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A good night's rest is good for your overall well-being and is also helpful in keeping a youthful appearance and will make you feel younger too. So which foods should you snack on if you're finding it hard to get to sleep and counting sheep just isn't working?

According MSNBC.com, among the best natural sedatives is tryptophan. One of the ingredients necessary for the body to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter best known for creating feelings of calm, and for making you sleepy.

Experts suggest the following snacks to induce “feel-good relaxation chemicals” thereby calming your nerves and slowing your brain towards relaxation:

Non fat popcorn Oatmeal with sliced bananas One cup of plain yogurt with mixed nuts or granola Sesame seeds Pretzels Low fat vanilla pudding Grapes Healthy cereal with skim milk Low-fat granola bar

It's also suggested that bedtime snacks not exceed more than 200 calories

So next time you're tossing and turning opt for any of the snacks above to achieve a peaceful night's sleep that you need and deserve. Good night!

Now that summer is upon us again, it's time to get out and enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. But unfortunately, there are plenty of “summer bummers” : those things that we find in nature that try to ruin our good time. Keep these in mind the next time you are outdoors and your summer can be bummer-free!

Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Sumac: Coming in contact with the sap from a poison ivy, oak or sumac plant can cause a pretty nasty rash. Symptoms start as redness and swelling at the infected site, and then progresses to a strong itching feeling. Over-the-counter medicines will help alleviate the pain and all symptoms should be gone in a week or two.

Heat Rash: Also referred to as prickly heat, is a red or pink rash usually found on body areas covered by clothing. According to health.msn.com, heat rash can develop when the sweat ducts become blocked and swell and often leads to discomfort and itching. Children are most commonly affected by heat rash resulting in small pinkish pimples on the skin. Most of the rashes heal on their own, but to alleviate the symptoms take a cool bath, air dry and avoid using lotions on the affected area.

Mosquito Bites: Mosquitoes may be one of the most annoying bugs around. The blood-suckers bite and can leave some major itching in its aftermath. To protect yourself against these annoying little bugs, wear bug spray when you are outdoors for an extended period of time, use screens in your windows and doors, and don't let water sit stagnant in your yard, as this becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.

Flip Flops: Despite being fashionable, flip-flops do very little for you in the way of summertime protection. Flip-flops can lead to stubbed toes, cuts, abrasions, having a large object dropped on your foot, and insect or snake bites. If you plan on being outdoors a lot this summer, you should maybe opt for a closed toe shoe instead of your flip-flops. (Not to mention there is NO arch support in your fashionable flip-flops!)

Bee Stings: While most reactions to bee stings are mild, there are a number of people who are severely allergic to bee stings. For those who develop a swollen tongue, feel like their throat is tightening up or are having breathing problems, they need to get to the ER immediately. Mild reactions include swelling, redness, and itchiness, while severe reactions can result in death. According to MSNBC.com, if you don't have a severe reaction, apply ice or cold running water directly to the sting. Remove the stinger if it's still in the skin by brushing the skin with a credit card or using tweezers. To take the pain away, apply hydrocortisone cream or a paste made of baking soda and water.

Fireworks Burns: Burns due to handling fireworks is one of the number one reasons why people end up in the emergency room during the summertime. Most injuries involve the hands, arms, eyes and ears, with most of these injuries being burns. Minor burns can be treated at home by running cool water over the burn and then put a cool, dry cloth on them. More severe burns will need to be treated by a doctor.

Sunburn: Prolonged exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays can cause pain and redness on the skin commonly known as sunburn. Sunburn can happen within hours of sun exposure and can last for weeks depending on the grade of the burn. Over-the-counter pain relievers, cold compresses, aloe or moisturizing creams can all alleviate the pain and stinging associated with sunburn. Burns that are expressed through blisters need to be treated by a medical professional.

 

Ever since we saw Popeye take out that can of spinach to make himself super strong, we have known about the nutritional benefits of spinach. But there are plenty of other benefits of spinach that maybe even Popeye was not aware of.

Leafy, green vegetables, like spinach, provide more nutrients than any other food. Researchers have found at least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach that have been known to act as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents.

According to MSNBC, spinach protects against eye disease and vision loss and is also good for brain function. It guards against colon, prostate, and breast cancers as well as heart disease, stroke, and dementia. It lowers blood pressure; is an anti-inflammatory; and is great for bone health.

Spinach has an amazing array of nutrients, including high amounts of vitamin K, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and iron. In addition, a carotenoid found in spinach not only kills prostate cancer cells, it also prevents them from multiplying. Folate promotes vascular health and has also been shown to reduce the risk of developing colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers and to help stop uncontrolled cell growth, one of the primary characteristics of all cancers.

The vitamin C and beta-carotene in spinach protect against colon cancer in addition to fighting inflammation, making them key components of brain health, particularly in older adults. Spinach is loaded with vitamin K and is also rich in lutein, which protects against age-related macular degeneration, and it may help prevent heart attacks by keeping artery walls clear of cholesterol buildup.

With this laundry list of health benefits, it's no wonder why fresh spinach should be a daily staple in your diet. It's easy to find year-round so do yourself a healthy favor and aim for a few ounces, raw or steamed, every day. Cooked spinach is a great source of iron, and is totally fat free.

So maybe Popeye was really onto something,

 

Walking, swimming, and playing outdoor sports are all great ways to get your daily amount of exercise, but why not try some new outdoor activities this summer? According to MSNBC, recreational pursuits such as biking, hiking and inline skating allow you to reap up to six times more fat-blasting and body-shaping benefits that cruising around the neighborhood on foot.

Mix up your routine by trying one or more of the following exhilarating activities and enjoy the weather while it lasts while achieving a firmer and fitter body by September.

Rock climbing: Although this sport requires the assistance of a professional, most people do not realize the amount of physical strength it takes to participate in rock climbing. Find an experienced rock climber in your area, and give it a shot. Before you know it, you'll get the “hang” of it and will wonder why it took you this long to try it out.

Inline skating: Not only does inline skating getting you around more quickly it is also a fun and different way to sculpt your buns and thighs without pounding your knees. Skating is much less jarring than other high-intensity sports like jogging. It's also a way to relax and empty your mind while burning nearly 800 calories an hour. Try practicing in your driveway or an empty parking lot to start out with. You may also want to check out your local inline skating resource center for route ideas and trails.

Water skiing: While water skiing is a sport that you may need to work up to, there is no time like the present to give it a try. Water skiing is a fun water sport, where you use a wide variety of muscles to participate in it and therefore it is a great summertime sport for someone looking for something new to try out.

Snorkeling: If you are heading to the beach or if you live at the beach, pick up a mask and snorkel and get ready for a good time and a great exercise. Not only will you see some pretty amazing things below the water's surface, but you will also be getting a great aerobic workout without even realizing it.

Kayaking: For those of you who live by bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or oceans, kayaking is a challenging yet peaceful way to experience the earth and get a good workout as well. Kayaking can burn up to 340 calories per hour and helps to sculpt your upper body by the resistance created by pulling the paddle against the water. It also works your shoulders, triceps, biceps, back and core. Beginners should use an open kayak and take a lesson or two to learn how to escape from the kayak before taking it to open waters. While kayaking make sure to take a break and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Yoga and Pilates: Not all summertime sports have to be extreme summertime sports. Instead, buy a book or take a class on yoga and/or pilates and get started on your own path to holistic healing and exercise. Yoga and pilates can be done in the comforts of your home or your gym, but it can also be done outdoors where nature itself will serve as your calming background.

Yard sports: Not all outdoor exercises or sports have to be organized. Shooting hoops with your family, friends or neighbors is a great way to get your exercise outdoors. Play a game of wiffleball or baseball with the neighborhood. Pick up a tennis racket and hit the local courts. Any outdoor sport that keeps your heart rate up and keeps you moving, is a great way to get your work out in.

So, whether you decide to take up a new hobby like water skiing or rock climbing, or if you and the local neighborhood kids have a pick-up game of wiffleball or kick ball, there are plenty of ways to get your exercise in and still enjoy your summer.

Remember to drink lots of water and keep hydrated in whatever outdoor exercise you take part in and have a good time outdoors!

 

Until the 1800s, tomatoes were considered toxic, but since then tomatoes have been a staple of many people's diet, and rightfully so , whether you consider it a vegetable or a fruit, it is very beneficial.

Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men. In addition as a source of fiber, one medium tomato equals one slice of whole wheat bread with only 35 calories.

According to Homecooking.about.com, Lycopene, a dietary carotenoid found in high concentrations in tomatoes as well as processed tomato products, including ketchup and canned tomato products, is what gives tomatoes their red pigment. It is an antioxidant which purportedly fights the free radicals that can interfere with normal cell growth and activity. These free radicals can potentially lead to cancer, heart disease and premature aging.

A recent study has also shown that men who eat at least 10 servings of tomatoes a week can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by a whopping 45 percent.

The tomato is native to western South America and Central America. In 1519, Cortez discovered tomatoes growing in Montezuma's gardens and brought seeds back to Europe where they were planted as ornamental curiosities, but not eaten. A member of the deadly nightshade family, tomatoes were erroneously thought to be poisonous (although the leaves are poisonous) by Europeans who were suspicious of their bright, shiny fruit.

The French referred to the tomato as pommes d'amour, or love apples, as they thought them to have stimulating aphrodisiacal properties. Centuries later in 1897, soup mogul Joseph Campbell came out with condensed tomato soup, a move that set the company on the road to wealth as well as further endearing the tomato to the general public.

There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes in an array of shapes, colors and sizes. The most common shapes are round (Beefsteak and globe), pear-shaped (Roma) and the tiny cherry-sized (Cherry and Grape). Yellow varieties tend to be less acidic and thus less flavorful than their red counterparts. In the United States today, tomatoes are second in consumption only to potatoes.

When choosing the perfect tomato, use your nose. Smell the blossom (not the stem) end. The most flavorful ones will have a rich tomato aroma. Also be sure to choose one with a brilliant shade of red, as those tomatoes contain more betacarotene and lycopene giving you the most vitamins and minerals. Store fresh ripe tomatoes in a cool dark place, making sure it's stem-side down and use within a few days.