3 of My Favorite Warm Drinks for Fall

Fall is my favorite season, hands down. The air turns crisp, school supplies line store shelves and the year’s best stretch of holidays looms on the horizon. Those cool autumn nights are also a great excuse to indulge in a warm, cozy beverage (or two). Here are three of my favorite fall drinks.

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

This tasty fall treat is essentially a liquid peanut butter cup. Indulgent? Yes. Absolutely delicious? Also yes. What’s more, the recipe is easy to modify if you’re trying to avoid dairy or refined sugar. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 ½ cups of the milk of your choice

  • ¼ cup almond milk

  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter

  • 6 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 4 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Add both milks, the chocolate chips, the sugar and the peanut butter to a saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat. You can use any type of milk that you like, but I find that fuller-fat options, such as whole milk or full-fat coconut milk, yield the richest, creamiest drink.

Whisk the mixture until the chocolate chips are completely melted and its consistency is buttery smooth. Then add the vanilla, cocoa powder and sea salt. Whisk until combined and heated through.

Cover the saucepan and take it off the heat. Let it sit for five minutes so it thickens a bit before serving. If you’re feeling decadent, top each mug of peanut butter hot chocolate with whipped cream and/or a drizzle of additional peanut butter and some extra chocolate chips.

Bourbon Apple Cider

The bourbon in this quintessential fall drink is totally optional, but it adds an extra layer of autumn oomph to every mug.­ Whether you choose to indulge or not, the ingredient list looks like this:

  • 1 gallon apple cider

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar (dark will work, too)

  • 1 orange

  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 2 cups bourbon

  • Cinnamon sticks

Heat the cider in a large Dutch oven. Stir in the nutmeg, allspice and sugar.

Stick the cloves in the orange, pointy end first. Make sure the buds are still sticking out, and try to space them evenly around the fruit. Add the orange to the cider, and simmer for 20 minutes, covered. If you’re adding the bourbon, stir it into the cider before serving in mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.

Mulled Wine

I may have saved the best for last. This cozy beverage is a favorite of my family and friends when the weather turns chilly, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bottle of dry red wine

  • ¼ cup Grand Marnier

  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds

  • 2 star anise

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 8 whole cloves

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Add all of the ingredients to a large pot and stir. (If you can’t find the star anise, try swapping in some cardamom pods, or simply leave it out.)

Crank up the heat to medium-high and when the mixture starts simmering, turn the heat to low and cover it. Let it continue to simmer for three hours. (You can simmer it for less time, as low as about 15 minutes, but the longer you let this spicy concoction simmer, the better!)

Strain the mixture and discard the fruit, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Serve in mugs and garnish with strips of oranges and/or lemons.

There’s no law that says you can’t drink a rustic tankard of mulled wine in the middle of June, but let’s face it — it’s just not as fun. When the temperature starts to drop in your neck of the woods, bundle up in your favorite slouchy sweater and sip one of these soothing fall libations.

My Favorite Healthy Fall Recipes

Fall is upon us, and with it comes the urge to cook all the rich foods a person can dream up. Whether you prefer your pie stuffed with pumpkin, chicken and gravy, or tamale filling, there has got to be something healthier, yet still comforting, that you can make at home, right? Of course there is. You can even use fresh, seasonal foods for cooking up a healthy fall meal.

Cool-weather salads

Most people think of salad as a summer food. That's understandable because so many green vegetables are in season during the warmest part of the year. However, many greens, including spinach and kale, keep growing until the beginning of winter. You can also use that famous fall vegetable, Brussels sprouts, as a salad base. The trick is to chop the sprouts into thin strips first. Once you have the base, add some more autumn classics, such as cranberries or pomegranate seeds, toasted almonds, chopped apples, and a strong, salty cheese like Parmesan or feta.

One-pan Dinners

The fact that you're staying away from unhealthy casseroles and pot pies doesn't mean you can't have any one-pot dinners in your autumn dinner rotation. When you're trying to keep it simple, think in terms of substituting vegetables for noodles and other grains. Doing that will lower the net carbs in your favorite recipes without sacrificing the overall flavor profile.

Another good choice is an egg-based pie, such as a frittata or quiche. Make your quiche crustless or use a riced cauliflower base. To make the filling, whip the eggs with heavy cream and all the roasted or sauteed vegetables you can find—Bake in a medium oven for around 20 minutes, or until the egg mixture is set. If eggs aren't your thing, try a low-carb chili recipe or broccoli and cauliflower au gratin.

Low-carb Desserts

When you search for fall dessert recipes, you find page after page of treats filled with sugar and fat. Fortunately, you can adapt some of these recipes to be lower in sugar and overall carbs. Start by replacing the all-purpose flour with almond or coconut flour. For the sugar, use an alternative, such as monk fruit.

If you don't feel like figuring out the substitutions for yourself, look for keto desserts. Many keto recipes have already been adapted to reduce the sugar and carb content; others simply take a different approach to dessert. For example, all you need for a yummy, crust-free pumpkin pie is canned pumpkin, gelatin, butter, and sweetener, as well as a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Dissolve the gelatin in hot water, add melted butter and all the rest of the ingredients, and then chill until set.

If you don't care about staying away from carbs but do want to steer clear of added sugar, a simple dessert of berries and cream may be your best bet. To fancy it up a bit, stew some fruit, whether berries, peaches, apples, or pears, in a bit of water and cinnamon, and serve over biscuits or with cream.

Warming comfort foods don't have to be out of reach just because you want to eat healthy. Use these recipes to keep you eating what's in season even as the weather changes. Now it's your turn: What would you add to this list? How do you keep eating healthy even after summer is over?

How To Keep Your Hair Healthy in the Fall

Fall is a time of change, and this year, maybe one of the changes you're looking forward to is an updated hairstyle. Before you choose a new cut and color, though, make sure you know how to keep your tresses looking their best during this season, which presents unique challenges compared with summer and winter. For one thing, you may be coming off a summer of chlorine, sunshine, and saltwater. If so, you're probably starting with a 'do that's seen better days. Here's how to fix it.

Remove Damaged Ends and Boost Your Color

The purpose of getting your hair trimmed every six to eight weeks is to keep it healthy, not just maintain the cut you've been wearing year after year. So, whether you're ready for an updated look or not, go ahead and get that trim. The effect is instantly brightening and refreshing because the old, scraggly ends are removed, and the shape of your cut is restored.

Update Your Look

Once you've convinced yourself that it's time for a new look, decide whether you want to subtly tweak your style or make a dramatic change. If you decide on a new color, choose one with warm undertones to match the season. A multi-dimensional hair color brings movement and depth to your appearance, which can give you a boost on a drab autumn day. If you want to stick with your classic color, boost it with a custom shampoo or gloss pack. On the other hand, if you decide to keep it natural, a salon-quality gloss treatment can still work wonders in smoothing, shining, and increasing vibrancy.

Douse Your Hair With Extra Moisture

Cold weather and dry air go hand in hand, and you need to protect your hair from both. If you can regulate the humidity in your home or office, start there. However, you won't be able to control the climate everywhere you go this season, so take the next step and invest in a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. Keeping your strands well moisturized can help protect against breakage and frizziness. Add an extra layer of protection against the damaging effects of cold air by wearing a hat with a soft lining.

Give Your Tresses a Rest

You already know that heat styling can do a number on your hair. Fall is the perfect time to give it a break and let it air dry because on some days you'll be wearing a hat or hood all day, anyway. If you must blow-dry, straighten, or curl your hair, be sure to use a heat protectant. Better yet, select a heat-activated product that not only protects your strands but also strengthen them and add shine.

Treat Yourself

Fall is the perfect season to invest in a day at the spa or a spa day at home, depending on what you prefer. While you're busy pampering your skin, make time for a special hair treatment, too, such as a rejuvenating hair mask, deep conditioner, or oil. To get into the autumn spirit, try a pumpkin- or apple-scented product.

Autumn doesn't have to be a boring hair season. As you can see, it's a great time to freshen things up and restate your identity. It's also the perfect opportunity to make sure your hair is healthy heading into winter.

Healthy Changes To Make Today

If you’re like me, it seems like it was only yesterday that you were a 20-something who could eat whatever she wanted, stay up until the wee hours of the morning and take a flight of stairs like it was nothing. Today, it's considerably harder to feel energetic, fresh and ready to scale heights. As you age, staying healthy seems like it’s always just outside your grasp. The thing is, it’s actually right in front of you: You just have to take it!

Whether you want to lose 30 pounds, have more energy for your grandkids or not have to take a breather after hiking to balcony-level seats, there are plenty of small changes you can start making today to feel better. Here are two of the most important.

Get Your Beauty Rest

I can’t overstate the importance of a good night’s sleep. When you’re tucked in tight and dreaming, your body is repairing, rebuilding and rejuvenating itself from head to toe.

As an adult, you need at least seven hours of beauty sleep each night. That's beauty not just for your complexion but also for your brain. When you fall short of those 7 hours, your body and mind rebel. In addition to feeling groggy and slow, inadequate sleep can lead to a variety of health issues, no matter how fit you are. For example, the risk of both heart attack and stroke increase for adults who don’t get enough sleep.

If, despite your best intentions, falling asleep is an issue for you, there are several ways to make trundling off to dreamland easier:

  • Get into the routine of going to bed at roughly the same time every night. Set an alarm on your phone if you have to.

  • Keep screens out of your bedroom. The light given off by many electronic devices is a one-way ticket to Insomnia Town, Population: You.

  • Try a sleep app. It seems like every day there’s a new app designed to help you fall asleep. I’m partial to the Sleep Stories on the Calm app.

Make Eliminating Stress a Priority

As women, we’re often expected to take care of everybody else. We’re mothers, daughters, best friends and CEOs. We run companies and households. We cook. We clean. We — well, you get the drift. The majority of women are subjected to an incredible number of stressors. Meanwhile, as caretakers, we may feel guilty if we take a moment to look after ourselves.

That line of thinking needs to stop. Over time, constant stress can lead to an array of health problems, including depression, ulcers, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, IBS and migraines. It also increases your likelihood of obesity.

If reading the above paragraph stressed you out, don’t worry. Small changes can yield big, healthy results. Making as little as 10-15 minutes per day to relax and have fun can put a huge dent in your stress levels. Those 10 minutes don’t have to be spent in silent meditation, either. For me, taking a break often entails one or more of the following:

  • Reading a magazine (the more celebrity gossip, the better)

  • Going for a walk

  • Watching an episode of “comfort food” TV

  • Listening to music

  • A hot bath, heavy on the rosemary oil

  • A glass of wine, preferably red

  • Playing a quick game or two on my iPad

If nothing else, check in with yourself often and take a few deep breaths. Self-care should be a priority in your life, not an indulgence.

Getting plenty of sleep and taking time each day to de-stress are just two of many small modifications you can make to improve your overall health. Even better, they’re two changes you can make today.

How To DIY a Spa Day and Pamper Yourself at Home

These days, heading out for a full day at the spa seems like a faraway dream. Somehow, just running a hot bath and lighting a candle or two just doesn't cut it. If you've been wondering whether a DIY spa day can really be a luxurious experience, keep reading. You may be surprised by what a fantastic retreat you can create in your own home with a little forethought and a couple of nice products.

Carve Out Dedicated Time

The secret to creating an epic DIY spa day is to prepare well in advance. There's nothing less relaxing than rushing around looking for supplies when you should be sitting and enjoying yourself. First, make a date with yourself. Put it in your calendar. This time is just for you, so block it out and be sure that everyone else in the house knows you're not available.

Create a Spa-like Environment

The night before your spa day, create or download a playlist so you have your favorite music on hand. Find your favorite candles, fragrances, and essential oils that you can use to create a refreshing atmosphere. Think about the lighting that you want. If you are doing beauty treatments, you may want lots of natural light. On the other hand, you may prefer more subdued lighting for relaxation. If you don't have a dimmer switch in your bathroom, find a solution now instead of waiting until the last minute.

Another thing you'll want to recreate from your favorite spa may be snacks and drinks. Do you usually have a smoothie when you go? Maybe you prefer lemon and cucumber water or warm herbal tea. Set everything out ahead of time.

Choose Your Products Wisely

A big part of the spa experience is the luxury products that you likely wouldn't use every day. Although you could make your own masks, scrubs, and bath milks if you feel like it, there are plenty of great options for sale. Invest in a couple of scrubs, bath bombs, and body butters, and set them aside for a monthly pampering session. You want to make this a regular thing, right? Make thoughtful choices when purchasing spa products. Don't be fooled by unsubstantiated claims. If cruelty-free or vegan products are important to you, shop around for those. Be sure to choose products that match your skin type. However, when it comes to relaxation and rejuvenation, sensory experiences make a big impact. With that in mind, choose products that you love to smell and touch. On the other hand, don't feel like you have to buy the most expensive serum on the shelf just to get a good result. If your everyday products make you feel good, use those. It's up to you.

Take Your Time and Enjoy Yourself

Think about what made your last spa day so enjoyable. Sure, your skin felt amazing afterward, but isn't it also that you were able to relax, enjoy the moment, and not worry about who was calling and texting you? Try to recreate the entire experience, not only the skincare aspect of it. Turn off your phone, be sure everything is ready ahead of time, and dive in. You'll come away feeling renewed, inside and out.

I Should Be Putting Egg Whites in WHAT?

Have you ever noticed how egg whites are treated as second-hand citizens in many recipes? I have. After all, anytime a recipe instructs me to separate my eggs and use only the yolks, I dump the whites down the sink without a second thought. But then I got to thinking “what if I could actually use those for something?” That’s when I did some research and found out just how versatile egg whites really are. Here are a few surprising things you should start saving your egg whites for, starting today.

DIY Face Masks

Before you throw egg whites out, put them in a bowl to whip into an effective little DIY face mask. I know, I know. Putting food on your face doesn’t seem natural. However, you can’t knock it until you try it. It turns out that egg whites contain an impressive amount of protein, which can help tighten the skin and mop up excess oil.

It’s really easy to make a face mask with egg whites. Simply separate the yolk from the white, mix it with juice from half a lemon until it gets nice and frothy, then apply it to your face in a thin layer. Let it dry for approximately 10 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. It’s as easy as that! Oh, don’t forget to avoid your eyes. Lemon juice and eyes don’t go together well.

Candied Nuts

Egg whites probably aren’t the first ingredient that comes to mind when you think of candied nuts. But I learned that they’re a key ingredient for creating a nice crunch and binding the dry ingredients to the nuts. Practically every candied nut recipe calls for the humble egg white, and if you omit it from your recipe, you’ll soon see why it’s necessary. If you plan to make candied nuts this holiday season, get ready to learn how to use egg whites in a creative way.

Homemade Marshmallows

Eggs and marshmallows don’t seem to go together, but it turns out they’re a match made in heaven. If you have the ability to whip egg whites, you have the ability to make pillow-soft homemade marshmallows. All you need are a couple packages of powdered gelatin, sugar, egg whites, light corn syrup, water and a little flavoring. You can find many different homemade marshmallow recipes online. Give several a try until you find your favorite.

Cocktails

Adding egg whites to cocktails may seem strange or even gross to you, but it’s a practice that’s been going on for longer than a century. Egg whites can make your cocktail creamier and foamier than it would otherwise be. Don’t worry, your drink won’t end up tasting like eggs. Unpasteurized egg whites are almost tasteless and odorless. Their primary purpose in cocktails is solely textural.

To create frothier cocktails, separate the egg whites from the yolks. Then, work the egg whites into a frothy consistency using the dry shake method. This involves shaking the egg white, along with the other cocktail ingredients, in a cocktail shaker (without ice) for at least a minute. You’ll get tired, but it’s a great way to get rid of those flabby underarms!

After a minute, add ice, then shake the egg whites cocktail mixture for at least 30 more seconds. Strain it into your glass using a double-straining method to make sure the foam layer is nice and clean. That’s all there is to it! your guests will most likely ask you what your trick is. Feel free to tell them, or keep your egg white cocktail secret to yourself.

Try Your Own Egg White Recipe

These are just a few of my favorite, surprising egg white recipes. There are many more uses for egg whites that you can research. Give one a try the next time you have extra egg whites to use up.

How To Use Household Items as Exercise Equipment

Whether you have no interest in joining a gym or simply haven't been there in a while, you're probably looking for ways to get in a good workout at home. Sure, you could buy a bunch of equipment and create a home gym, but maybe you're short on space or don't want to make that kind of commitment yet. The solution: work out at home using random household items to supplement your moves. At some point, you'll likely get bored with your simple, no-equipment routine, and you'll want to add a little bit of resistance. When you find yourself in that place, don't run out and buy the latest workout gadget. Instead, here are a few common household-items-turned-workout-props to get you started.

Chair as Barre

Let's start with a classic from every exercise video ever: using a dining room chair to hold onto while doing barre work. The trick here is to be sure and use a sturdy chair that won't topple easily and won't slide out from under you when you need it most. Try placing the chair against the wall for added stability. Once you're sure it won't move, you can use it as a support for mountain climbers, triceps dips, and modified planks, too.

Broom as Barbell

Your broom will only hold so much weight, and you don't want to try to lift too much without a spotter anyway, so think of this a lightweight bar, at best. To use it: Fill a pair of sneakers with heavy items, such as cans, and try to make the weight equal. Then slide them onto the broom handle by the ties. Be sure they're double-knotted so they won't come undone during your workout. You can also use a broom or long dowel without added weight to keep your hands in position for lat pulldowns.

Canned Food as Dumbells

This is another oldie-but-goodie. Don't have any dumbells? Just use cans from your pantry! It's an excellent option because you can use different sizes to give you different weights. However, be sure you can grip the cans well. If they're too big to hold, you'll risk dropping them on your toes, which, as you can imagine, is no fun at all.

Water Jug as Kettle Ball

Using a gallon jug to add some resistance to your home workout is pure genius. It's got a nifty, built-in handle that prevents you from easily dropping it, it weighs just under 10 pounds when full, and you can drink the water afterward. When choosing a container to use this way, be sure it's either factory-sealed or has a screw-on cap, not one that easily pops off. You don't want to deal with a gallon of water on the floor mid-workout. The best way to use this household item in your exercise routine is to substitute it anywhere you would typically use a kettle ball. If you're up for it, you could also use one in each hand to add resistance to bodyweight exercises.

Being stuck at home can quickly get old, but there's no reason to let your health slip because of it. Keep that body moving and mind engaged with whatever you happen to have on hand.

How to Work in 30 Minutes of Cardio During Your Busy Day

Many adults report that they have very little time for themselves during the day. Whether your job, children or community responsibilities take up most of your day, it’s important to make sure you take time for your health as well. Regular exercise is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for older individuals who need to keep a close eye on their physical health.  The good news is that working out doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day. In fact, there I use a few simple hacks to make sure I get at least 30 minutes of cardio, no matter what my schedule is like. I can help you do it, too!

The Importance of Regular Cardio

No matter how full your schedule may be, regular cardio is essential for your health. Performing cardio not only raises your cardiorespiratory endurance, but it also helps lower blood sugar and regulate insulin levels. In short, performing just 30 minutes of cardio each day can help you live a healthier, more energetic lifestyle well into your senior years. Plus, it will help you keep extra pounds at bay.

Tips for Fitting Cardio Into Your Busiest Days

Now that you know how important cardiovascular activity is, you may be wondering “but how am I supposed to fit 30 minutes of exercise into my day?” Don’t worry, I’m here to help you with that. Here are a few things I do now or have done in the past to sneak cardio into my busiest days.

  • Ride your bike to work. This one is not only highly effective, but it’s also fun. Of course, it’s not a valid option for everyone, but if you work close by, riding your bike to work and back each day is an excellent way to squeeze some cardio in.

  • Take a walk during your lunch break. If you have an hour-long lunch break, why not use half of it to take a walk? Take advantage of nearby walking trails or just take a brisk stroll around the block. You’ll still have plenty of time to eat, and you’ll likely find that your walk energizes you so you can be productive the rest of the day.

  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Taking the stairs at work won’t give you 30 minutes of cardio, but it may give you anywhere from 1-5 minutes. If you do it several times per day, you could receive up to 15 minutes of cardio exercise by just taking the stairs. That means you’ll only need to figure out how to squeeze in another 15 minutes of cardio throughout your day. That’s doable for practically anyone!

  • Schedule your workouts and commit to them. In the grand scheme of things, how important is your physical health? The answer is “extremely!” That’s why you should never put yourself on the back burner. If you’re not getting enough exercise to stay healthy and happy, start scheduling it into your calendar. Give your workout the same importance you give professional meetings, and don’t break your cardio appointments.

  • Keep your workout clothes nearby at all times. Opportunities for short bursts of activity can come up at any time, but you won’t be able to take advantage of them if you aren’t prepared. Keep a gym bag of workout clothes nearby at all times, so you can go for a quick jog or bike ride if a meeting is canceled unexpectedly or if a friend invites you for a last-minute run.

The truth is, it’s easy to come up with excuses not to take care of your body. Believe me, I know! But if you keep these little tips in mind, you can get 30 minutes of cardio in without even realizing it.

Try These Techniques To Help Relieve Arthritis Pain

If arthritis leaves you stiff, sore and unable to comfortably pursue your favorite activities, you're not alone. More than 100 different types of diseases categorized as arthritis affect an estimated 54 million Americans according to the Arthritis Foundation. If you've been diagnosed with arthritis, a trusted health care provider can help you develop strategies to cope with the resulting pain and immobility. Scientists have found evidence to support the efficacy of these X remedies for arthritis symptoms.

Pain Medication

Your doctor will likely recommend medication for your arthritis pain. Some of the most common therapies include:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen, as well as options that also address inflammation such as naproxen and ibuprofen

  • Prescription pain medications

  • Topical ointments containing capsaicin or menthol, which may block some pain signals from entering the joint

  • Disease-modifying antirheumatoid drugs and biologic response modifiers, which reduce the immune system attacks on the joints caused by rheumatoid arthritis

  • Oral or injected corticosteroids to alleviate joint inflammation

Weight Loss

Excess weight can put pressure on the joints, worsening the discomfort of arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, every extra pound places about 6 pounds of added stress on the hip joints and 3 pounds on the knees.

The 2019 evidence guidelines for arthritis treatment published by the American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation recommend weight loss for overweight and obese individuals who have arthritis. Even losing just 5 to 10% of your total body weight can result in better mobility, reduced pain, and decreased wear and tear on the joints.

Incorporating regular exercise in your life might feel daunting if you have arthritis, but working with your doctor to boost your physical activity can have a positive effect on your overall health. Gentle exercises like walking, swimming, biking and yoga will support your weight loss efforts, improve joint mobility and strengthen muscles to provide joint support. Avoid repetitive and jarring motions; running, tennis and high-impact aerobics place undue stress on painful joints. If you're not sure where to start, talk to your health care provider. He or she may recommend referral to a physical therapist.

Temperature Treatments

Applying ice or moist heat to your painful joints can often provide relief. Try a cold pack to alleviate joint inflammation, applied to the affected area for 15 minutes at a time. Take a 30-minute break between each application.

A heating pad can help relax muscle tension that results from arthritis discomfort, as well as soothe the body by boosting circulation. A hot shower has a similar therapeutic effect. As with cold, check the temperature and take breaks to protect your skin.

Acupuncture

Eastern medicine has used acupuncture to treat pain and other ailments for thousands of years. Today, many individuals who have arthritis report relief after trying this traditional Chinese remedy. With acupuncture, the practitioner inserts tiny needles at designated points throughout the body to stimulate natural anesthetic, circulation and nerve activity to the joints, connective tissue and muscles. While most studies about acupuncture focus on chronic pain in general, anecdotal research shows that the practice can be positive for people who have arthritis.

Supplements

While not every natural supplement works as intended, studies show these nutrients and vitamins have a beneficial effect on arthritis pain:

  • Indian frankincense

  • Capsaicin

  • Turmeric

  • Fish oil

  • Ginger

  • Omega-6 fatty acids

Talk with your doctor before adding these remedies or any other supplements to your diet.

Most of all, if you have arthritis, listen to your body. Pay attention to the factors that cause pain to flare and avoid those triggers. Take note of the remedies that provide relief and incorporate them into your everyday routine.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Live up to the Hype?

If you're like me, you've heard apple cider vinegar recommended in the past few years for everything from weight loss to lower cholesterol and better blood sugar control. How many of these claims actually stand up to science? While we haven't yet seen a ton of studies that look at the health effects of apple cider vinegar, the existing research gives some hints about the potential uses of this pungent pantry staple.

Limited Evidence of Long-Term Weight Loss

Harvard Health News reports that while acetic acid, found in apple cider vinegar, boosts metabolism and decreases fat deposits in obese rodents, these effects have not been replicated in human studies. The largest human trial on apple cider vinegar and weight loss to date, conducted in 2009 by Japan's Central Research Institute, showed moderate weight loss in participants who took 2 tablespoons of the vinegar each day. Individuals who took 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar each day saw similar but less dramatic effects. With just 175 study subjects, however, we need more research to determine whether these results hold true with a larger sample size.

A newer but smaller study, published in 2018 in the Journal of Functional Foods, found that the 39 overweight or obese participants achieved lower body weight and BMI with apple cider vinegar administration along with a restricted-calorie diet. These researchers, from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran, also reported an association between apple cider vinegar and reduced appetite among individuals in the study.

Rodent studies about apple cider vinegar also suggest that the ingredient can work as an appetite suppressant. A small randomized control trial published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2005 found that individuals who took apple cider vinegar along with a high-carb meal ate 200 to 275 fewer than normal calories for the day. These findings echoed research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 1998, where study participants reported a more significant feeling of fullness and slower stomach emptying after taking apple cider vinegar along with a starchy meal.

Other Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

The Japanese study also found that apple cider vinegar had a modest positive effect on participants' blood triglyceride and body fat levels. In the 2018 study, participants also experienced reduced triglyceride levels, along with lower total cholesterol levels and higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Researchers in the Iranian study also reported that participants had lower visceral adiposity index levels after the apple cider vinegar regimen. VAI is a collection of body measures that can indicate a higher risk for certain types of cancer as well as heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Apple cider vinegar may also improve blood sugar control among individuals who have type 2 diabetes according to a 2016 study by the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences and the National University of Singapore. Rodent studies on the effects of apple cider vinegar also support decreased insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels.

Getting Started With Apple Cider Vinegar

Without additional research, the jury is still out on the true efficacy of apple cider vinegar for weight loss and overall health. If you're curious and want to give this trick a try, apple cider vinegar is safe for most people. However, you should check with your doctor before adding a daily dose to your supplement routine. Individuals who are taking potassium-lowering medications or have diabetes can experience unwanted complications from apple cider vinegar.

In addition, you should dilute the vinegar with water to prevent its acidity from wearing away your tooth enamel. Most doctors recommend diluting one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a full 8-ounce glass of water and spreading out consumption throughout the day.