• 7 safest pickup trucks to buy in 2023

    An individual puts in a lot of research when buying a pickup truck, such as its ability to transport heavy loads or ride on unpaved terrains. They may also check to see if the vehicle comes with all the latest features in the market. Another essential element that people look for in a pickup truck is safety. While there are multiple choices available, here are some of the safest pickup trucks to buy in 2023.

    Ram 1500
    The Ram 1500 is one of the safest pickup trucks in the market today and comes with a host of available driver-assistance technology. This includes lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking. The automobile also received a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The price of the pickup truck starts from about $38,000 for the base trim. Customers could also get safety features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert at an additional price. Other available features include adaptive cruise control and automatic high-beam headlights. The base trim comes with a 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine with eTorque. This setup is capable of generating up to 273 lb-ft of torque and 305 horsepower. The standard engine is also capable of hauling more than 7,000 lb. of loads, which is impressive when compared to its price tag.

    Jeep Gladiator
    The Jeep Gladiator is one of the most impressive trucks known for its stellar towing capacity while maintaining the pickup design. The automobile starts at about $39,000 but could cross the $55,000 mark for the top variant. At that price, the base model is equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 that produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. This setup is capable of hauling up to 4,000 pounds. On the safety front, the pickup truck comes with standard side curtain airbags on select trims for both first- and second-row passengers. Other trims come with a front-facing camera that is useful when going off-road, over rough rocky terrain. Optional features include a blind-spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, and rear parking sensors.

    GMC Sierra 1500
    The GMC Sierra 1500 has earned an impressive five-star overall rating from the NHTSA. Each of the Sierra trims is equipped with standard safety essentials like blind-spot monitoring, emergency braking, and automatic high beams. One could also go for adaptive cruise control and a 360-degree view camera system with higher trims. The stellar pickup truck starts at $38,000, with a 2.7L turbo high-output engine delivering 310 horsepower and 430 lb.-ft. of torque. But one could opt for the highest variant over $82,000 for a powerful 6.2L V8 Gas engine. Also, an Enhanced 3.0L Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine is available for an additional price.

    Ford F-150
    Ford creates some of the most reliable and desirable pickup trucks, and the F-150 is by far one of the best we’ve seen in 2023. A few noteworthy standard features of the pickup truck include a rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist, standard airbags, curve control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Other features that make the automobile safe include a perimeter theft alarm, SecuriLock® Passive Anti-Theft System, and an SOS post-crash alert system. The vehicle has also received a five-star overall NHTSA safety rating, which ought to relieve some amount of stress when on the road. Coming to the price, the base trim of the Ford 150 starts from about $33,000, which is competitive in comparison to other pickup trucks in its segment. One could also go for the fully loaded trim of the F-150, which starts at about $76,000.

    Ford Ranger
    Another popular pickup truck known for maintaining its safety is the Ford Ranger. This starts at about $32,000, which is indicated for customers who desire a good pickup truck at a reasonable rate. The base model of the range comes with basic driver-assistance features, such as a forward-collision warning and an automated emergency braking system. More advanced technology comes in on the higher trims. However, these available features are still more affordable when compared to other vehicles in the segment. One could opt for the available blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert systems based on the trim they pick.

    Chevrolet Silverado 1500
    With a starting price of about $37,000, the Chevrolet Silverado is one of the top safety picks to consider. The vehicle comes with a standard TurboMax® engine that can churn out up to 310 horsepower and about 430 lb.-ft. of torque, which is sufficient power to go the extra mile and haul significant loads. However, the key aspect in focus here is its safe structure, which earned a 5-star overall rating by the NHTSA. A few notable standard safety elements on the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 are the forward collision warning and automated emergency braking system, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert are also standard on the pickup truck.

    Honda Ridgeline
    Starting at $39,000, the Honda Ridgeline is yet another pickup truck that is also safer in the city and on the highway. It performs well in NHTSA safety testing, with a five-star overall rating, and also received good ratings by the IIHS in most safety evaluations. What makes it worth the price on the safety front are the standard features like automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights, and lane-keeping assist. One could also consider going with the automatic high beams on offer for better visibility on the road. Apart from safety, the vehicle comes with a comfortable driving experience, with a spacious cabin and weatherproof below-the-bed cargo box.

  • 15 SUVs with top safety features

    Safety is one of the most crucial factors when it comes to choosing a vehicle. With advancements in automotive technology, SUVs have become a popular choice for families, individuals, and adventure enthusiasts alike. This guide explores the top 15 safest SUVs available today, offering a look at their key safety features and technologies. From crash-test performance to advanced driver-assistance systems, these vehicles prioritize driver and passenger safety without compromising on style, comfort, or performance.

    Subaru Outback
    The Subaru Outback stands as a testament to Subaru’s dedication to safety. Equipped with the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, it offers features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane departure warning. These elements work in tandem to provide an extra layer of protection. The Outback is lauded for its spacious interior and impressive cargo space, making it an ideal choice for families and outdoor enthusiasts.

    Volvo XC60
    The Volvo XC60 is a paragon of safety, boasting features like automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a comprehensive airbag system. Its elegant design and high-quality materials contribute to a luxurious and secure driving experience. The XC60 prioritizes collision avoidance and protection, making it an excellent choice for those who value safety without compromising on style.

    Toyota RAV4
    Toyota’s RAV4 is a pioneer in safety, featuring the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite. This has features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and pedestrian detection. These technologies work harmoniously to minimize the risk of accidents, ensuring the safety of both drivers and passengers. With a reputation for reliability and great resale value, the RAV4 is a practical and secure choice.

    Honda CR-V
    The Honda CR-V is a versatile SUV with advanced safety features like forward collision warning, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. These technologies enhance both driver and passenger safety, making the CR-V an excellent choice for individuals and families seeking a secure ride. Additionally, the CR-V offers a spacious and well-designed interior for maximum comfort during long journeys.

    Mazda CX-5
    The Mazda CX-5 combines engaging driving dynamics with impressive safety features. Equipped with i-Activsense, Mazda’s suite of advanced safety technologies, the CX-5 includes features like blind-spot monitoring, adaptive headlights, and rear cross-traffic alert. These systems work cohesively to mitigate the risk of accidents and collisions.

    Audi Q5
    The Audi Q5 seamlessly blends luxury with safety, offering a premium SUV experience without compromising on security. With advanced driver assistance systems like Audi pre-sense city and rear cross-traffic assist, the Q5 provides an extra layer of protection on the road. Its quattro all-wheel drive system enhances stability and control, ensuring a safe and confident driving experience in various conditions.

    Mercedes-Benz GLE
    The Mercedes-Benz GLE epitomizes luxury and safety. Loaded with the latest safety features, including things like attention assist, active brake assist, and blind spot assist, the GLE leaves no stone unturned when it comes to safeguarding its occupants. Its sophisticated technology and meticulous engineering provide a secure driving experience.

    Jeep Cherokee
    The Jeep Cherokee strikes a balance between ruggedness and safety. The Jeep Cherokee strikes a balance between ruggedness and safety. Sporting advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and warning for lane departure, it ensures a secure ride both on and off the road. The Cherokee’s sturdy build and off-road capabilities complement its safety features, making it a fantastic choice for adventurous souls who prioritize safety.

    Ford Escape
    The Ford Escape boasts a comprehensive suite of safety technologies, including the Ford Co-Pilot360. This includes features like blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. These systems work in tandem to provide an added layer of security on the road. With its plush interior and ample cargo space, the Escape is a good choice for families seeking a safe and practical SUV.

    Chevrolet Equinox
    The Chevrolet Equinox is designed with safety in mind, featuring an array of advanced safety technologies. The Equinox is equipped with features like lane keep assist, forward collision alert, and rear park assist, and it offers a secure driving experience. Its spacious interior and user-friendly infotainment system further enhance its appeal, making it a solid choice for safety-conscious families.

    Nissan Rogue
    The Nissan Rogue prioritizes safety with its Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of features. This includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. These systems work harmoniously to enhance driver and passenger safety. The Rogue’s carefully crafted interior and smooth ride quality add to its appeal, making it a reliable choice for those seeking a secure SUV.

    Hyundai Tucson
    The Hyundai Tucson comes equipped with a host of safety features, including forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, and driver attention warning. These technologies work cohesively to minimize the risk of accidents and collisions. With its comfortable and spacious interior, the Tucson offers a secure and enjoyable driving experience, making it a commendable choice for safety-conscious buyers.

    Kia Sportage
    The Kia Sportage is engineered with safety as a top priority. Equipped with advanced driver-assistance features like lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance, and blind-spot detection, it provides a secure driving experience. The Sportage’s comfortable and well-appointed interior, along with its user-friendly infotainment system, further contribute to its appeal as a safe and practical SUV.

    Subaru Crosstrek
    The Subaru Crosstrek is renowned for its safety features, earning high marks in crash tests. Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, includes adaptive cruise control and pre-collision braking, so the Crosstrek is equipped to mitigate potential accidents. Its all-wheel-drive system further enhances stability and control. The Crosstrek’s versatility, along with its impressive safety credentials, makes it a strong contender in the safety-focused SUV category.

    Mazda CX-5
    The Mazda CX-5 is designed with a comprehensive suite of safety features, including Mazda’s i-Activsense technology. This includes advanced features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring. These systems work in unison to provide an extra layer of protection. The CX-5’s upscale interior and engaging driving dynamics add to its appeal, making it a desirable choice for those seeking both safety and style.

  • 15 reasons to buy a 2023 Subaru Forester

    The 2023 Subaru Forester is a remarkable SUV in the automobile market. With its impressive array of features, the Forester is not merely a means of transportation; it’s an experience in itself. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into why the 2023 Subaru Forester deserves one’s attention, from its rugged design and advanced safety technology to its efficient performance and versatile interior. Buckle up as we explore what makes the Forester exceptional in its class.

    Rugged yet stylish exterior
    The 2023 Subaru Forester effortlessly balances ruggedness with style, making it an appealing choice for adventurers and urbanites alike. With its bold front grille, sleek LED headlights, and distinctive body lines, the SUV exudes a modern and confident presence on the road. The higher ground clearance and standard roof rails hint at its adventurous spirit, ready to tackle both the concrete jungle and the unbeaten path.

    Symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD)
    One of Subaru’s standout features is its symmetrical AWD system, which can be seen in the 2023 Forester. This AWD system provides exceptional stability, control, and traction, ensuring the vehicle is equally comfortable on slick city streets and challenging off-road terrain. Whether drivers encounter rain, snow, or rough trails, the Forester’s AWD keeps one confidently in command.

    Boxer engine efficiency
    Under the hood, the 2023 Forester boasts a responsive 2.5-liter Boxer engine. This horizontally opposed engine design offers several advantages, including reduced vibration, improved balance, and enhanced efficiency. With 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque, the Boxer delivers a spirited yet fuel-efficient performance. Expect smooth acceleration and efficient highway cruising, all while sipping fuel at an impressive rate.

    Spacious and comfortable interior
    On stepping inside the 2023 Forester, one discovers a spacious and comfortable cabin designed with both driver and passengers in mind. The generous headroom and legroom in the front and rear seats ensure everyone travels comfortably, even on long journeys. High-quality materials and thoughtful design details make the interior a welcoming and refined space.

    Award-winning safety features
    Safety is prioritized in the 2023 Forester. Subaru’s advanced EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, including adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, comes standard on most trim levels. The Forester has consistently received high safety ratings, making it a trusted choice for families and safety-conscious drivers.

    Cutting-edge technology
    The Forester seamlessly integrates technology into one’s driving experience. Its STARLINK® Multimedia system offers intuitive access to apps, entertainment, and navigation through a user-friendly touchscreen. With smartphone integration, users can connect their iOS or Android device effortlessly. Higher trim levels add features like a premium audio system and an eight-inch touchscreen, further enhancing the journey.

    Impressive cargo capacity
    Versatility is a hallmark of the 2023 Forester. Whether running errands or embarking on a weekend getaway, customers will appreciate the SUV’s cargo space. With the rear seats folded down, one has up to 74.2 cubic feet at their disposal, making it easy to transport sports gear, groceries, or luggage easily.

    Off-road capability
    For those with a sense of adventure, the Forester’s X-MODE® offers enhanced off-road capability. It optimizes the engine, transmission, AWD, and brakes to improve traction on slippery or steep terrain. Whether navigating muddy trails or rocky paths, the Forester keeps drivers on track and in control.

    Eco-friendly engineering
    Subaru is committed to sustainability, aiming to achieve zero emissions at its manufacturing facilities by 2030. The 2023 Forester reflects this ethos. The vehicle is built in a zero-landfill plant and features a start-stop system that improves fuel efficiency by automatically shutting off the engine when idling.

    Resale value and reliability
    Subaru vehicles, including the Forester, have a strong reputation for reliability and long-term durability. This reliability is reflected in their excellent resale value. When investing in a 2023 Forester, buyers are not just getting a vehicle for today but making a smart choice for the future.

    Excellent visibility
    When behind the wheel, a clear view of the surroundings is essential for safety. The 2023 Subaru Forester offers excellent visibility thanks to its large windows, well-placed side mirrors, and smartly designed pillars. This visibility isn’t just for the driver; passengers also enjoy panoramic views of the world outside, making every ride more enjoyable.

    Towing capability
    The Forester offers impressive towing capabilities for those needing to tow trailers or recreational equipment. With a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds, one can confidently haul small trailers, campers, or boats, expanding their adventure possibilities.

    Plentiful storage solutions
    Subaru has paid meticulous attention to providing practical storage solutions throughout the Forester’s interior. From ample cupholders and door pockets to a center console and spacious glovebox, users will find convenient places to stow away their essentials. There’s even a dedicated smartphone storage area with USB ports for charging!

    Respected brand reputation
    Subaru has built a reputation for manufacturing reliable, well-engineered vehicles well-suited to a wide range of lifestyles. The Forester is a testament to Subaru’s dedication to quality and innovation, and it consistently receives accolades from industry experts and owners alike.

    Variety of trim levels
    The Forester lineup offers a variety of trim levels, allowing customers to choose one that best suits their preferences and budget. From the base model to the more feature-rich options, buyers will find a Forester that aligns with their needs.

  • 9 common mistakes to avoid when opening a certificate of deposit (CD)

    A certificate of deposit (CD) is a popular savings instrument. Here, customers earn interest on a lump sum amount locked in for a fixed period. Unlike a regular savings account, the amount invested must remain untouched throughout the term. Failing to do so may invite penalty fees or result in a loss of interest. CDs offer a higher rate of return for the lost liquidity. Avoid these nine common mistakes when opening a CD.

    Withdrawing the money too soon
    CDs promise a higher rate of return due to the fixed lock-in period. Withdrawing money from an immature CD can be expensive, as lenders typically levy an early withdrawal penalty. The cost may vary from bank to bank. Many opt for liquid CDs, which do not incur a fee when you withdraw the principal amount early. However, these CDs offer lower interest rates and may not be as lucrative as regular ones.

    Signing up for a very long term
    CDs come in different lock-in periods, the most common being six months, twelve months, two years, and five years. The Federal Reserve meets several times yearly to review interest rates for different tenures based on the economic situation. Currently, the interest rates on long-term CDs are not as attractive as before. However, some experts believe the Fed might hike the rates soon, so holding back for a while would be wise. Instead of locking in $10,000 into a five-year CD today, you could diversify your investment, creating $1,000 CDs with shorter and staggered term lengths. As the CDs mature in the coming months, you can close them and open new ones for a better rate.

    Not checking what different banks are paying
    Many open CDs in a bank they already have an account with, which could be a mistake. You must shop around and check the rates of interest offered by other banks. Comparing will help you receive the best returns on your savings. Online banks usually offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and CDs than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.

    Failing to diversify CD investments
    The term “diversification” is often used when talking about investing. It refers to the practice of having a variety of investments, such as stocks, bonds, and CDs. Diversification helps reduce the loss in case one investment fails to perform. Interestingly, you can also diversify CDs or indulge in what is known as CD laddering. Here, you set up multiple CDs scheduled to mature at different times using a combination of short-term and long-term deposits. Staggering lets you access your funds regularly and provides an opportunity to upgrade to a higher interest rate.

    Ignoring other high-return savings options
    CDs are low-risk, low-return savings instruments. Investing all your money in them may reduce liquidity and stall earnings over the years. Additionally, money tied up in a CD does not grow at the same rate as the cost of goods and services. So, instead of focusing on a single investment option, consider several types to meet your financial goals. The ones you choose must align with your risk tolerance and liquidity requirements. People looking for higher long-term returns may find an IRA or a 401(k) rewarding. Those looking for better liquidity may find a high-interest savings account appealing.

    Opening a CD instead of clearing high-interest debt
    Consider your existing debts when planning investments. If the interest rate on your debts is higher than the interest rate of your CD, you may make losses. As a rule of thumb, pay off high-interest debts before making long-term investments with modest rates of return.

    Letting the CD roll over
    Once the lock-in period ends, do not let the CD roll over into a similar term at the same institution. Sure, it saves time and effort, but it fetches a lower rate of return. In some places, the CD may even turn into a regular savings account with lower rates of interest. Instead, begin to shop around as the CD nears its maturity date. Look into higher-yielding CDs and other investment options for the best possible returns.

    Ignoring odd-term CDs
    Some of the best CDs happen to have unconventional lock-in tenures. Often advertised as standout offerings for periods like 5-, 17-, or 21 months, these odd-term CDs can be gainful options. They may be offered to attract new customers, celebrate an anniversary at the bank or credit union, or for another reason. Keep your mind open to these unconventional options as they allow you to earn better rates of return.

    Opening a fee-based account first
    Many banks and credit unions may require you to open a checking account before setting up a CD. Ensure these accounts do not have overhead costs. Since the earnings on CDs are fairly modest, fees from checking accounts can significantly reduce your net profit.

    Although CDs are a relatively safe and wise investment option, stay aware of these common mistakes and avoid them diligently. Doing so can help you receive the highest possible rates of return to maximize your savings. Research before investing and consult a financial expert if you need more clarification. Also, read the policy’s terms and conditions carefully to avoid misunderstandings.

  • 13 foods that help improve dry skin

    The skin performs several vital functions, like protecting us against harmful substances and controlling our temperature. However, being the body’s outermost layer, it is susceptible to damage by dust particles, UV rays, and other external agents that cause dryness and breakouts. Hydrating the skin is one way to remedy such issues and achieve healthier, better-textured skin. Here are a few nutritious foods that can increase moisture and prevent dry skin.

    Avocados are packed with vitamins A, D, and E, which help moisturize the skin and protect it against damage caused by the sun’s UV rays. It also has biotin, an essential element for skin hydration. Avocado guacamole is the perfect accompaniment to snacks like nachos, breadsticks, and crostini. One can also spread a layer of the fruit over toast for a scrumptious breakfast.

    Fatty fish
    Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, and anchovies are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which regulate the secretion of oil in the skin and keep it hydrated. Studies have shown that DHA, one of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids, is essential for the skin. Fatty fish contains DHA in sizable proportions and should, therefore, be a part of one’s meals to enhance skin texture and elasticity.

    Our bodies need proteins to produce optimal collagen, a compound that enhances skin elasticity and hydration. Besides being excellent protein sources, eggs are high in sulfur and lutein. Sulfur is an antimicrobial and keratolytic element that helps hydrate the skin, while lutein increases skin elasticity. One may enjoy boiled or scrambled eggs or prepare a wholesome omelet for a protein-rich breakfast.

    Individuals with dry or chapped skin may be deficient in zinc. Oysters are among the richest sources of this mineral, with three ounces containing nearly 32 mg. Oysters are also protein-rich, so they can ensure overall skin health and prevent dryness.

    This tangy citrus fruit is packed with vitamin C, which increases collagen production in the body and helps maintain skin texture. One may have oranges directly or in the form of fresh orange juice (preferably vitamin C-fortified).

    Cucumber is among the best foods to improve dry skin. The high water content in it helps moisturize the skin considerably. Cucumbers also contain silica and vitamins A and C, crucial in collagen production. This versatile vegetable may be had directly or incorporated into juices, salads, and soups.

    A handful of walnuts contains 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which regulate the skin’s oil secretion and enhance its texture. Walnuts are also high in vitamins A, B5, and E, which brighten the skin and facilitate skin suppleness.

    Turmeric has curcumin, the compound that gives this spice its yellow-orange color. Curcumin is found to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can accelerate the process of eliminating dead skin cells, thus hydrating the skin and preventing dryness. It also contains properties that help manage skin breakouts.

    Sweet potatoes
    Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body and aids clear skin. Beta-carotene also helps produce healthy skin cells, enhancing overall skin health and texture. Moreover, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins C and E, which the body requires to boost collagen production and defend itself against damage from external agents.

    Yogurt, a natural probiotic, helps maintain a healthy gut, essential to prevent skin conditions. It replenishes the skin with calcium, which aids in producing sebum, a natural sticky, oily substance that prevents the skin from drying out. Yogurt also has vitamin B, which acts as a natural moisturizing agent for the skin. Finally, it is a rich protein source, contributing to optimal collagen production.

    Watermelon is known for its high water content that helps with skin hydration. The fruit also has vitamins A, C, and E, which are essential for skin protection, hydration, and enhanced collagen production. A bowl of diced watermelon or a glass of fresh juice (without added sugar) is the perfect start to the day!

    Like watermelon, beetroot is exceptionally high in water content, with water accounting for 87% of its constituents. It is also rich in vitamin C, which boosts collagen production and maintains skin texture. One may include beetroot in daily recipes like salads, soups, smoothies, juices, and stir fry.

    Soy is an excellent vegetarian source of protein, which the body requires for collagen production. It also contains isoflavones that help preserve the body’s collagen levels. Further, soy milk contains iron, calcium, fiber, folic acid, and B vitamins, all of which are essential for skin health and texture.

    Besides incorporating these best foods to improve dry skin into the meal plan, one should limit sugary foods and beverages, as they can cause excessive skin glycation and lead to premature skin aging. Staying hydrated is also crucial to ensure glowing, supple skin. It is recommended that women and men drink 3.7 and 2.7 liters of water daily. Furthermore, investing in a good moisturizer is essential to retain skin moisture and texture. Finally, one should apply good-quality sunscreen even while indoors during the day to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.

  • Sugar-free chewing gum – Ingredients, benefits, and downsides

    Many people switch to sugar-free gum from the regular variety, thinking it has no harmful health effects. Some do so because of ongoing health complications like diabetes. While it is true that chewing sugar-free gum may have specific benefits and could help one improve their overall well-being, it also has significant downsides. Below are a few important things one should know before heading to the store and buying a pack.

    Ingredients in sugar-free gum
    Many brands manufacture sugar-free gum, each using different ingredients to give their product a distinct taste and set it apart. While they do not use sugar, they use substitutes that mimic the taste of sugar. Some of these substitutes are artificial sweeteners, while others are derived from natural sources. Let’s look at a few examples:

    • Xylitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and maltitol are common sugar-free sweeteners derived from fruits, including berries.
    • Aspartame is an artificial sweetener made from two amino acids: phenylalanine and aspartic acid. It is among the most common ingredients in sugar-free chewing gum.
    • Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the stevia plant.

    Besides the above, sugar-free gum may contain chemical and natural ingredients that help provide texture, long-lasting taste, and chewiness. The ingredients usually differ with each brand.

    Benefits of sugar-free gum
    Here are three probable benefits one might enjoy from chewing sugar-free gum instead of the regular type:

    Reduced tooth decay
    Studies show that chewing sugar-free gum for a short while after meals may help reduce tooth decay. This is perhaps because chewing causes the mouth to produce more saliva, which washes away microscopic food particles that remain behind and fuel bacteria. Experts reveal that chewing sugar-free gum may also prevent or reduce plaque formation.

    Stronger tooth enamel and reduced sensitivity
    Since salvia has phosphate and calcium content, it could strengthen tooth enamel. Furthermore, chewing sugar-free gum could help curb teeth sensitivity, which often results from in-office tooth whitening procedures.

    Improved memory
    Studies indicate that chewing gum, including sugar-free varieties, while performing tasks could improve various aspects of brain function, such as memory, alertness, decision-making, and understanding. Experts also suggest those who chew gum for longer may benefit from reduced signs of stress, anxiety, and depression. While the exact cause of these benefits is yet to be determined, studies point toward better blood flow to the brain caused by chewing.

    Besides providing the benefits listed above, sugar-free chewing gum can help avoid conditions like dry mouth (xerostomia). However, one should chew gum as a remedy only if they receive the go-ahead from their healthcare provider.

    Any product consumed in excess may have adverse effects on the body, including sugar-free gum. Chewing it may cause:

    Headaches and allergies
    Sugar-free gum contains aspartame, a highly debated ingredient among experts. While used as an alternative to sugar, aspartame contains a chemical carcinogen that could increase the risk of headaches. Some may develop hives on the body or suffer from gastrointestinal or respiratory issues if allergic to the ingredient. Therefore, one should speak to an expert before chewing sugar-free gum that contains aspartame.

    Gastrointestinal problems
    Some manufacturers use sorbitol in their sugar-free gum. When a person consumes too much of the ingredient, it may lead to gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal cramps, bloating, and gas. Too much sorbitol may also trigger diarrhea in some people.

    Jaw disorders
    Chewing gum all the time, including sugar-free options, could cause the jaw muscles to tighten. As a result, one may experience jaw pain. Chewing gum regularly has also been associated with increased temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ). Those with this disorder may experience chronic symptoms like soreness, discomfort, and headaches.

    Dental device damage
    Chewing gum of any kind may have adverse effects on dental devices. The product could damage implants, which could hamper one’s oral health and also be quite expensive to fix.

    Besides increasing the risk of the problems listed above, sugar-free chewing gum can lead to cancerous developments in the body and an unusual increase in appetite. People with a rare hereditary disorder called phenylketonuria are especially advised to limit their consumption of phenylalanine (a component of aspartame) as their bodies cannot metabolize it.

    Tips to reduce gum-related problems
    Learning about the benefits and downsides of sugar-free gum can help one make better decisions for their well-being. Here are a few tips to reduce the risk of health problems from chewing gum:

    • Speak to a healthcare provider to learn about potential health complications before chewing gum.
    • While sugar-free chewing gum may have benefits like reduced cavities or plaque production, it is not a permanent substitute for basic dental habits. So, continue brushing or flossing after meals.
    • Learn about the ingredients that are bad for health. Then carefully read the label of the sugar-free gum before buying it and ensure it does not have those ingredients.
    • Limit chewing gum to about 15 minutes per day.
    • Though pregnant women can chew sugar-free gum, they should be vigilant and speak to an expert to understand if they are allergic to any ingredient.

    Following these guidelines will help minimize the harmful effects of chewing gum. One should speak to a health expert if they have any questions regarding any ingredient used in the product.

  • Best 2023 vehicles that hold their value over time

    Buying a car isn’t just about getting the best price possible. It’s about choosing a model with long-term value and the ability to retain a substantial resale worth. This post explores a few automotive gems of 2023 that promise both exhilarating performance and a future-proofed financial advantage. From sleek sedans to versatile SUVs and capable trucks, our lineup has a variety of vehicles you can drive for years and still demand a good resale price.

    Toyota Tacoma
    The Toyota Tacoma has a great resale value. It’s one of the few pickup trucks that has been consistently showing up on the used market year after year, attracting many buyers. The estimated five-year resale value of the Tacoma is pegged at a solid 66% of its original price, which is exactly how much the Tesla Model X demands after the same period. The current generation of the Toyota Tacoma has been around for approximately eight years. It is one of the top choices among buyers looking for a mid-size truck for traveling and hauling purposes.

    Tesla Model X
    Tesla’s Model X has grabbed a massive chunk of the car market since its launch, thanks to its sleek design, automated driving experience, and high-grade safety features. The vehicle has also made it into Kelley Blue Book’s list of best resale value cars for 2023. KBB predicted that the Model X would be able to retain approximately 66% of its original price in the used market after five years. Its starting price is a whopping $101,380, which means you can sell it for around $67,000. Of course, the exact amount would change depending on the trim and specs. The car’s outstanding features have set it apart from many other options in the all-electric segment.

    Honda Civic
    The Honda Civic has been a success in the new as well as the resale market since it was first introduced in 1972. It’s one of Honda’s most popular and profitable models, with a four-cylinder engine, multiple trim levels, and numerous safety features. But the most significant factor driving its demand is its affordability. The vehicle is one of the cheapest, most reliable hatchbacks you can get your hands on today. You will not only pay a lower price upfront to bring it home but also demand a high price when you plan to sell it. The Civic has a five-year resale value of 62.5%, according to KBB.

    Jeep Wrangler
    The Wrangler has a niche fan following that almost every other car aspires. It also has a high resale value, which makes it an investment worth considering. KBB estimates the Jeep Wrangler’s resale value to be above 60% of its original cost. The mid-range model from the 2023 lineup starts close to $33,000, while the high-range models are priced starting at $50,000. The SUV has an excellent powertrain, top-end safety technologies, and a comfortable interior. It’s a suitable choice for off-roading adventures with family and friends.

    Chevrolet Corvette
    Another car that can grip onto its original cost and demand a high resale value is the Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette is one of the most reliable vehicles developed in the country and an option you cannot overlook in the sports car segment. According to KBB, it’s estimated to retain nearly 65.3% of its original sale value. The C8 Corvette is a masterpiece with a mid-engine, priced around $65,895 onward. The 2023 model has a 6.2L V-8 engine that delivers 490 horsepower and goes from 0 to 60 in just 2.9 seconds.

    Subaru Crosstrek
    If you love to keep upgrading their cars, try the Crosstrek. Besides having a high resale value, it comes with the reliability that Subaru offers. The latest lineup has a hybrid option, and you can choose from six trims and different drivetrains. However, the new car is priced upward of $26,000, making it a bit costlier. The Subaru Crosstrek is sometimes compared to the likes of the Jeep Wrangler due to its off-roading capabilities.

    Mazda MX-5
    The Mazda MX-5 didn’t taste success when it was initially launched in 1989 when safety was being prioritized over a flashy open-top car. Despite all the hindrances, it has emerged as one of the best sports cars you can buy today. The vehicle’s high resale value is proof of its reliability in the convertibles segment. Its starting price is assumed to be $28,050, with a resale value of only a few thousand less. Besides the MX-5, you can invest in the CX-5, another Mazda offering that retains more than half its value.

    Dodge Charger
    If you’re a Dodge fan, the market has plenty of offerings you may like. Cars like the Dodge Charger and Dodge Durango are among the top choices providing top-of-the-class features for their respective segments. The 2023 Charger is available in multiple trims, with prices starting at $34,230 for the base model. Its resale value is also said to be on the rise, so you get back a good amount upon listing it in the used market.

    The resale market has much to offer regardless of whether you’re selling your car or buying a used one. Of course, a higher number of options can be confusing. So, ensure you research well and sort through your requirements systematically before deciding.

  • 7 ingredients that work as natural stain removers

    A spill here and there on your favorite t-shirt, rug, or any other fabric is so common. What is not so uncommon is knowing that there are, in fact, easy and natural DIY hacks to remove stains from items. Using expensive detergents is not always the answer, so for some minor stains and spillage, you can follow some easy hacks. Check out these natural ingredients that can be turned into stain-removing products!

    Baking soda
    This is an inexpensive and effective stain remover you can use every time you do your laundry. Add one tablespoon of baking soda to your laundry detergent and start your load. This baking soda mixes well with the detergent and is even known to boost the detergent’s cleaning properties. Not only that, but baking soda also helps keep the fabrics soft and reduces the occurrence of suds. If you have kids at home and you’re doing their laundry, you can safely add baking soda to their clothes for cleaning, as it is not harmful to sensitive skin. It also acts as a natural odor remover, which can help keep your laundry smelling fresh.

    Due to its acidic nature, lemon can act as a great stain remover. However, due to its acidic nature, you must be careful when using lemon on colored clothes. It can fade the color quickly if the lemon stays on for too long, which is true for lemon and lime juice. So it is advised to use the lemon hack only on white clothes. It works exceptionally well if you need to remove any yellow underarm or rust stains. Not to mention, lemon can add a fresh fragrance to the laundry!

    Distilled white vinegar
    This inexpensive ingredient can easily boost laundry performance and help remove stains. Just add a cup of distilled vinegar to the final rinse of the clothes while doing your laundry. Some people may use chlorine bleach for stain removal; however, distilled white vinegar is a safer and cheaper alternative. In fact, it’s even better than using apple cider vinegar because it will keep the fabrics soft and gentle. This is specifically used for removing any yellow underarm sweat, mildew, or even whitening or brightening the clothes.

    Hydrogen peroxide
    You spilled red wine on your shirt and are now wondering what hack to use. Hydrogen peroxide is the best solution. This is an oxidizing agent that is used as a bleaching agent. If you’re wondering where to get it, look no further and just ask your local store, which sells first aid kits. Three percent hydrogen peroxide is sold as a first-aid disinfectant, and you can also use this same product for your laundry. It is usually preferred over chlorine bleach because it is environmentally safer. It contains hydrogen and oxygen, which break down into water and oxygen, making it completely natural and human-safe. You can also remove underarm yellow stains from shirts and stains from nail polish or curry.

    This is a popular mineral that is a combination of sodium, boron, and oxygen, along with water. This mineral is known to boost the performance of any of the detergents it uses, so you can easily do a rinse cycle with borax and your regular detergent. Since this is a naturally occurring mineral with no toxic chemicals, it is also human and environment-safe, making it a preferred choice for many homemakers. One of the things to be careful of, though, is that if ingested, it could cause irritation to the skin, so always be careful. Because of its cleaning properties, this ingredient is used in almost all DIY natural cleaning remedies. It can also help soften hard water, remove poop stains from baby cloth diapers, and control bad odor.

    Talcum powder
    This ingredient is beneficial before your clothes go to the laundry room. If you’ve spilled something greasy or oily on your clothes, add lots of talcum powder, which can help absorb the oil. Of course, you must be quick with the remedy and add the powder to the stain immediately before the oil soaks in. You can even use cornstarch or chalk. Keep this on the stain for 10–15 minutes until it has absorbed the excess oil, and then you can wash the cloth; hopefully, the stain is not too big. While washing, you can even try adding some of the other ingredients mentioned above.

    Table salt
    Available in all households and easily accessible, table salt is another winning ingredient for natural stain removal. A red wine spill needs immediate attention, like putting lots of table salt on the stain before it sets in. Let the salt absorb the excess liquid, then leave it on for 10–15 minutes. Once that is done, you can brush off the table salt and wash your clothing. Remember that you cannot skip washing your cloth, as the table salt will leave white stains on the fabric if not washed immediately. The salt works as a gentle abrasive element and helps remove rust stains, so you can also try this remedy for rust stains.

  • 12 common landscape lighting mistakes to avoid

    A well-lit landscape instantly enhances visual appeal, making it more conducive and inviting for any event, from elaborate parties to quiet barbeque evenings. Pleasant outdoor lighting can single-handedly elevate the ambiance and set the right mood for occasions held in these spaces. Landscape lighting involves considering several aspects, including shortlisting lighting equipment, installing lights, and testing their efficacy. However, avoiding a few common mistakes given below while lighting a landscape can ensure a hassle-free process:

    Causing direct glare
    Direct glare is when a light source is directly exposed to the eye without any shield to filter it. Such direct exposure to light can cause severe discomfort and affect one’s vision. Studies have shown that direct glare increases one’s risk of developing cataracts and other eye conditions during one’s later years. Thus, lights should be covered with glare shields and spotlights to prevent glare from directly entering the eyes.

    Placing lights in a straight line
    Arranging lights in a straight line gives rise to a rather uninteresting design resembling a runway. Arranging lights in curves or innovative shapes and patterns is a good idea to facilitate visual appeal. LED string lights, spotlights, chandeliers, balloon lights, etc., arranged esthetically across a landscape, can create a subtly radiant ambiance for an event.

    Overlooking centerpiece lighting
    Centerpiece lighting ensures a festive atmosphere and sets the mood for an outdoor event. It also enhances the dining experience and quality of interactions. Cubical table-light centerpieces, elegant crystal lamps, or classic table lamps are ideal centerpiece lighting options for events and parties. Moreover, installing high-lit tables, or tables with subtle lighting underneath them, can add to an outdoor event’s splendor.

    Not exploring unique lighting ideas
    Good lighting serves the practical purpose of illuminating the surroundings and the aesthetic need for a visually appealing environment. Thus, even though conventional lighting can increase the radiance of a landscape, walking the extra mile to think out of the box can significantly elevate its look and feel. Today, several unique lighting ideas have been devised to enhance the aesthetics of a landscape, from the architectural lighting of pathways and entrances to laser and LED string lights.

    Compromising on light quality for the price
    Cheap outdoor lighting fixtures may be attractive options to reduce costs, but these can increase one’s expenses substantially in the long run. It is essential to thoroughly research different lighting brands and designers and opt for ones that optimally balance quality and cost.

    Not paying attention to the shadow effect
    While lights illuminate a landscape, shadows create depth perception and textures. Opting for indirect light fixtures and strategically installing lights to facilitate shadows can help ensure a light-and-shadow effect in landscapes.

    Not using the proper beam spread
    The ideal beam spread for a landscape depends on the size of a landscape feature. Thus, taller landscape features require narrower beams, while shorter and wider landscape features lend themselves to beam spreads of 35 or 60 degrees.

    Failing to create a balance in lighting
    Balanced lighting refers to ensuring that the adjacent sides of a landscape complement each other. For example, the left and right sides of a landscape viewed from a distance should appear thematically connected, even though not necessarily identical. Such symmetrical integration significantly enhances a landscape’s visual appeal.

    Over- or under-illuminating
    Excessive lighting can not only spoil the look of a landscape but also give rise to light pollution, the phenomenon of artificial light contributing to an increase in carbon-dioxide levels. In contrast, under-illumination defeats the practical and esthetic purposes of lighting. Therefore, it is essential to balance these extremes, consulting a lighting designer on the number and types of lights that may be installed in a landscape.

    Not considering automated lighting controls
    Automated lighting systems entail built-in timers that can automatically turn on and turn off lights at dusk and dawn, respectively. Utilizing such automated controls for landscape lighting can reduce energy consumption levels and the amount spent on electricity. It is a good idea to check out these systems and the total installation expenditure and make an informed purchase decision.

    Failing to plan landscape lighting
    Approaching landscape lighting without a concrete plan can pave the way for chaos and inadequate or excessive lighting. Moreover, it can lead to excessive energy consumption and failure to fulfill one’s core requirements. Therefore, it is essential to understand one’s lighting requirements and chalk out a sustainable and practical plan to install lighting across the landscape.

    Not consulting a professional lighting designer
    While installing lights may seem easy, it requires considerable planning and expertise to integrate aesthetics and functionality perfectly. A professional lighting designer can conduct a needs analysis and suggest the ideal types of lights to install on a landscape. Moreover, lighting designers are also aware of the best ways to reduce one’s installation and electricity costs while not compromising on the landscape’s visual appeal. It helps to discuss all such aspects with a professional before starting the installation process.

    Landscape lighting can help establish a vibrant and safe atmosphere, making it conducive for inhabitants and visitors. The key is understanding one’s lighting requirements and budget range and consulting a professional to integrate visual appeal with functionality.

  • A basic guide to understanding dealer management systems (DMS)

    Managing a dealership is a demanding job. Several aspects need to be taken into consideration to run the business smoothly and effectively. Using business management software such as a dealer management system (DMS) can help ease this process. Efficient DMS can assist you in effortlessly managing different aspects of your business through unified software. This includes pre-sales, sales, purchases, post-purchase, financial accounting, inventory management, CRM, human resources, and more. Read on to learn more about DMS.

    What does a dealer management system do?
    The main objective of a dealer management system is to ease operational tasks and enhance operational efficiency. It takes the load off of excessive paperwork by streamlining and providing a centralized location for all your important data. A good DMS will also improve communication across different departments within your organization, encouraging better business awareness for your employees.

    Dealer management systems can help you with the following:

    Inventory management
    This is a crucial feature for dealerships with large inventories. It can help you store records in a single location and retrieve them at the click of a button. It can also help you monitor your expenses for reconditioning and flooring and provide industry-standard book values.

    Customer management
    Instead of looking through physical records for each of your customers, a DMS can help you store and access customer data more smartly. Some software also allows you to call or chat with your customers in real-time. These software applications are generally equipped with features that allow you to record conversations and categorize your contacts to easily follow your leads.

    DMS can help you automate all your accounting tasks, such as inventory, point of sale, and transaction costing. This will enable the quick generation of financial reports that can be shared with the rest of the team. It can also help you develop an operational budget, monitor performance, and analyze the profitability of every aspect of your business.

    Service management
    Your DMS can also help you organize and manage the dealership’s service schedule to help you meet deadlines. It can help you streamline the service write-up process, schedule service work to maximize billable hours, allow your team to clock in and out easily, and make repair and warranty claim handling easier.

    Features to look for in a dealer management system
    The goal of an effective DMS is to improve your service capabilities while offering a great experience for your customers. While all businesses do not operate in the same manner, here are some standard DMS features that every business could benefit from:

    Inventory management
    Integrated accounting
    POS and retail management
    Reporting tools and analytics
    Customer relationship management (CRM)
    Service scheduling and productivity tracker
    Repair order and billing estimates
    Deal structuring, forms, and contracting
    Lead management quoting

    If you are keen on a DMS that offers more, look for the following features:

    Multi-location management
    Embedded text messaging
    Slips and storage management
    Cloud hosting
    Employee training
    IT support
    Price file updates from major manufacturers and distributors
    Availability across major phone/computer operating systems
    Integration with third-party solutions (such as CRM, ERP, Chatbots, RMA reporting, and smart search features)
    Prices for dealership management software can vary depending on the features offered, setup fees, number of systems installed, inventory list, and other factors.

    Tips for choosing the right dealer management system for your business
    If you’re in the market for a new dealer management system for your company, following these tips can help:

    Prioritize the list of features
    Classify all the features into three categories: needs, wants, and nice-to-have. This will help you prioritize your requirements and choose a DMS that is suitable for your business.

    These are the non-negotiable features that a potential DMS must have. It may include inventory, unit tracking, sales, management, scheduling, accounting, etc.

    Although these are not crucial for the functioning of your business, these features can help improve efficiency and provide insights. Some common features companies want include CRM, sales pipeline management tools, automation tools, sorting, report generation, and third-party integrations.

    These may be considered frill features by many. While they can help improve your experience with the DMS, you can also comfortably continue your operations without them. Some nice-to-have features include training tools, mobile functionality, internal communications, cloud-based software options, and accessible customer support.

    Create a list of vendors
    This can help you find the right vendor for your business. Create a list of vendors that meet your priority list. You can scour the web for businesses, speak to your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances for suggestions, check industry publications, read online review listings, or even post on a public forum. Once you have a list of potential vendors, it is time to start shortlisting.

    Request a demo
    Conduct a thorough vetting of your list of vendors. You can reach out to their contact person and ask for more details to make an informed decision. Request a demo session once you have shortlisted two or three potential options. A formal demo session with the vendor can help you fill any remaining gaps in your knowledge about their offering and ensure the provider meets all their claims.

    Once you have finalized your vendor, it’s time to make a proposal. The ideal DMS will help you streamline and support your business as you scale it to greater heights.