Although it is generally accepted that the only truly reliable way to avoid weight gain is to eat healthily and exercise, the truth is that for many people, this seems like a hell of a grind. It takes a lot of effort, and it can be a while before you see substantial results from it – so taking a short cut becomes more attractive.
The most disturbing “alternative” to eating healthily is eating disorders. Most commonly, anorexia is chosen by people who feel that healthy eating still has too many calories involved. Although associated primarily with teenage girls and young women, anorexia is not limited to that section of society.
Bulimia, a disorder from the same family as anorexia, is becoming more and more common. Bulimia sufferers will eat where anorexics starve themselves, and will often binge to the point where they are uncomfortably full before inducing vomiting to ensure that food is not digested. While both anorexia and bulimia do allow sufferers to lose weight and keep it off, they carry very real dangers.
Although being slim is considered to be the glittering prize by many, it is at a price. If you are not eating the right nutrients, or are purging them through vomiting, it is impossible to keep clear, healthy skin and hair, and your energy levels will go through the floor. It is also unlikely that anorexics or bulimia sufferers will get to a point where they feel thin enough, and many can go to the point of killing themselves through malnutrition.
Many people feel that the problem with healthy eating is simply that it is not interesting enough – while salads and vegetables are all well and good, there is little sparkle to them. And while this is a view that is easy to sympathise with, the honest truth is that there are plenty of interesting options if you know where to look. Sometimes all you need is something a little bit different.
Geography, weirdly, is something that has a bearing on typical diets. In many western countries, the climate is cold and rainy, and we are conditioned to eat heavier foods that are not so easily digested – we are expected to have a little more “meat on our bones”. And so conversely, trying cuisine from a hotter climate might be the key.
India, for example, is a country where the weather is invariably hot, and spice is a major ingredient in the cuisine of that country. Partly this is because it grows there and is easily affordable, and additionally spice in a diet makes it more readily digestible and doesn’t add fat. Good Indian food is a very worthwhile option in a healthy diet.
Of course, any food if eaten to excess will cause you to gain weight. But mixing up your diet to give it an international flavor will keep things interesting, give you a range of nutrients which will be good to your body and will get you thinking about food in a different way – which will be beneficial in the long run.
The importance of eating healthily is known to us all. Without the right diet, it is hard to live the life we would all like to, keeping energy levels high and being able to do the things we enjoy. However, it is not all about the physical benefits of a healthy diet. Eating the right things can have a beneficial effect on your mental well-being too.
The truth is that mental health and physical health are interconnected. If you are eating too little, or too much of the wrong thing, then you are going to suffer mentally for it as well as physically. Your brain requires nourishment every bit as much as your body, and a lack of protein in your diet can result in the onset or aggravation of depression.
If you suffer from depression, then one of the main negative effects of the illness is a lack of energy, a situation which affects your ability to fight the condition. Eating the right things is important, and while often depression sufferers will feel that they do not want to eat at all it is important that they make the effort. Rather than eating “comfort food” – which is rarely very comforting – getting some fresh fruit and veg, as well as carbohydrates from pasta or potatoes can help.
Drinking plenty of fluid is also important for mental health. Ideally, five glasses or more of water a day will prevent you from becoming dehydrated and depriving your body and mind of the fuel that is so important. Having the energy and the sharpness to send the symptoms of depression packing is essential, and your diet will play a big part in this.
If you’ve got a fungal nail infection, you’ll no doubt be searching for a nail fungus treatment. Among your options, you will find prescription drugs, over the counter medications, and various natural or home remedies. Whatever you choose, resign yourself to a long period of treatment – some of these remedies take quite a long time to work, if they work at all.
Before you buy, however, make sure that you really need a nail fungus treatment: abnormal nails can have other causes, such as bruising, bacterial growth, or psoriasis. A nail that is infected with fungus is typically thickened, and becomes yellow or brown. It may be crumbly, and it may lift away from the nail bed (the soft tender tissue under the nail). A proper diagnosis is important and can save you money, so see your physician.
Fungal infections usually appear in the toenails first, but can spread to the fingernails later, so unless you have been putting off treatment for a while, it’s likely to be a toenail fungus treatment that you need. First, you should learn how to make conditions inhospitable for the fungus, to hasten its departure and discourage it from returning after the treatment is finished. Fungi flourish on dead tissue – dead skin cells and the keratin in nails – and will settle in and cause fungal nail infections when conditions are moist. So keep your feet clean and dry. Towel your feet carefully after bathing, making sure you dry between your toes. You can even use a hair dryer to make sure your feet are completely dry.
Next, you must choose between prescription drugs, over-the-counter treatments, and home remedies for nail fungus. The most commonly prescribed antifungal drugs for toe nail fungus treatment are terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox), and fluconazole (Diflucan). These oral medications are the most effective drugs because they attack the fungus from within, but they are expensive and all of them come with the possibility of side effects. There is a topical nail fungus treatment, a nail lacquer called ciclopirox (Penlac), which can only be used if the infection is not too advanced.
Over the counter nail fungus treatment usually consists of oils, creams or lotions that are applied topically to the infected nail. Because nails are very thick and resistant to the penetration of these substances, these treatments do not tend to work very well, especially as toenail fungus treatment – they simply do not reach the fungus where it is growing under the nail.
Home remedies for toenail fungus treatment tend to have the same disadvantages as the over the counter treatments but some people swear by them. Topical home remedies will probably work best if the nail is thin and soft, or if the nail has been soaked to soften it, and possibly filed down. Popular home remedies include vinegar, Vicks Vaporub, Tee Tree Oil, DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide), PineSol, and oregano oil. There is even an exotic acidophilius beer soak toenail fungus treatment in which acidophilus bacteria are added to a mixture of dark beer and vinegar, and the feet are soaked for 30 minutes daily for at least a month. Some people also recommend a natural remedy imported from the Czech Republic: Saprox Natural Antifungal Treatment.
One of the most promising new nail fungus treatments is a product called Leucatin, which is an internal and topical solution that can effectively destroy nail fungus and prevent it from reoccurring by naturally boosting your body’s anti-inflammatory and anti-infection abilities.
Although people will see different results from different toenail fungus treatments, you are bound to find one that works for you. Talk to your doctor to see what he or she recommends. And if nothing works, you may have to choose the most extreme nail fungus treatment of all – surgical removal of the nail and infected tissue. Ouch.
David Bloom is an avid health enthusiast and a regular contributor to a variety of health websites. He is the author of Nail Fungus Treatment, a blog dedicated to the treatment of fingernail and toenail fungus.