Monday, April 16

Live Healthy VI *

Go nuts with your salad.
Sprinkle an ounce and a half of walnuts into your salad or mix them in with your yogurt. Why walnuts? They contain ellagic acid, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Plus, these nutritional powerhouses, low in artery-clogging saturated fat, are a good source of protein and cholesterol-reducing omega-3 fatty acids, which may decrease the risk of heart disease.

Take your iPod to your next dental appointment.
Whether you rap along with Mary J. Blige or bliss out to Beethoven, new research in the Journal of Advanced Nursing shows that listening to music eases pain -- be it from a cavity filling, a pulled muscle or even a bikini wax -- by 12 to 21 percent. Another suggestion: Schedule uncomfortable procedures during the second half (the last two weeks) of your menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels are their highest; that's when women produce the most endorphins to offset pain, according to studies conducted at the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland.

Make a play date to boost brainpower.
We tend to blame "mommy brain" for the fuzzy-minded chaos that comes from life with kids, but new research on animals indicates that caring for children actually makes women smarter. Neuroscientists at the University of Richmond found that pregnancy hormones prime moms' brains -- literally enlarging neurons and dendrites in the hippocampus -- to prepare them for the challenges of motherhood (providing nourishment, protecting against predators, etc.), all of which improve their cognitive functions. And you don't have to get pregnant to enjoy the effect. Lead study author Craig Kinsley, Ph.D., says that stimuli from spending time with children will give any woman's brainpower a lift.

Stretch out your fingers.
"The prolonged grips, repeated pressing of small buttons and awkward wrist movements used with a BlackBerry or an iPod can lead to repetitive stress injury in your fingers," says Stacey Doyon, president-elect of the American Society of Hand Therapists. To decrease your risk, do the following a few times a day:
  • Interlace fingers and turn palms away from your body as you extend arms outward; feel the stretch from your shoulders to your fingers; hold for 10 seconds.
  • Extend right arm in front of you, palm facing down. Place left hand on top of right hand and gently pull fingers on right hand toward your body. Feel the stretch in your wrist. Hold 10 seconds, then switch sides.
Help a greater cause.
Whether you write a check to your favorite charity or head up a fund-raiser for your child's school, philanthropy not only gives another person a lift but it also can boost your own health. Studies by Boston College, Vanderbilt University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Texas at Austin show that helping others can alleviate chronic pain and even depression.

Wear sunglasses anytime you're outdoors.
Exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, which penetrate clouds even on overcast days, increases your risk of cataracts (the leading cause of vision loss in those over 55). Choose shades that block both UVA and UVB rays. Look for a sticker that says "100% UVA and UVB protection."


1 comment:

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