do not do permanent damage to your vision. The recommended time allowance to be hunched over your machine working on documents, or surfing the net, or even reading tips such as these, is around 20 minutes. Thereafter you should physically move your eyes away from screen for a period of rest time.
Science has yet to prove that workers whose job involves staring at computer screens are likely to suffer permanent eye damage. But research does indicate the increased likelihood of dry eyes, or eye-strain. Computer screens all emanate background glare. This can cause muscle fatigue within the eyes, especially since the settings are rarely at the optimum condition for each individual user. If you work in an environment where you share IT equipment, then someone might find a screen too dark; the next user might complain about it being far too bright.
Even if you are using a device on your own at home, many of us prefer the convenience of simply firing up the machine and getting down to our usual tasks at whatever factory setting it arrived with. Altering screen resolutions and brightness levels involves going into control panels that can seem tiresome.
When you are concentrating at a computer screen, it is only natural not to blink. Although it will probably seem unnatural at first, if you can try to make the effort to blink - perhaps twice a minute as you look at documents - then this will help to counter dry eyes.
There are tell-tale signs that will inform you if your eyes are undergoing any particular levels of strain. If your eyes feel sore or tired, or even tearful, then it's probably time to take a break. The one good thing about surfing the net and looking at any number of different websites is that the very nature of this activity precludes excessive eye-strain.
Web developers are consciously aware of the need to create legible web pages. For this reason, websites these days tend to be designed to a certain is aesthetic. You will rarely find great slabs of unbroken text. On the contrary, information is imparted to a much better extent if it is broken down into easily digestible paragraphs, with important points emphasized in bold text, or arranged into bullet-pointed lists. There will also be a plethora of photographs or images that will guide the viewer's eye fluently down the page.

 

Looking after dyed hair  
Having the ability to change the colour of our hair can give us a whole new outlook on life. It can promote a feeling of rejuvenation, of getting ready to face new challenges. In practical terms, however, although applying dye to your hair will provide an instant shine, it also damages hair. It will dry hair and the colour can fade, even after just a matter of days. So here are the steps you should be taking to minimize the nastier side-effects of having just altered your natural hair colour.
The crucial consideration is the shampoo that that you use. What you want to do is to switch between one shampoo that is enriched with natural pigments, and another that is specifically aimed at dyed hair. The latter is likely to have an intense repair formula.
On a fortnightly basis, set aside some time to apply a hydrating mask. Because hair that has been dyed is often fragile, you must re-establish your hair's natural water balance (also known as its re-hydration rate). The products that will achieve this are enriched in what are known as natural emollients. What it all boils down to is the fact that the more hydrated your hair happens to be, then the more intense the colour will be.
Once you have applied rehydrating mask the final step you should be taking is to apply a protective milk. Make sure that this is not rinsed out of the hair. This will protect your hair, not only from the heat blast of the hairdryer as you apply it, but also from calcium in the water. Look upon calcium as the nemesis of coloured hair!
Another aspect of treating dyed hair that cannot be overstated, is that you can never nourish it enough. As has already been stated, died here, although it can look tremendously vivacious, it can dry out quickly. To counter this, what you really need to be doing regularly is to apply nutritive creams. Don't be afraid to apply these creams throughout the lengths of your hair, from the scalp to the tips.
Of course, one of the most disappointing aspects of changing your hair colour is the fact that it is only ever a temporary measure. Just as you are getting used to the fabulous new colour scheme, it begins to fade, seemingly within matter of weeks. The important point here is that you shouldn't be disappointed with the colour. Neither should you be overly concerned with your dyed hair if it looks as if it is losing its sheen. Dealing with dyed hair is a sensitive business. You don't want to go through the whole process again too quickly. So even if you find yourself glaring into the mirror at every opportunity, your fingers itching to speed-dial your hairdresser to book another dyeing appointment, try and resist this urge. If you can have the patience to wait at least four weeks before returning to the salon to have your hair redone, then the finished job will do far less damage to your hair (since it has had that extra time to rejuvenate in the interim period).
Keep your white teeth after eating  
Possessing a mouth containing clean and white-looking teeth is something most of us would aspire to. The reasons for this are twofold. Pleasant teeth make us look attractive – there is nothing more off-putting than a smile containing yellowing or non-existent teeth. Also, being fortunate enough to have white teeth is usually an indication that we are in good health, and is therefore a source of self-gratification.
As you check yourself in the mirror before exiting home, it really does put a spring in your step to witness a mouthful of white and well-maintained teeth flashing back from your reflection! So what are the key attributes of keeping those teeth in tip-top condition?
Obviously one of the key factors that is going to influence the appearance of your teeth is what you actually put into your mouth. If you enjoy drinking red wine and black coffee, or smoking a number of cigarettes on a daily basis, then don't expect to be surprised when your teeth succumb to staining.
There are many other items that you can ingest that will also affect the colour of your teeth. A particularly nasty culprit is cola. Fizzy drinks such as cola contain, amongst numerous chemical additives, a lot of sugar. All these ingredients will have an adverse affect on the enamel coating of your teeth, making them more susceptible to discolouring. The same can be said for dark juices, as well as gravies and sauces.
A good rule of thumb is to consider the colour of whatever it is on your plate or in your glass. The chances are if it is dark prior to entering your mouth, there is every likelihood that it will cause a degree of staining.
So what can you do to counter the effects of ingesting dark material? If you must in babe on any of the aforementioned forbidden fruits, the obvious thing you can do is take steps immediately. The longer you leave your teeth untreated after a meal containing staining substances, the greater the timescale where your teeth will experience negative effects. Immediately after your meal, where possible, it would be ideal to rinse your mouth thoroughly with cold, fresh water.
For a more thorough treatment, there are bleaching agents that can be purchased over the counter from your local chemist, or from your dentist. Another recommended solution, although something not to everyone's taste, is to chew on sugar-free chewing gum. As well as removing the offending staining material from the interior of your mouth, this is excellent for producing a feeling of your mouth having been refreshed. Although gum can come in a variety of tastes, the best ones to go for are the traditional mint-flavoured versions.
Apples have been employed as a teeth-cleaning agent for a long period. They taste wonderful, but it is their crispy, juicy flesh that is great for giving your molars and incisors a good rinse. They are also conveniently popped into a pocket and can be eaten anywhere after you've had that enjoyable but dark coffee.
Looking after your feet  
Ensuring your feet are kept in tip-top condition is an important health consideration. Why should this be? It's actually fairly straightforward. Your feet are under a tremendous amount of pressure, from the moment you get up from any chair or your bed and begin to put pressure on them. As you run about from location to location on a daily basis, these appendages are constantly in demand, their muscles working overtime, their soles coping with the stresses of uneven ground or stairs.
Washing
For most of us, the only time we think about paying any attention to our feet is when we take our daily shower, first thing in the morning. If this is the case, then what you should also be thinking about is making a foot wash part of your regular routine when you return to your home at night. The first thing you want to do is to get your sort robbed vigorously between your palms in order to generate a lot of lather. Then you should be applying this lather directly to your feet, paying particular attention to the gaps between the tools. It is into these recesses that the worst of the grime and sweat accumulation gathers.
When you wash your feet you don't have to go back into the shower again. You can either purchase of a bespoke footbath, or simply utilize a conveniently-sized basin. In this way, you can be attending to your foot maintenance while you relax, watching television or listening to music. The latter can work really well, because as well as thoroughly cleansing your feet, you can give yourself a little bit of self-administered massage in time to the tunes.
Once you have concluded you wash, ensure that the surface of the feet is toweled afterwards. This is not just as a mark of good hygiene, it also insures that you do not step onto your bed sheets with dirty feet. This all guarantees you do not bring any dirt from the rest of the house into the place where you sleep.
Pedicures
Far from being regarded as an occasional luxury, why not consider giving your feet a pedicure on a fortnightly basis. Applying paint doesn't necessarily need to be part of each process, but the simple art of a pedicure will keep your feet soft, ensuring the skin remains free from dryness or rough textures. Your toenails will also be well maintained, keeping them neat and clean. Is toenails are allowed to go unchecked, then there is a very real danger they will start in-growing. This can be very uncomfortable and painful. Correcting any in-growing toenail is not can require surgical procedures.
The beauty of a pedicure is that you don't require going to an expensive salon, although that option is always open to you if you would prefer. It is something that can be carried out within the comfort of your own home. Firstly, you would soak your feet for about 10 minutes in a large bowl of water at lukewarm temperature. A few drops of oils or Dead Sea salts would provide an even more amenable cocktail. You have the option of relaxing for a longer period of time if you so desire.
Use a foot scrub to remove dead skin, massaging in circular motions and rinsing afterwards. Use a pumice stone for the especially hard skin on the heels or sole. Next attend to toenails, cutting them straight across as opposed to a curve. You can also apply cuticle oil prior to the finish touch of coating with nail polish.
Looking after your tongue  
When it comes to mouth hygiene, the first thing most of us assume requires consideration is looking after our teeth. However, it is equally important to ensure that our tongue is regularly maintained. For optimum mouth health and hygiene, the two should go hand in hand.
Because your mouth is an orifice that is constantly exposed to the big bad world, it is only natural that this part of your body can succumb to a buildup of bacteria. And once bacteria begin to build up on your tongue this can lead to several issues. As it spreads it can eventually lead to tooth decay. But the shorter-term effects are equally debilitating.
As an organ, the tunnel serves many purposes, the most obvious one of which is being the mainstay of your taste function. But as well as allowing you to savour food and drink, as well as helping you ingest them down into your digestive system, another function of the tongue is to trap unhealthy bacteria. This tongue bacteria is a major cause of bad breath, or halitosis to give it its more scientific term. This condition is obviously a fairly antisocial one, and is best avoided by looking after tongue hygiene with as much gusto as keeping your teeth well-maintained.
So how should you be looking after your tongue? While it can be tempting to just give the tongue a short brush at the same time as you tend to the rest of your teeth with either a toothbrush or an electric version, this is not actually that practical. It is very difficult to apply any pressure to the tongue due to its consistency and sensitivity.after tongue hygiene with as much gusto as keeping your teeth well-maintained.
Unlike your teeth that are hard and unyielding in normal circumstances, your tongue is very soft and flexible, unable to remain in a fixed condition for any period of time. This makes it is especially difficult to apply any meaningful pressure to it. In addition, it is the tongue's very position as the introductory organ leading to the gullet that causes an instinctive reflex reaction to occur whenever any great force is applied. Anyone who has ever tried to brush their tongue vigorously will have experience of making themselves gag.
By far the best method of ensuring that your tongue stays fresh and free of unhealthy bacteria is to employ the use of a tongue scraper. Unlike toothbrushes, tongue scrapers are certainly not in common parlance. Nevertheless, they can be easily tracked down at your local chemist or pharmacy. They actually cost considerably less than the average toothbrush.
Unlike brushing your teeth, scraping your toll does not necessarily have to be done on a rigid twice daily basis. The only rule of thumb you should adopt is that if you happen to come across any debris on your tongue, then you should remove it with the scraper. When using the scraper if you should notice that a lot of material is being removed, then simply repeat the process on a daily basis until this build-up appears to diminish.
Once you notice that the amount of foreign material being removed as tapered off, then by all means scale back your tongue scraping sessions. But while you certainly don't have to follow these actions every day, don't ever allow your tongue maintenance to completely full by the wayside.
Looking after your voice  
Your voice is one of your most important attributes. From people who use it professionally in choirs, to lecturers, to telephonists, the range of people who actively rely on their voices for their livelihoods is incredibly diverse.
Like any other part of the human body, looking after your voice is something that must be considered with appropriate emphasis. Here are our top tips for maintaining excellent voice care.
Warming up
Prior to any situation when you will be required to employ your voice, be that a speech or a musical solo, make sure that you keep your body warmed up with a series of stretches. This will help to ‘wake up the breath' before you actually get round to vocalizing. It is important that you keep your spine aligned, and release your knees and pelvis as you do your exercises, following this by releasing the tongue and jaw tension.
Looking after your body
It might not seem obvious but it crucial part of looking after of voice is to ensure that the rest of your body is adequately maintained. Sleep is nature's way of ensuring that we are always at our peak condition following day. If you are going to be in any situation at all where you are going to be required to use your voice, then make sure that you do get a good eight hours the previous night.
Avoid having to speak in loud environments, such as having to shout conversations against excessive background noise. Drinking plenty fluids will also help to lubricate your vocal chords. Avoid drinks that are extremely cold, fizzy or sugary. Cans coming straight from a vending machine are often extremely cold, but their heavy gas content is not ideal for thirst-quenching, let alone keeping your voice in peak condition.
You should always have one eye on the content of certain foods. Wheat products and baby are obvious examples of foodstuffs that can cause excessive mucus production. Avoid smoking, or at least cut down if you have this habit. This is one of the singularly most destructive influences on our voices. Leading on from this, it is best to try and avoid coughing excessively, or even having to clear your throat too much. This puts a lot of strain on your vocal chords. It is far better to try and gently lengthen the back of your neck, Keep your chin level and swallow slowly.
Vocal strain
The indications that your voice is under strain include the following:-
  • Do you feel pain in your throat when you swallow or when you speak?
  • First thing in the morning, do you have a sore throat that gradually disappears?
  • In the evening does your voice sound tired or is there an increase in the mucus at the back of your throat?
  • Are you aware of any rapid alterations in your voice pitch, or even loss of control of your voice?
  • Does your voice get easily tired?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes then you will have to consider what you can do to recover your voice. Rest is certainly the best procedure. Prior to any further public speaking or musical engagements hello your vocal chords at least a day to recover. Never be attempted to self-medicate by using sweets or medications apparently aimed at reducing your throat pain as a temporary precaution. Your voice needs a proper sensory recovery.
  
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