Exercise~ The Benefits

We have all heard it many times before – regular exercise is good for you, and it can help you lose weight. But if you are like many Americans, you are busy, you have a sedentary job, and you haven’t yet changed your exercise habits. The good news is that it’s never too late to start. You can start slowly, and find ways to fit more physical activity into your life. To get the most benefit, you should try to get the recommended amount of exercise for your age. If you can do it, the payoff is that you will feel better, help prevent or control many diseases, and likely even live longer.



Drinking Green Tea

Slide 1 of 5: Tea, in all of its varieties, is well-known as being one of the healthiest beverages you can have. In fact, besides water, it's the second most widely-consumed beverage throughout the world and is well-touted for its numerous benefits. Green tea, in particular, is well known for having a few incredibly health benefits—but have you heard of these secret effects of drinking green tea before?While green tea is regularly used as a caffeine-filled way to wake up or as a social drink in many cultures, there are a few other health benefits that many of its regular consumers don't know about. Here's what you need to know, and for even more drinking tips, be sure to check out our list of the 112 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.Read the original article on Eat This, Not That!

While green tea is regularly used as a caffeine-filled way to wake up or as a social drink in many cultures, there are a few other health benefits that many of its regular consumers don’t know about.

Erin Yarnall  

The Secret Effects of Drinking Green Tea (msn.com)

Health Benefits of Gardening

Health Benefits of Gardening

Plants That Help Weed out Your Garden Share

When it comes to weed management in the garden, focusing on prevention will save you from hours spent pulling weeds. Mulch is the most common tool used to keep weeds out of your garden. By preventing light from reaching seeds, mulch reduces weed seed germination. Plants can be used in the same way to cover soil and…

Flowers That Are Toxis To Dogs

As a dog guardian, it’s important to be aware of the various Spring plants that are toxic to dog. As Spring arrives, our walks may take on new routes or you might be spending more time in your backyard. Whatever the activity, when we’re spending time outdoors with our dogs we want to be able…


  • Most adults don’t get enough exercise, but getting in shape has an abundance of mental and physical health benefits.
  • Walking can extend your life, prevent disease, and make you happier.
  • In some ways, walking is the perfect exercise, as it’s accessible, easy, and free.
  • By walking just 30 minutes a day, you can significantly transform your health.

There’s little that can transform your overall mental and physical health as much as exercise.

Working out regularly can extend your life, ward off heart disease and various cancers, rebuild the muscle and bone strength lost with age, and reduce levels of anxiety and depression.

Perhaps best of all, you can start to get all those benefits just by deciding to regularly go for a walk.

For many, getting started with fitness can be intimidating – weight training, interval sprints, and even certain bodyweight exercises might all seem a little too much if you aren’t familiar with where to begin. But people unsure about how they want to get started with fitness should take heart in a simple fact. Most research shows that doing just a little exercise is still vastly better than doing nothing.

Stepping outside and walking down the street – or through a park or along a trail – is enough to start transforming your health.


Recommended physical activity guidelines call for healthy adults to do a minimum of two and half hours of moderate-intensity activity – or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity – plus at least two muscle-strengthening days a week.

Walking doesn’t get you all the way there, as it doesn’t include strength training. But even meeting the moderate activity guidelines with a regular walking habit can do a lot.

According to one large study of older adults published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine that looked at 62,178 men and 77,077 women, people who walk at least 150 minutes per week were about 20% less likely to die than inactive adults during the 13-year study period.

“Walking has been described as the ‘perfect exercise’ because it is a simple action that is free, convenient, does not require any special equipment or training, and can be done at any age,” the authors wrote in their conclusion.

It is worth trying to keep up a decent pace, however. Another study of more than 50,000 adults in the UK found that people who walked regularly at an average or quick pace were about 20% less likely to die – and 24% less likely to die from heart disease – when compared to slow walkers.a man walking down a street next to a car© Maskot/DigitalVision/GettyWalking can improve your mental health and help fight depression

While life extension and disease reduction are important, those aren’t the only reasons to go for a walk. Smaller studies have shown that even a 30-minute walk on a treadmill is enough to lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive disorder.

A recent study from researchers at Harvard University and other institutions found that three hours of exercise a week, no matter the type of activity, could decrease the risks of depression. The risk decreased an additional 17% with each added 30 or so minutes of daily activity.

None of this is to say you shouldn’t eventually start incorporating strength training and other forms of exercise into your routine – there are reasons why those exercises are included in fitness guidelines. But if you just wanted to get started in a simple way, know that going for a walk can be more powerful than it seems.

Benefits Of Taking Vitamin C

Important Sources of Vitamin C

The important sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits such as oranges and grapes. [1] Strawberries, raspberries, cabbages, cauliflowers, other leafy vegetables, red peppers, potatoes, broccoli, chilies, watercresses, parsley, brussels sprouts, cantaloupes, mange touts, and kiwi fruits are also rich sources of this vitamin. Cooking food at low temperatures and for a shorter period is important to keep the vitamin C preserved and beneficial.

Health Benefits of Vitamin C

The health benefits of this amazing antioxidant are explained in detail below:

Prevents Scurvy

Scurvy is caused by an insufficient intake of ascorbic acid. The symptoms of scurvy appear due to the weakening of connective tissues, bones, and blood vessels that include collagen. [2] Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is required for the production of collagen.

Treats Common Cold

A 2013 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews suggests that ascorbic acid enhances the immune system of our body, which protects us from cold and cough. [3] The study also showed that when administered regularly, vitamin C reduces the duration of colds. Besides, it facilitates the absorption of iron and, therefore, strengthens the body’s resistance to infection. It also fights against viruses.

Lowers Hypertension

Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

People with hypertension are at high risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. According to a 2012 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin C intake helps in lowering the body’s blood pressure in the short term. [4]

Acts as a Potent Vasodilator Antioxidant

Treatment with vitamin C has effectively resulted in the proper dilation of blood vessels in the cases of atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, angina pectoris, and high blood pressure. Dr. Melissa A. Moser, University of Connecticut, USA, in her 2016 report published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, carried out epidemiologic research on vitamin C to study its potential role in cardiovascular diseases. [5] Results have found that the supplements of this vitamin improve blood vessel dilation and protect cardiovascular health.

Treats Lead Toxicity

Lead toxicity is a severe health problem found mostly in children, especially in urban areas. Abnormal development and growth have been found in some children who are exposed to lead. They develop behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and also tend to have a low IQ. It may damage the kidneys and increase blood pressure in adults. [6] Vitamin C supplements can reduce the blood lead level.

Treats Cataracts (Eye Disorder)

Cataracts are the most common conditions of visual problems. A decrease in the level of vitamin C in the lens of the human eye has been found more common when cataracts are present. Excessive intake of ascorbic acid increases the blood supply to the ocular areas of the body. According to the American Optometric Association, when Vitamin C is consumed with other essential nutrients, it can slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and visual acuity loss. [7]

Anti-cancer Potential

According to the National Cancer Institute, some clinical trials have shown that when cancer patients are given a high dosage of vitamin C, they show improved quality of life and fewer side effects. [8] However, other studies say that it is better to abstain from this treatment until the effects are fully studied. [9]

Combats Stroke

Vitamin C helps in reducing the risk of stroke, a type of cardiovascular disease. A diet full of vegetables and fruits supplies a good quantity of this vitamin, which maintains an appropriate blood pressure level. [10] It also protects the body from free radicals which could be the reason for the stroke.

Improves your Mood

Vitamin C plays a key role in the production of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine. They affect the mood of a person and are critical to the proper functioning of the brain. A 2013 study  [11]conducted by Canadian researchers revealed that short-term therapy with vitamin C improves mood and reduces psychological distress in those acutely hospitalized patients with a high prevalence of suffering from hypovitaminosis.

Boosts Immunity

Immunity is another important benefit of this vitamin. Vitamin C is widely known for its contribution to the immune system and its stimulation of white blood vessels in the body. [12]

Repairs Wounds

Vitamin C helps repair wounds. It facilitates the growth of the connective tissues, which speeds up the process of healing wounds. [13]

Controls Asthma

Ascorbic acid helps reduce the symptoms of asthma. It helps to protect against the harmful effects of pollution on the human body, which often results in asthma-like symptoms. [14]EDITOR’S PICK

Manages Diabetes

According to a report [15] published by the Indian Journal of Medical Research, results show that daily intake of 1000 mg supplementary vitamin C can be beneficial in reducing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, reducing their risk of complications.

Prevents Heart Diseases

An adequate amount of ascorbic acid is essential for the protection of blood vessels from the damage that free radicals can cause them. This could be a major cause of a heart disease called atherosclerosis. [16] Vitamin C acts as a preventative agent against this heart disease, as well as various other cardiac problems.


Why Meditation is as Important as a Healthy Diet and Exercise


By: Cat Ebeling, BSN, co-author of the best-sellers:  The Fat Burning Kitchen, The Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging & The Diabetes Fix

Meditation used to be something I thought about as applying mostly to Eastern cultures and yoga fanatics. I just didn’t see how it could be possible to transcend thoughts and never wanted to take the time to practice it. I always found meditation to be too complicated and time-consuming and actually never felt it was productive to ‘disengage’ from life and swirling thoughts long enough to make it worthwhile.

I was never so wrong.

Meditation has become mainstream these days, thanks to the popularity of yoga and other eastern practices. It seems that everyone, especially productive, creative ‘game-changers’ are doing it and having amazing benefits. The most successful people in the world meditate. They apparently know something about its benefits, or they wouldn’t waste their time.

People like Paul McCartney, Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Richard Branson, Derek Jeter, Ariana Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and more all practice some form of meditation. Olympic athletes do it, top-level CEO’s do it, and super successful celebrities do it—and everyone in between. These people are not doing it because they have too much time on their hands; these people are busy super-performers who have learned how to become even more productive and more clear-headed with meditation.

It’s a discipline that needs daily time and attention.

Meditation is not just for yoga fanatics. Meditation is not mysterious or complicated. It is exactly and perfectly made for us–busy, crazy, too-much-stuff-packed-into-one-day folks. It is a simple process of clearing one’s mind of all the crazy clutter that we get hammered with on a day-to-day, minute-by-minute basis. You clear your desk to work, right? Well, when you clear your mind, you will find that work, health, exercise, personal relationships, creativity, and more—all become better and more productive.

Meditation will change your life for the better if you make it a habit.

One of my resolutions for this year is to get more disciplined in a meditation practice. After seeing dozens of articles come up on my computer, I decided it was high time to look into the benefits and get my own practice going. It’s not easy at first, but it’s like exercise for the brain. At first, it’s difficult and you may struggle with this, but it’s an EXERCISE, which means that with practice, you will get better and better, and see and feel results more and more!

What are the Benefits of Meditation? 

Below are twelve ways that meditation is as powerful for your health as a healthy diet and exercise.

Stress Reduction

Have you ever felt like there is information overload going on in your brain and you feel you just need hit a shut off button to reboot? This is where meditation can be extremely helpful. Depending on the meditation style you practice, you can virtually empty your mind of all the excessive clutter flying around in your head and reset your focus.

Meditation is incredibly effective at slowing down your thoughts and lowering stress and anxiety. In fact, many people often meditate before stressful events like going onstage to speak or perform in front of thousands of people.

One study found that mindfulness and Zen meditation significantly reduced stress after only a period of 8 weeks. Another study found that meditation actually changes the brain structure, especially those parts associated with stress and worry.

Both mental and physical stress can increase the hormone cortisol. This is what causes many of the harmful effects of stress, such as insomnia, high blood pressure, tight muscles, weight gain and more. Cortisol is an inflammatory hormone that has very negative effects on the body.

In this study of med school students, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress. Research also shows that meditation can not only lower stress and cortisol response, but it also has a very positive effects on those conditions affected by stress like irritable bowel syndrome, PTSD, fibromyalgia and even more serious diseases like cancer. I know for me, meditation is a definite stress reliever. It does seem to really help to rewire my brain.

Helps with Razor Sharp Focus

Need to sharpen up your focus a bit? Meditation improves your ability to stay on task, focus on being productive, and also helps with cognition. This study shows how meditation improves focus.

With the computers and the internet on everyone’s desktop, focus has become a diminishing ability. However, focused meditation actually helps us increase this all-important ability once again, and clears your plate for razor sharp focus. Meditation helps to increase both the strength and length of your attention.

This study published in Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience journal shows that just 8 weeks of mindfulness meditation improves the ability to reorient and maintain attention. And a similar study shows workers who practiced meditation were able to stay on task and focus for longer periods of time while multitasking—and remember details of their tasks better than those who did not practice meditation.

While our digital phones, pads and computers, combined with social media, have actually shortened our attention spans to about 8 seconds, according to a study by Microsoft, meditation can help to reverse those brain wave patterns that have contributed to mind-wandering, worry, and short attention spans. This study actually found that just four days of short meditations helped attention.

Reduces Anxiety

Meditation lowers anxiety as well as stress. Many people have out of control anxiety which results in panic attacks, social anxiety, phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This comprehensive scientific review of 47 studies shows just that. Positive effects of meditation have been seen across multiple studies, and it only takes about 2-2.5 hours per week, or 20 minutes a day for these effects.

One of the best types of meditation for anxiety is a type called mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR. Mindfulness meditation is one of the easiest types of meditation to learn. It merely means you stay in the moment and focus mostly on your breathing while letting your thoughts just pass by.

Having a meditation practice shows promise, especially after a few years of following regular meditation. This study of 18 people shows that after an 8-week meditation program, the participants who practiced regular meditation had maintained lower anxiety levels over the course of three years. And a larger study shows a variety of meditation techniques work for reducing anxiety. Some techniques include visualization that helps to shift attention away from the thoughts that may cause anxiety.

Meditation may also help control anxiety that comes from a high-pressure work environments. Here is a study that shows how a meditation program reduced the related job anxiety in a group of nurses, which as we all should know is a very high stress job.

Promotes a Positive Mindset

With a reduction in stress and anxiety, the chance for hope and a positive mindset can come in. Many forms of meditation help to improve self-image and create a happier, calmer, more positive mindset.

In fact these studies show that mindfulness meditation helps to get rid of depression in 4,600 adults, and meditation can produce lasting results when practiced for longer periods of time.

And guess what? This meditation practice literally changes your brain! Those who meditate actually show measurable changes in the activity areas related to positive thinking and optimism.

Positive thinking helps to bring about positive results in your daily life. What a great reason to make meditation a daily habit, along with your cup of coffee in the morning!

Increases Feelings of Kindness, Compassion and Love

We just discussed how meditation helps to increase positive feelings and actions, and this translates to positive feelings towards yourself and others as well. Creating feelings of calmness and happiness also help to generate this loving kindness. A specific type of meditation, Metta, especially enhances loving-kindness feelings, beginning with yourself. Metta increases feelings of positivity, empathy and compassionate behavior toward others. Over twenty studies on this type of meditation have shown that it increases one’s feelings of compassion and self-worth. And the more it’s practiced, the better it works!

While meditation is helping to improve your ability to empathize, it also allows you to increase your intuitive ability to notice subtle cues that will help you understand how others are feeling.

Meditation also increases your emotional stability, making you less likely to be influenced by negative people or negative emotions in your life. And because of all of this, meditation has a definite positive influence on relationships and marriages!

Whatever type of meditation practice you choose, rest assured, it will help to increase your feelings of being self-aware, having greater self-worth, and feeling more loving of yourself and others.

Better Self-Awareness

One of the great things about mindfulness meditation (which I think is one of the easiest to understand and follow) is that it helps to create better self-awareness. As you meditate and go within yourself, you will begin to notice passing thoughts and feelings. Meditation helps you become more aware of your own feelings and instead of being reactive, it helps you to see your thoughts and feelings and to understand them better.

Other types of meditation help you to recognize harmful or negative subconscious defeating thoughts that may be operating in the background of your mind, creating situations for you with poor outcomes. Meditation helps to break this cycle and helps you to see and separate out those negative, self-defeating thoughts. And, as you gain a better awareness of your own thoughts and habitual ways of thinking, you can begin to steer your thoughts to more constructive patterns.

Gaining a better understanding of yourself and your subconscious thought patterns can go a long way towards changing your whole life for the better. This can become a huge starting point for positive changes in your life. Want to change your life? Meditate on a regular basis!

Improves Memory

Did you know that improving your attention and clarity of thinking helps keep your mind young? In essence, meditation helps to reduce the noise and clutter going on in our brain, and that allows people to remember things better. In addition, because meditation helps to tap into the subconscious, many forgotten memories can be tapped into as well.

An interesting review of 12 different studies found that many different meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers, especially. For aging people, meditation is especially good at helping to reverse age-related memory loss and even dementia. So meditation is good for keeping your brain young!

Kirtan Kriya is a particular type of meditation that involves chanting, using a repetitive motion with the fingers that actually helps to focus thoughts. It was shown to improve participants’ ability to perform memory tasks, especially for those with memory loss due to aging.

Controls Pain

Physicians know that when a patient is anxious, they tend to feel pain even more, so oftentimes patients in pain are given medications that help to relieve anxiety, as well as the pain. What if you could do that without taking addictive medications that have undesirable side effects?

Since your perception of pain is very attached to your own state of mind, pain is elevated when you are stressed. And pain, is of course, stressful all by itself. Especially chronic pain.

One study used MRI techniques to observe brain activity on participants experiencing a painful stimulus. Some participants used a type of mindfulness meditation while others did not. Meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain. They also reported less sensitivity to pain.

Another study looked at the effects of habitual meditation in 3,500 participants. It found that meditation was associated with decreased complaints of chronic or intermittent pain. And further studies of meditation in patients with terminal diseases like cancer found that meditation not only helped reduce anxiety but it also helped mitigate chronic pain, even near the end of life.

While both both groups were experiencing the same cause of pain, the meditators showed a greater ability to cope with pain and even experienced a reduced perception of pain.

With diseases like breast cancer, meditation is not used just as a treatment for pain or the disease. It is supportive care designed to help a person deal with the stress that comes with cancer. While this area currently needs more research, meditation may actually help fight cancer on a cellular level.

Helps Fight Addiction

It’s apparent that meditation helps to strengthen the mind and the will power. Using this mental discipline that can be developed through meditation may actually help break dependencies on addictive substances or behaviors. Not only does this practice help to focus and redirect attention, it also helps to lower stress, lower anxiety and reduce depression. All of these things are extremely helpful in breaking free from addiction.

Mindfulness meditation also increases self-awareness, helping to break down some of the barriers in understanding how one gets addicted in the first place. Meditation also helps to stop food cravings and impulsive eating as well, making it helpful for weight loss too.

Can’t Sleep? Meditate!

One of the reasons many people say that cannot sleep is because they have a hard time calming an overactive mind. Most of us have problems with insomnia at some point. Some of the common reasons for trouble sleeping include stress, discomfort, anxiety, inability to relax, and just a busy mind that cannot shut down. Meditation is helpful for all of these things and helps to put you in a relaxed state of mind to sleep soundly.

Participants in a study on sleep and meditation fell asleep sooner, stayed asleep longer and slept more restfully than those who didn’t meditate. Meditation helps to relax the body, release tension, and allow for natural, beneficial, restorative REM sleep. And another benefit of meditation is that you don’t need to rely on harmful sleep medications that destroy one’s natural restful sleep cycles.

Avoiding those racing thoughts in the middle of the night that wake you up and cause you to worry needlessly will help you feel rested and relaxed in the morning and much better able to deal with the daily issues.

Decreases Blood Pressure

While meditation has many benefits for the mind, it also has beneficial effects on the physical body including the heart and blood vessels. High blood pressure can be partially a result of stress and excess tension, and create extra strain on the heart and blood vessels. This can lead to strokes, heart disease, and blood vessel irregularities like aneurysms.

Meditation can become a form of biofeedback that helps in focusing on relaxing the mind and lowering overall blood pressure. This seems to be even more effective in older people and those with higher blood pressure. Meditation is thought to actually control the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, lower the heart rate, and the tension in the blood vessels as well. Cardiologists, take note!

You Can Meditate Anywhere

Unlike other activities, meditation does not require any fancy equipment or specific locations to practice. You can practice meditation virtually anywhere! Well, maybe not while driving a car, but you know what I mean! And it only takes a few minutes a day. One of the best ways to start meditating and reaping its benefits is to meditate a few minutes in the morning when you first get up and meditate right before bed.

How Do I Get Started?

While there quite a few different meditation practices out there, there are two basic types:

Focused-attention meditation which allows you to concentrate your attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. This helps by ridding your mind of other distractions. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra or a calming sound. I find this is the best form for me, as I tend to get distracted easily by sounds and other things.
Mindfulness meditation encourages more awareness of all aspects of your environment, your train of thought and your sense of self. While you want to relax your mind and slow it down, it allows you to become aware of your thoughts and feelings and letting them go. Think of it like you holding onto a helium balloon. As you become aware of a particular thought or feeling, you just consciously let it go and its drifts away. This practice is an easy way to begin.

Don’t be like I used to be and think that meditation required a lot of training or studying. It’s easy and is something everyone can do—you can too—and reap some amazing benefits. That’s not to say that a meditative class or yoga practice won’t improve your chances of incorporating it into your life as well if your home space is not conducive to a quiet meditative practice.

I set my appointment alarm to remind me that I have an appointment to meditate every morning while I drink my coffee. I currently only meditate for about ten minutes in the morning but setting a timer helps so you don’t have to keep peeking how long you’ve been at it. There are also quite a few good apps you can download on your phone that will take you through the steps and offer guided imagery, mantras, or gentle directions. My two favorites are Headspace and Russell Simmons’ Meditation Made Simple.

Many of the studies above utilized mindfulness or TM style meditation, but that is simply because they are the most well-known. There are around nine major styles of meditation to try out if you’d like. Start simple and incorporate the practice into habit. Other types of meditation styles may fit your personality better, but they all will have positive benefits, and some, if you stay with the practice, can radically transform your life in such positive ways, you will become a new and better person.

Trying out a style of meditation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.

Things That Happen When You Give up Soda

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking Soda

Drinking soda is an easy habit to fall back into—it’s everywhere, and it’s easy to consider diet versions to be a relatively harmless vice. A sip for nostalgia’s sake or a quick caffeine hit can lead back to a three-a-day habit. So we had two diet experts tell us what happens to your body once you finally give up the colorful carbonated menace for good and in their view, soda isn’t just bad for you—it’s barely even liquid.

You’ll Reduce Your Cravings


Cutting the calories from sugar-spiked soda is a no-brainer: At 150 calories a can, those can add up to serious poundage. But diet soda packs on the pounds as well—it’s just more passive-aggressive about it. “Artificial sweeteners affect our sense of satiety,” says Isabel Smith, MS RD CDN, of Isabel Smith Nutrition. “Our bodies have evolutionarily developed to expect a large amount of calories when we take in something exceedingly sweet, and those artificial sweeteners are from 400 times to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar. It causes a couple things to happen: The muscles in your stomach relax so you can take in food, and hormones are released. With artificial sweeteners, your body says, ‘Wait a minute, you told me you were going to give me all this high-calorie food.’ It can actually send some people searching for more food, out of lack of satisfaction.”

You’ll Lose Weight


“Even though diet drinks are calorie-free, they cause insulin to be released in your gut because their artificial sweeteners are sweet like sugar, and that actually prevents weight loss,” says Miriam Jacobson, RD, CDN. “Insulin is your body’s primary fat-storage hormone, so it will have the body hold
on to any extra fat,” she explains, adding, “Trying to lose weight by trading a Coke for a Diet Coke is doing the body just as much harm, if not more, because of all the chemicals in the calorie-free version.”
While you’re weaning yourself off of your soda habit, add these fat burning foods to your diet, some of which actually block adipogenesis, the process by which fat is stored on your frame.

You’ll Get Sick Less


The acidity in soda is bad news for your digestive system, eroding tooth enamel and worsening acid reflux. But diet sodas are especially treacherous for your gut—and the far-reaching bodily systems it affects. “Researchers are finding that artificial sweeteners may affect our healthy gut bacteria, which can affect everything from blood-sugar control to weight management to disease—how our immune system works and how our body responds to infection,” says Smith.

You’ll Have Stronger Bones


The caramel color in soda contains an artificially created phosphorus that can be bad for long-term bone health, says Smith. Phosphorous is a natural chemical found in foods like beans and grains, but the mutant variety found in dark soda is like a dinner guest who refuses to leave. “Basically, you’re taking something that exists in nature but making this hyper-absorbable form of it,” says Smith. “Your body doesn’t have the choice whether to absorb it or excrete it, so it can cause calcium to leach out of bones. It’s particularly bad for anybody with kidney disease,” she explains.

You’ll Have More Energy


No shocker here: The caffeine in soda is not your friend. “Drinking too much caffeine can make you dehydrated, and it can overstimulate the nervous system, making you fatigued and exhausted,” says Smith. “I find that when people cut back on caffeine they have more energy because the caffeine causes very big highs and lows,” she adds.

In her practice, Smith has seen that what happens when you stop drinking soda, it can lead to a positive domino effect. “There is way more energy for our bodies in real food than in processed foods,” she says, adding, “When people cut back on processed items, they often look for more fresh foods and make better choices. By giving up soda, it may seem like you’re making one change, but it can actually change a couple aspects of your diet for the better.”