Essential Vitamins You Should Take After 40

By the time we hit our 40s, our body starts to change. Muscle mass starts to deteriorate, the likelihood of putting on weight increases, the onset of menopause is nigh, and the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes begin to increase. And while it is always important to eat well, no matter your age, it becomes especially essential in our 40s. So, to ensure that you are getting key nutrients in your diet, these are the 7 essential vitamins you should be stocking up on in your 40s and beyond.

Vitamin B12
Essential for normal blood and brain function, Vitamin B12 should most definitely be on your radar once you’ve turned 40 (and more so after turning 50). Children and young adults, are likely to get the B12 they need from food (you can find it in meat and animal products including chicken, fish, dairy and eggs), however, it tends to be more poorly absorbed as the body ages, especially around 50, when stomach acid levels deplete. So, taking a supplement is generally advised. The current recommended dietary allowance is 2.4mg per day, but should you get more, there’s no need to worry about taking too much. Since it is a water-soluble vitamin, you pee out what you don’t need.

Calcium
Our bones absorb most of the calcium they need earlier in life (typically before age 30). Nevertheless, this nutrient does play an essential role in maintaining bone health later in life too. It is also needed for other basic body functions, like muscle contraction, nerve and heart functioning and other biochemical reactions. And, one other important factor to keep in mind is that if you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet, the body steals the nutrient from your bones, weakening them. So, while you still need calcium in your 40s and beyond, you need not go overboard. A well rounded diet with calcium-rich foods like dairy, tofu, sardines, broccoli, almonds and spinach ought to be enough.

Vitamin D
In your 40s and beyond, Vitamin D is essential as this nutrient helps protect against age-related changes that tend to arise at this time. Deficiencies in Vitamin D have been linked to diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and breast and colorectal cancers. Vitamin D is also essential for the absorption of calcium in the body. You can get it from dietary sources including fish, fortified dairy, grains and cereals – though Vitamin D in food tends to be poorly absorbed. One of the best sources is the sun, however since not everyone lives close enough to the equator to be exposed to its strong rays, the supplement Vitamin D3 (a type of Vitamin D closest to what you get from the sun) will suffice.

Magnesium
his nutrient is vital as it helps regulate blood pressure. It is especially important for women aged 40+, who are already at risk of high blood pressure due to normal aging. Heart disease, diabetes and inflammation have all been linked to a deficiency in magnesium. Getting enough is also essential as it helps the body absorb calcium. It also plays a role in muscle, nerve and heart function, as well as blood glucose control. If you think that you may be deficient and are in need of a supplement, your doctor can test your magnesium levels. But, you’ll likely get the levels you need if you eat a healthy balanced diet. It is found in dark leafy greens, beans, soy, nuts, seeds and avocados. Too much of this nutrient doesn’t pose a health risk, however, it may cause diarrhea, nausea or cramping.

Potassium
No matter your age, potassium keeps your blood pressure in check. In fact, research has found that among postmenopausal women, a higher intake of potassium-rich food has decreased risk of stroke. You can get the potassium you need from a well-balanced diet, making sure to include a variety of foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, chard, beans and lentils. Supplements should be taken with caution, and should be carefully monitored if prescribed by a doctor. Too much potassium can damage the gastrointestinal tract and the heart, causing potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias.

Omega 3
Though technically not a vitamin, omega-3 fatty acids deserve a place on this list due to their myriad health benefits. They also help counteract some of the negative changes that come with aging, such as increased heart disease risk and cognitive decline. The fatty acids found in Omega 3 help lower blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. They also play a key role in keeping memory and thinking sharp. In one study, it was found that people with higher levels of omega 3 in their blood, had larger brains and performed better on memory tests, planning activities and abstract thinking. You can get omega-3 from foods like fish, walnuts, flaxseeds and leafy vegetables. Taking a supplement, however, is a good way to ensure that you are getting enough.

Probiotics
Like omega 3 – probiotics are not technically vitamins or minerals, but they are an essential requirement, playing a key role in keeping the gut healthy and your weight down. Probiotics also lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Probiotics can be found in some dairy and fermented soy products like seitan, however, foods typically won’t contain as many strains as a supplement. See, each strain comes with its own benefit – some are used to help control weight, and others to prevent diarrhea. You also won’t be able to get them in foods that are cooked or heated.

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17 Ways to Trick Your Body into Feeling Better

There are quite a few irritating and annoying sensations your body experiences during the day, the kind that most of us would love to know how to get rid of. How does one deal with an itchy throat? How do you make a burn go away? And generally, how can you get rid of various pains? This list will teach you how to treat all of these issues with relative ease.

1. Itchy Throat? Scratch Your Ear
An itchy throat is a nuisance, and one that is difficult to get rid of unless you know this trick. When the inside of your throat feels itchy, it’s virtually impossible to scratch, and in many cases, a loud cough is not socially acceptable. Luckily, the throat and ears are part of the same system, and according to Dr. Schaffer, head otolaryngologist in Advocare, NJ, when you stimulate the nerves in the ear, you create a reflexive reaction in the throat, causing it to contract, relieving the itch.

2. The Right Ear Processes Speech More Effectively
Researchers from UCLA Medical School found that the right ear can process the faster rhythm of speech better than the left one. The left ear, on the other hand, is much more efficient at processing music. If you want to hear someone speaking in a crowd, try turning your right ear towards them. If you’re attempting to listen to a song or melody, use your left ear.

3. Mind Over Bladder
According to Dr. Larry Lipshultz, head of urology in the Baylor College of Medicine, if a man feels the need to urinate but doesn’t have the opportunity – he can think about sex. By keeping your mind on sexual thoughts, you distract your body from the need to urinate, since the two cannot co-exist. It is important to remember that holding your bodily functions for too long is unhealthy and even dangerous, so be sure to relieve yourself as soon as possible.

4. Coughing is a Painkiller
Pain is the body’s way of warning us about damage to the body, but sometimes this warning is more of a distraction than helpful. Surprisingly, it’s very easy to overcome – researchers from Germany discovered that when patients were asked to cough while being injected, they felt no pain. The reason is that once you cough, your body increases the pressure in your chest and spine. This pressure blocks pain signals from moving up the spine, effectively working as a painkiller.

5. Use Your Tongue to Ease Congestion
You can find plenty of decongestants at your local pharmacy, but there’s an easy, natural way to do that, which requires nothing special from you. What you need to do is alternate between using your tongue to push up against the roof of your mouth and applying pressure between your eyebrows using your finger. This action “shakes” the nasal bone, releasing the congestion within 20 seconds.

6. Sleep on Your Left Side to Prevent Acid Reflux
Dr. Anthony Strippoli, a gastroenterologist from Florida, says that several studies have shown that by sleeping on your side you reduce the liness of suffering from heartburn. The esophagus and stomach are connected at a particular angle. If you lie on your right side, your stomach is positioned higher than your esophagus, making it easy for stomach acids to travel between them and causing heartburn. If you lie down on your left side, however, the stomach now rests below the esophagus, which will prevent stomach acids from escaping.

7. Rub Ice on Your Hand to Relieve a Toothache
A Canadian study discovered an interesting phenomenon: When you rub ice on the back of your hand, on the area that connects the thumb and the forefinger, you can reduce the intensity of toothaches by up to 50%. The nerves in that part of the hand stimulate a part of the brain that blocks pain signals coming from the face and hands.

8. Make Burn Blisters Vanish
We’re taught to put ice on burns to reduce their intensity, but the truth is that lukewarm temperatures work better. If you’ve gotten burned, clean the affected area and apply light pressure to the spot with the pads of your fingers, and run it under lukewarm water. While ice will numb the pain, returning the area to the normal temperature will prevent swelling and blistering.

9. Stop “The Spins” When You’re Drunk/Hungover
We keep our balance thanks to the Cupula – which is located in our ear, suspended in a liquid and with the same density as blood. When you drink too much alcohol, it dilutes the blood in the cupula, making it lighter than the liquid it is in, which in turn makes it float. This unnatural behavior confuses the brain and causes a loss of balance. To stop this from happening, you need to provide the brain with a “second opinion” – place both hands on a stable, horizontal surface. This will give your brain another of stability to rely on, thanks to the sensitive nerves in your hands.

10. Prevent “Stitches” When You Run
Most people have experienced the feeling of “stitches” while running – a sharp, intense pain in your side, which makes it hard to breath. This often occurs because we exhale when our right foot hits the ground, which puts pressure on the liver. The pressure on the liver causes it to “pull” on the diaphragm, making it very difficult to breath. To prevent this from happening, make sure you exhale when your left foot hits the ground.

11. Safely Stop a Nosebleed
If you get a nosebleed, most people would tell you to tilt your head back and apply pressure to your nose. While this method seems logical, it actually is quite dangerous, especially for children. When we tilt our head back, the blood flows down and may enter the respiratory system, which can cause suffocation and even death. A less-known, but far safer method, is to apply pressure with your thumb and forefinger on both sides of your nose, where the bone ends. Alternatively, you can place a piece of cotton wool on the inside of your upper lip, right in the center of the gums.

12. Slow Your Pulse Through Breathing
Whenever you get over-excited, and you feel your heart is about to burst out of your chest, you can slow it down with a simple breathing technique. The nerve in charge of your heart rate is the Vagus Nerve, which can be controlled by rhythmic breathing. All you need to do is place the tips of your thumbs on your lips, and breathe through them (to slow down your breathing).

13. Quickly Stop a “Brain Freeze.”
If you enjoy a frozen treat from time to time, you’ve probably experienced the irritating pain of “brain freeze”. When first you eat something frozen, you shock the nerves in your mouth, which confuses your brain into thinking it’s freezing. To compensate, your body heats up instantly, causing the intense pain. To relieve this sensation, push your tongue against the roof of your mouth, making sure to cover as much space as possible. The more pressure you apply, the faster the pain will dissipate.

14. Improve Your Eyesight
In many cases, nearsightedness is the result of strain on the eye muscles, which is a result of the discrepancy between our natural field of vision and the demands of modern life. In other words, staring at screens too closely can lead to the eye muscles stiffening, making it harder to see objects that are further away.
Since we can’t directly control our eye muscles, we can relax them by using a roundabout technique. By relaxing other muscle groups in your body, you can trigger a relaxation of the eye muscles. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and hold it in for a few seconds. When you exhale, loosen the muscles in your body. Another way to do this is by flexing and releasing your arm muscles or even your buttocks.

15. Last Longer Under Water
When we dive, it’s not the lack of oxygen that makes us desperate for air. Instead, it’s the accumulation of CO2 in our blood. To extend the time it takes the CO2 to accumulate in your blood, you need to practice controlled hyperventilation. This is done by inhaling and exhaling quickly multiple times, before taking that last, big breath. The rush of oxygen to the blood reduces the levels of CO2 and tricks the brain into thinking that the blood is oxygenated enough, and there’s no need to panic.

16. Quickly Stop “Pins Needles.”
If you’re suffering from the achy feeling of pins and needles in one of your limbs, you can make that feeling go away in a simple manner. If the feeling is in your arms, tilt your head from side to side several times and the tingling sensation will dissipate within 60 seconds. That is because the tingling sensation often occurs due to tension in the nerve endings located in the neck. By relaxing the neck muscles, you ease the strain on those nerve endings. If your legs “fall asleep”, on the other hand – get up and walk.

17. Improve Your Short-Term Memory
Professor Candi Heimgartner of the biology department at the University of Idaho explains that memory processes that occur during sleep are the most effective, so anything you learn before bedtime will be registered better in the long term. This means that if you have a test or a presentation tomorrow, study the main points before you go to sleep.

Top 10 Greatest Kings in Indian History

India is probably one of the richest countries in the world in terms of its history and heritage; in terms of rulers and ruling clans. Thousands of years have passed and the country has seen several dynasties, rulers, emperors and conquerors. While those at power in the present day strive to annihilate the country, let us take a look at some of the greatest kings that ruled this land prior to it becoming a hotbed for pseudo-secular political drama. The top 10 greatest kings in Indian history shaped the path we walk on now.

10. Maharana Pratap:
He was a Hindu Rajput ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. Known for his gallantry and magnanimity, Maharana Pratap opposed the Mughals, particularly Emperor Akbar. Chittor was conquered by the Mughals; Maharana Pratap won back most of his territory except his cherished Chittor. He had pledged to sleep on the floor and live in a hut until he won Chittor back from the Mughals which unfortunately he never accomplished in his life time.

9. Chandragupta I:
He was a major king in Indian history and also the founder of the Gupta Dynasty. He is believed to have formed several alliances with powerful houses through marriages into those families. He was the Gupta Emperor from 320–335 CE and called himselfMaharajadhiraj which means king of kings to show his superiority over others. He ruled over territories like Prayag (Allahabad), Saket (Oudh) and Magadh (south Bihar).

8. Samudragupta:
He was the successor of Chandragupta I belonging to the Gupta Dynasty and was the greatest king of that dynasty. Samudragupta is the ruler who is known to have ushered in the Golden Age of India. A great warrior, a connoisseur of art and a generous ruler, Samudragupta was chosen for succession by his father inspite of him not being the eldest of his sons. Another quality that he is remembered for is his tolerance and patronage for other religions.

7. Ranjit Singh:
Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire based in Punjab in the early half of the 19th century. During his rule he brought the whole of the central Punjab from the Sutlej to the Jhelum under his sway. His empire was based on the foundations of the Khalsa with opportunities for accession to commanding positions not restricted only to the Sikhs. He was a tolerant king and was also known as the “Maharaja of Punjab”.

6. Prithviraj Chauhan:
Prithvi Raj III was a king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty. He ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi after succeeding to the throne at the young age of 20 and ruled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana. His elopement with the daughter of Jai Chandra Rathod of Kannauj, Samyukta , is a popular romantic tale of Indian history. But he is more importantly remember for having defeated Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 and later killing him during an archery show when blinded and imprisoned by the latter in 1192.

5. Kanishka:
Kanishka, also known as Kanishka the Great, was an emperor of the Kushan Dynasty. His empire extended from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. With Pataliputra as his main capital, his reign was famous for its military, political, and spiritual achievements. He also had regional capitals as far as present-day Bagram in Afghanistan. Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism and is still today considered as one of the greatest Buddhist Kings of India.

4. Shivaji:
Shivaji Bhosale was the founder and the greatest king of the Maratha Empire. Hailing from the Bhosle Maratha clan, he created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital. He was crowned as Chhatrapati for leading the struggle against the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur and the Mughal Empire. He is remembered as a great warrior and a hero who united most of India against the Mughals. Shivaji is also known for pioneering the guerilla warfare methods using geography, speed, and surprise for attacks against more powerful and larger enemies.

3. Ashoka:
Ashoka is also known as Samraat Chakravartin. He belonged to the Maurya Dynastyand ruled from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. He reigned over most of the Indian subcontinent from the modern Iranian provinces of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan (unpartitioned), through the Hindukush Mountains in Afghanistan, to the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. He is attributed to the global spread of Buddhism and the emblem of modern India is derived from the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

2. Akbar:
Akbar was the Mughal Emperor from 1556 until his death. The third ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, he succeeded Humayun at a very young age. He went on to become one of the greatest rulers in Indian history and the greatest Mughal Emperor, too. His empire included nearly all of the Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari river and he consolidated the same using marriage alliances and diplomacy. Akbar is known to have been a liberal ruler who believed in cultural integration.

1. Chandragupta Maurya:
Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire and believed to be the first Emperor to have united India into one state. The Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta Maurya was the largest empire in Indian history up until that time. With his chief advisor Chanakya, he built a strong central administration and economy. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest rulers in Indian history known to have conquered Alexander the Great’s easternmost satrapies.