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Lifestyle Health & Wealth

8 Life Habits – A Must For All Women In Their 40s

We still feel great in our 40s – these are the years a woman can really enjoy. But there are could be problems ahead which could turn into health issues for us women if care isn’t taken. Check out these tips below.

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So what happens during the previous 10 years?…well
Female bone density falls by about 3-5%
Stress levels may increase due to lifestyle matters involving kids, money, parents etc.
Depression, a complex condition, but is more common in these years.
Hormone changes affect a woman’s bodily systems, in particular, the sex drive.
Metabolism slows by around 2% more making weight control difficult especially for women and
Muscle loss is at around 7% over the decade. But don’t worry, help is at hand – read on…

Practice the following 8 lifestyle habits and you will be able to combat these life-changing events.

Not only that, but you should see an improvement in your all round health, having more energy, be more focused, less ill forming a platform for a continuing quality of life that is so important in later years.
And there is even better news. The weight that a lot of us women start to see in our 40s will gradually decrease so any plans of going on a diet can go out the window. We hate diets!
Middle-aged woman using weights

1. Improve muscle strength

A woman can increase her metabolism through strength training. This increase in her resting metabolism will maximize the calorie burn effect even when relaxing, making weight control a lot easier.
It also helps strengthen bone density, keep your balance, and avoid injury, important for protecting your skeleton both now and in later life. Try and get into the habit of doing half an hour of weight resistance training 5 days of the week.

Strength training is an important part of complete fitness and well-being but knowing where to start can be a problem. The  Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training is an in-depth guide that takes someone at any level through a 16 week strength program. It can be followed at home or at a gym. This short video features some regular women who have followed the program.
hearty breakfast

2. Take time for breakfast every day

Nutritionists agree that having a good breakfast is key to keeping weight down and fat-burning metabolism up especially for females. In one study, women who ate a big breakfast lost 21% of their body weight after 8 months, compared with 4.5% for women on a low-carb diet who made breakfast their smallest meal.

And the big breakfast eaters continued their success even though they ate more calories, while the low ‘carbers’ put on weight after 4 months. This is because breakfast works in concert with metabolism, which is highest in the morning, fueling energy consumption and prevents cravings when blood sugar drops.
salmon

3. Don’t ignore calcium and vitamin D

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women in their 40s get 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D every day from foods like fortified milk or salmon – our favorite, mackerel and other oily fish and with supplements if needed.

Even certain mushrooms are high in vitamin D and don’t forget eggs. Some nutrition experts suggest getting up to 1,000 IU a day is best for optimal health. The use of these foods is one of the main principles of the Beauty of Food Bible whose emphasis is not on a “diet” and “dieting” but on healthy eating.
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4. Control your stress levels

There’s no doubt that stress can age a woman quicker than anything else (even a man).
Stress can inhibit the natural rhythm of the heart rate, which can trigger unhealthy messages to the body’s systems. This can mean high blood pressure, less brain energy and less cell growth amongst other things.

To get your heart into a healthier rhythm, breathe in through your nose for 4 beats and out for 8 at least twice a day or anytime you feel the pressure. That activates the vagus nerve that runs from the brain to the pelvis, relaxing the heart, muscles, airways, gastrointestinal tract, and blood vessels.

Also, look into the benefits of the gentler forms of yoga such as Hatha for a moment of peace and reflection.
the dall the dork series

5. Have fun with your other half<

Try something new and not just in the bedroom. “When a woman falls in love, dopamine centers in the brain fire like crazy, and the same thing happens when you do something different and adventurous,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center, a sex therapy clinic in Chicago.
Activities like ballroom dancing or traveling to a new vacation spot promote bonding and stimulate the libido. The same goes for spicy play with sex toys.

One device on the center’s website features a pair of lacy panties with a built-in contoured vibrator that you or your partner can secretly trigger with a remote at boring cocktail parties.

A survey conducted by the Berman Center found that women who use sex toys (mostly in relationships) had more interest in sex, greater arousal, easier orgasms, and less pain during intercourse. Check out some strange facts about orgasm.proteinab

6. Eat more protein

Getting foods with all the amino acids needed to form complete proteins at least twice a day boosts levels of mood-lifting neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help relieve symptoms of depression, like slow thinking and poor memory. Women should try eating each main meal with 4 ounces of lean protein. Foods like fish, eggs, and quinoa. But don’t go without carbohydrates as the boost mood by increasing the production of serotonin in the brain.
Time out with girlfriends

7. Make a regular date with your girlfriends

Relaxing with friends reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, and even makes you more loving toward your partner when you get home. Women often lose their way socially into their 40s because of family and work commitments.

But women who have extensive social networks through family, work, their hobby and other organizational groups have lower blood pressure, less diabetes, reduced risk of heart disease and half as many strokes as women who are less well connected.
Woman having checkup

8. Get essential check-ups

As well as numbers 1 through 7 and your overall health, please don’t a woman should pay particular attention to the practical stuff like checkups:
Eye exam: Every 2 to 4 years
Blood pressure: Every 2 years
Pap test and pelvic exam: Every 1 to 3 years
Thyroid: Every 5 years
Mole check: Every year
Mammogram: Every 1 to 2 years
Blood glucose: Every 3 years starting at age 45
Source: Office of Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services

So that’s it – being aware and practicing these 8 healthy lifestyle habits will see you in good stead.

As you might have noticed it’s all about what you do with your body and what you put into it …
…I’m for anything natural and avoid plastering chemicals on my face and eating too much artificial this and processed that – occasional cake aside.
If you like the natural healthy options too, you can take advantage of all the foodstuffs that are probably in your fridge right now and transform your hair, skin and general health, with a little help from this free book on Natural Beauty Secrets – it’s something I’ve got my daughter into at last so she’ll serenely enter her 30’s, 40’s and beyond.

Anyway – would you like to look 10 years younger? We have looked at the things that are “DO’s” now check out this article by Steve & Becky Holman on 5 steps revealing the big “DON’T DO’s” for slowing the aging process, feeling healthy and full of energy with a body to die for.

It includes a program designed specifically to retard the physical and mental signs of aging. We like it because it works without having to spend hours in the gym or pounding the streets for hours on end.
source: richard-laliberte

Categories
Health & Wealth

8 Foods That Can Help Sleeping

If you are having difficulty nodding off and fancy ditching the sleeping pills, the good news is there are plenty of natural foods that can help induce sleep.

Whilst there are some recommendations that it is best not to eat after 7pm, feeling hungry can keep you awake so sometimes a light snack doesn’t hurt.

From bananas to cheese, here is a list of 8 foods which can help your sleep quality, with a touch of the science behind how they can help. There are some which may surprise you:

Young woman lying on bed with banana and her boyfriend is busy with laptop

1 – Bananas

Despite being thought of as an ‘energy fruit’, bananas can actually have the opposite effect and help you to get your shut eye.

This is because the potassium they contain can relax your muscles in preparation.

Washing your banana down with warmed milk can be an even better solution, as they both contain a lot of carbohydrates which aid sleep.

two funny smiling eggs in a packet.

2 – Eggs

Whilst you may associate eggs as part of your brekkie routine, you could also consider a hard boiled one as a pre-bedtime snack. This is because they contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sedative.

Eggs are also packed with protein and the effect they have on your blood-sugar means you are more likely to have uninterrupted, quality sleep.

If you don’t think you will fancy eggs too near to bedtime, it could still be beneficial with getting to sleep to consider boiled eggs with a slice of wholemeal toast for your evening meal.

Fresh salmon fillet with parsley and lemon slices

3 – Fish

The vitamin B6 found in many fish aids with the production of melatonin in your body which works at night time as an indication to your mind and body that it is time to unwind and get some rest.

Two of the best sleep aiding types of fish are cod and salmon.

Roasted turkey on holiday table, candles and Christmas tree with ornaments

4 – Turkey
After a large Christmas dinner you may put your nodding off in front of the TV down to overindulging and too much wine.

While this is no doubt the case, and it would be lovely to blame the turkey (and people often do!), turkey has got some benefits.

This is because, similarly to eggs, it contains tryptophan, which if eaten in the right quantity can help the brain produce serotonin required for sleep.

Before you go for double-helpings at the Christmas or Sunday lunch table though, remember it is best to eat a lot of the turkey itself, preferably on an empty stomach, or perhaps on a wholemeal sandwich to gain any sort of benefit!

Wood spoons with whole wheat grains, wheat bran and wheat flour

5 – Cereals

As long as you don’t go for the ones that are packed full of refined sugar (always check the label, some cereals can unfortunately contain “nasty” surprises when you think you are being healthy!) and go for wholegrain ones, cereals can be the perfect snack to nibble on before your head hits the pillow.

The fibre in the whole grains will stabilise your blood sugar levels which slows down absorption of sugars, letting your body keep ahead while it’s processing them.

Just watch your portion size, so your tum doesn’t try too hard to digest it.

strawberries-26 – Strawberries

As well as many other health benefits such as improved heart health, anti-aging properties and a boost to your immune system, strawberries can also help when it comes to sleep, due to their vitamin C content.

(Whilst you might automatically think of oranges when you hear of vitamin C though, these wouldn’t be advised, as the acidity could cause other problems if eaten too close to bedtime; such as heartburn, which would be a separate keeping you awake issue!)

Being a fruit they are also versatile and could be eaten as part of a fruit salad for example, and are better on the waistline than a lot of other snacks.

brocolli-17 – Broccoli

Broccoli is an amazing food that has a number of healthy plus points.

When it comes to helping your sleep, you could consider eating it as an accompaniment to your early evening meal.

As well as the protein, iron and fibre content, the magnesium broccoli contains is linked to helping your shut eye.

Cheese

8 – Cheese

Before you pass on to the grandchildren the old wives tale that eating cheese before bed can give you nightmares, consider the type of cheese and its actual sleep benefits!

Whilst strong tasting cheese such as Stilton is linked to bad dreams if eaten too closely to bedtime, other types of cheese such as Cheshire can actually help your sleep without producing crazy dreams!

Other recommended cheeses to help your sleep quality are low-fat cottage cheese/Mozzarella and Ricotta.

The cheese contains tryptophan which has a similar effect to eggs and turkey..

Prior to your rush to get the cheeseboard out though, remember to watch your portion size. as cheese is unfortunately high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

If the small portion of cheese won’t fill you up on its own, you could always pair it with some grapes.

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Health & Wealth Women's Style

8 Life Habits – A Must For All Women In Their 50s

If, in our 40s it was all about a transitioning lifestyle then in our 50s change is no longer sometime in the future but is with us now.

After the fabulous 40s you’ve developed as wise, assured women full of experience and prepared for anything life throws up. Yes, welcome to the fabulous 50s.
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Fifty used to be the start of a winding down and letting the younger generations steal your thunder – but no more. When a woman hits her fabulous fifties, she still has all of her potential to shine as long as she nurtures her body through excellent health and lifestyle choices. Now is the time to take life by the horns and shape the years ahead.

We know there are challenges to continue feeling good, looking good and enjoying life.

Apart from everything else there is menopause to contend with which affects just about every physiological system in our bodies.

No need for negativity though as the following 8 habits will help minimize your health risks but the fact is that the chances of developing an illness or disease that devalues the quality of life increases greatly in your 50s, so what can be done to lessen the risks, maintain or even improve the quality of health, fitness and well-being?
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Health & Wealth Women's Style

9 Advantages Women Have For Success In Online Business

It occurred to me that over the last few years we see more and more successful female online business owners whether it’s eCommerce sites, successful blogs, internet marketing product creators, freelance writers or whatever.
Group Of Female Friends In Caf‚ Using Digital Devices

Discussing this with a couple of other online business owner friends (also female) over our usual elevenses we came to the conclusion that this should be no surprise and it would seem a logical path for a woman to take especially as we are seeing the breakdown of traditional work structures and practices.

So we came up with 9 reason why women are better suited to running a successful online business. Not that we decry our opposing gender’s abilities. Besides there are plenty of successful male online business owners to point an enviable finger at.

But there is every reason to think that we have an advantage over men these days in making it online. Male or female, what do you think?
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Health & Wealth

Time To Go It Alone? – Become A Solopreneur? 7 Reasons Why Now Is The Right Time

Ever thought about going it alone in the world of employment and getting out of the rush to work? Wonder how hard it can be to be self-employed?

Once it was only the preserve of the adventurous or the foolhardy or those with water-tight backing to become a freelance, independent worker.

It appears that NOW is a good a time as any to become a freelancer, an entrepreneur or in today’s vocabulary a “solopreneur”…

According to the Urban Dictionary a solopreneur is “An entrepreneur who works alone, “solo,” running their business single-handedly. They might have contractors for hire, yet have full responsibility for the running of their business.”

The 4th annual 2014 MBO Partners State of Independence in America workforce study reports a growing headcount of 17.9 million “solopreneur” independent workers – or those who regularly work 15 hours or more per week as independents, with most working more than 35 hours per week. This is up 1.2% from 2013 and 12.5% from the base year of 2011. This growth, which is more than 11 times higher than the 1.1% growth in the overall U.S. labor force during this 4-year period, demonstrates the continued, structural shift toward independent work.”
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Yes working from home doing freelance work has been a reality for 18 million Americans to date and the forecast is 40 million by 2020.
Discover the trends occurring today that are going to be beneficial for those seeking to work for themselves at home.
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Health & Wealth

8 Interesting “Work From Home” Ideas

Are you ready to try something different?

homeofficeFor any number of reasons you might be one of many looking for a way to let go of your 9 to 5.

For many, the online lifestyle has become a reality and many quite “ordinary” people are earning thousands a month and no longer have to make that boring commute to work.

Literally millions of dollars are spent each day on the internet. People are no longer worried about buying online so this has given rise to many opportunities either by brokering services or brokering sales as in the first work from home idea, where the rewards can be sky high.

Traditional sales methods are changing and companies, large or small, are turning to selling through affiliates for maximum leverage and anyone can be an affiliate and get large commissions for a relatively small effort once a system is in place.

So let’s look at affiliate marketing plus some other interesting opportunities that can be done from home and often with a huge amount of flexibility and success …

1. Affiliate Marketer
the glory of the internet series e commerceAn internet affiliate program and affiliate marketing networks can be used to market goods and services online. 

Many don’t realize, but there are affiliate opportunities everywhere and you can earn anywhere from 10% to 75% of the item depending on what it is. It used to require a fair amount of technical know-how to set up in affiliate marketing but that’s no longer the case.

How to get started…

There are a ton of very successful affiliate marketers online who have worked out the best ways to earn 6 or more figure incomes a month – it didn’t happen straight away for them but they’re the ones to listen to.

How to get started? Get the training and tools and copy what they do.

We’ve included 2 tried and tested programs below for you. They offer value-for-money and the owner’s ethical reputation. These are probably the best options for long term success with affiliate marketing. Both are from long established and successful marketers.

Highly Recommended
Learn how to make money online as an affiliate. You can create a FREE account here  and get immediate access to a Quick Start Affiliate Marketing Guide, Downloadable Roadmap To Success as well as 120 Video Lessons.

Mark Ling’s site is probably the most comprehensive place to become successful with affiliate marketing even if you know nothing about it. The resources available are extensive. There are many success stories so try out Affilorama today and see if it’s for you.

Clickbank is a place where you can easily sell digital products and get 75% commision but Patrick Chan author of “Wakeup Millionaire” and highly regarded marketer, has taken it one step further.

He is offering you to use his business system to produce a passive monthly. So the program  is a clone of the way he makes money online – you can catch more of his system through this video.

2. The Virtual Assistant
beautiful support girl in calling centre
Demands for virtual assistant
or VA’s as they’re known is a huge and growing market. Depending on your background experience and what type of client you work with the VA’s tasks can be many and varied.

They can include customer service, editing and proofreading, website design, book-keeping, event planning, data entry and many other jobs that may have been the responsibility of a number of people sitting in an office. Much more fun at home – and productive.

Find these opportunities at sites like Clayton’s Secretary, Desk Demon and IAVA.

3. eBay Trading Assistant
ebay
EBay Trading Assistants (TA’s)
help do the selling for those that don’t want all the bother of listing their items. eBay Trading Assistants may operate from home but normally go to customer’s homes or businesses to pick the items up and then sell them at eBay on consignment. It can also be run online or through a physical shop where people come in off the street to transact.

eBay sellers are always looking for assistance, and with some experience and some data to back up your expertise the job can easily be yours and for a reasonable fee. It may be worthwhile producing “How To” eBooks on eBay and distributing them on your website or on ebay.

4. Direct Sales Person
A Tupperware magazine advertisement

This is not for everyone but for many who enjoy entertaining and love nothing better than slurping on a glass of wine with a group of friends, direct selling can be a great opportunity to fit working life around your family and also make a lot of money too.
There are now many reputable companies that do business like this. Normally they will provide you with the products to market and sell and you’ll get a percentage of what sells. There are often incentives for growth whereby you develop an area group of similar sellers from whom you get a small percentage in exchange for your support.

5. The Planner.
Beautiful wedding couple

Are you well organized and methodical? And if you have a background in event organizing all the better, as there is a growing popularity for private events to be run by a hired planner.
So we have Wedding Planner, Birthday Party Planner, any party planner, Baby Planner, Vacation Planner.
There could be a natural fit if your background has relevance to any of these niches.

6. Social Marketing VA
man pressing a touchscreen like buttonThis is a little different to the traditional roles of the Virtual Assistant in the previous slide and deserves a separate mention.
As everyone knows, social marketing is here to stay with continuous growth from the old guard of Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+ with similar platforms coming online all the time.

You can easily turn an addiction to the post, tweet and share by offering social marketing services to businesses and internet marketers. Virtual Assistants with a love of social media are finding work easy in this new niche by making regular postings to multiple social sites on a variety of subjects through page, groups, tweet updates. Try Paid Social Media Jobs for more information.

7. Search Engine Evaluator
young girl in cinemaThis is perfect for native English speakers, culturally aware with a passion for all things music and film.

Search engine companies like Google give you information to search for, and you tell them how closely their results matched what you were looking for. Sounds like an ideal job for many, but don’t expect to feed a large family on the rates. The hiring will be done through companies like Leapforce At Home and Appen Butler Hill.

8. The Writer
Young woman on a train writing notes
Writing encompasses a raft of different job types. If you have sound knowledge and a passion for a particular subject you could write ebooks and self publish through Amazon’s Kindle or Nookpress.

Companies are always in need of quality articles for their websites – set up your own simple website to offer writing services and market through an online services provider like Elance, Odesk or through social media like Linkedin. You can find out more at paidonlinewritingjobs.com.

2 things you need to be a successful affiliate marketer…
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Categories
Health & Wealth

Make That Monday Morning Feeling A Thing Of The Past

There was a time when Monday to Friday was the ‘time for work’ and the weekend was the weekend and anything went. This meant momentarily turning a blind eye to what’s good for your health and well-being and just having a good time. There were always a high levels of rich food and drink and low levels of exercise and contemplation.

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Walking into the working door on a Monday morning always felt the same. It was a miserable moment both mentally and physically and the rest of the day was spent gradually getting into the ‘time for work’ routine and rhythm.

But there are good reasons to taking care over the weekend and look at what you eat. The lessons of the Monday morning and ‘time for work’ take years to sink in but finally we learn that a good healthy weekend has a lot of benefits.

Sticking to a wholesome diet helps support your healthy goals, and you’ll enter into Monday morning full of energy! Luckily, it doesn’t have to be a confusing or hard endeavor. Follow these rules; you’ll be good to go.

Sip with a clean start:

Make a cup of hot water with pH-balancing lemon juice part of your weekend morning ritual. As you hydrate with H2O, this warming, soothing drink will also aid healthy digestion.

Cook at home:

Eating out at restaurants should be a treat — not an every-meal occurrence. Cook at home this weekend to have complete control of the healthy ingredients going into every meal.

Add produce to every meal:

Bump up the nutritional value of every meal by always adding a helping of fruits and veggies. A fruit cup makes a great breakfast side, and every protein is better alongside a cup of greens.

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Say no to processed foods:

Fast food, junk food, and other processed goods have got to go. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, try to avoid it this weekend.

Keep carbs smart:

Comforting staples like white bread, bagels, and pastries can result in your energy crashing through the day; support your digestion and energy levels with complex carbs.

Don’t hold out to eat:

When you sit down to a meal famished, you’re far more likely to overeat and overdrink — or eat whatever is in sight! Stay satisfied between meals with snacks so you don’t skip out on your healthy goals.

Skip the added sugar:

Natural sugar from fruit is what you’re looking for on a clean-eating plan; the white sugar that goes into baked goods or your supersweet coffee beverage is not.

Make snacks homemade:

Plan ahead and prep a quality snack so there’s no need to step into a convenience store.

Give the booze a break:

Skip the brunch full of mimosas or evening out with cocktails; booze is full of empty calories and tons of sugar, which can mess with all the hard work you put in with meal planning.

Drink more water:

One of the easiest ways to support any healthy weekend is to drink plenty of water. Keep your bottle full at all times to help rid your body of toxins and support healthy digestion.

Kick out condiments:

Ketchup, mayo, ranch dressing — whatever comforting condiment is your pick — keep it far away from a weekend of clean eats. Focus on enjoying fresh, natural flavors instead.

Opt for organic:

According to naturopath practitioner Dr. Holly Lucille, ND, RN, pesticides, herbicides, and hormones can “disrupt your endocrine system, [and] spur on weight gain and inflammation.” Opting for organic goods makes steering clear of these chemicals a priority.

Bring your own food:

Eating clean doesn’t mean you can’t stay social! Just don’t make it all about the food. Instead of meeting up at a bar or restaurant, spend time outside or at a friend’s house where you can enjoy your clean food freely.

Author: Lizzie Fuhr

workhappy

This all might seem a bit extreme and there are certainly some options less palatable than others – I won’t give mine away – but by trying to stick to some and moderate others it’s surprising how the Monday morning door is easier to go through and the ‘time for work’ is a time that is more enjoyable. (That’s what somebody told me anyway:) )

 

Categories
Health & Wealth

Wine & Exercise Is Good For Your Heart

I love this idea of vineyard jogging – perhaps it’ll be a new craze. I love wine and love running although my distances have come down over the years and the thought that the combination is good for the heart makes me feel better as I remember the times when it was a struggle to put on running shoes whilst nursing a sore head – it was all worth it.

Well I don’t think running with a hangover being good is the main thrust of this research so I’m not endorsing it but …

wineglass

The European Society of Cardiology is currently convened in Barcelona for its annual congress, where an abundance of promising heart-disease research has been unveiled. Envious American eyes are on a study of regular wine consumption and its apparent health benefits.

Many studies in the past have found that wine drinkers have healthier hearts than abstainers, but the current trial—called In Vino Veritas (In Wine, Truth)—is one of the first studies to actually introduce wine into people’s lives and track its effects on their bodies.

Lead researcher Miloš Táborský, head of cardiology at the Palacký University Hospital in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, revealed the study’s results in a presentation over the weekend, saying, “We found that moderate wine drinking was only protective in people who exercised. Red and white wine produced the same results.”

For one year, subjects drank “moderate” amounts of wine five days per week. For men, that meant 0.3 to 0.4 liters daily, about two to two-and-a-half glasses. For women it meant 0.2 to 0.3 liters, about one to two glasses. (A more common definition is one glass for women and two glasses for men.) Half of the 146 subjects drank pinot noir, and half drank a white “chardonnay-pinot.” The participants logged any and all alcohol consumption in journals, where they also kept track of their diets and physical activity.

By itself, drinking wine did not appreciably affect cholesterol, blood glucose, triglycerides, or levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. It also did not appreciably damage people’s livers during the year, at least, based on liver-function tests.

But then Táborský and company ran a more specific analysis that looked at people who exercised. Among those who worked out twice per week and drank wine, there was significant improvement in cholesterol levels (increased HDL and decreased LDL) after a year of wine—red or white, no matter.
grapes
“Our current study shows that the combination of moderate wine drinking plus regular exercise improves markers of atherosclerosis,” said Táborský, “suggesting that this combination is protective against cardiovascular disease.”
The United States has a storied history of gawking at European wine consumption, which includes some of my own work. In the 1970s, a large study of multiple countries in Europe showed that people who ate more saturated fat died earlier in a nearly linear relationship. But France seemed partially exempt, and the French also drank more wine than their counterparts. A seminal 1992 study in The Lancet by Serge Renaud and Michel De Lorgeril tied together the correlation in what the authors called a “French Paradox”: Mild to moderate wine consumption might protect against heart disease by “counteract[ing] the untoward effects of saturated fats.”

The French paradox fueled wine-industry marketing and a slew of studies hoping with varying degrees of candor that protective benefits of wine would be validated. The prevailing takeaway has been that mild to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with some health benefits, primarily of the cardiac variety, including a 17 percent decrease in all-cause mortality. But even very mild alcohol consumption has also been shown to introduce its own untoward risks, including esophageal and breast cancers. Wine has, in some studies, seemed to be more beneficial than other alcohols, and the prevailing theory behind that is the oxidative modification hypothesis: Antioxidants like polyphenols in grape skins neutralize harmful free radicals.

The red wine used in the In Vino Veritas study had more antioxidants than the white—almost ten times as many polyphenols, and six times as much resveratrol. So the fact that red and white wines were equally effective in this case argues against the antioxidant theory, as did a large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year that said resveratrolisn’t helping people.

“There may be some synergy between the low dose of ethyl alcohol in wine and exercise which is protective against cardiovascular disease,” Táborský said in his presentation, leaving other causal speculation to the rest of us. Táborský is also an automobile enthusiast and owner of a three-year old Weimaraner, according to his professional website.

He concluded with the caveat that despite the fact that only about a third of the world’s population drinks alcohol, alcohol use results in 3.3 million deaths every year. Lovely as it would be to say that drinking a moderate amount of wine is categorically a good idea, the study is just another drop in the conflicting wine research well. Thinking about health in terms of isolated dietary elements is, you know, a limited proposition, so this can’t be an endorsement of anything other than exercise. If vineyard jogging becomes a thing, then it becomes a thing. I am not endorsing vineyard jogging or suggesting that anyone start a vineyard jogging group.

On a final dry note, the European Society of Cardiology reported that the participants in the study were required to return the corks from the wine bottles to confirm that they indeed drank the wine and did not sell it.

Author: JAMES HAMBLIN

Categories
Health & Wealth

9 Air-Cleaning Houseplants That Are Almost Impossible to Kill

carniverous

Author: Maria Janowiak
What might your office or apartment have in common with a NASA spaceship? Unfortunately the answer may be poor air quality. Indoor air pollutants have been ranked among the top five environmental risks to public health: Stagnant indoor environments allow pollutants to build up and stick around in greater amounts than we humans should be breathing in. Living and working in places rife with air contaminants and lacking decent ventilation can cause “sick building syndrome,” which can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and eye, ear, and nose irritation. Lucky for us, NASA scientists have been working to understand this problem and find solutions. Their space-age solution was an easy one that anyone can use: Use houseplants to clean the air.

Star-Trek

What’s the Deal?

Given that people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, air quality matters [2]. Furnishings, upholstery, synthetic building materials, and cleaning products in homes and offices can emit a variety of toxic compounds, like formaldehyde. Indoor air pollution can also be caused by pollen, bacteria, and molds, as outdoor air contaminants like car exhaust finds its way into buildings. All of these are made worse in small or poorly-ventilated spaces (like maybe your apartment with that window that you accidentally painted shut last year).

The good news is that there’s an easy and affordable way to combat the presence of the yucky stuff we may be breathing in, and it comes right from the natural world. Plants purify air, making them part of what NASA calls “nature’s life support system.” Adding potted plants to a room has been shown to reduce the amount of air particulates (although plants in bloom may be contributing their own compounds to the air) [3][4].

So, how do houseplants clean the air? Plants absorb some of the particulates from the air at the same time that they take in carbon dioxide, which is then processed into oxygen through photosynthesis. But that’s not all—microorganisms associated with the plants are present in the potting soil, and these microbes are also responsible for much of the cleaning effect [4].

Beyond air quality, plants just make people feel better. For example, hospital patients with plants in their rooms were more positive and had lower blood pressure and stress levels [6]. Similarly, indoor plants may make people smarter by allowing them to stay alert and reducing mental fatigue [7].

Your Action Plan

Although houseplants may be intimidating to those with a “black thumb” or fear of commitment, it turns out that many plants are easy to care for—so easy, in fact, you’d have to try pretty hard to kill them. Below, we’ve pulled together a list of nine virtually-indestructible plants inspired by NASA’s research.

Each kind of plant has its own favorite environmental conditions, so look for a tag that comes with the plant or online to find out how much sunlight and water it will need. If your plant doesn’t come in a pretty pot, or if it outgrew its previous one, you can easily repot it. Just find a pot that’s at least onw inch larger than the previous container, add potting soil to the bottom, and place the plant so that the top of the soil remains at the same level as before. Finally, carefully pack potting soil around the edges of the plant and water it. Voilà!

1. Garden Mum

GardenMum

In the NASA research, this plant was an air-purifying champion, removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from indoor air. Popular and inexpensive at garden stores, they can be planted outside after they’re finished blooming.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene

2. Spider Plant

SpiderPlant

Spider plants are among the easiest houseplants to grow, making them a great choice for beginners or forgetful owners. A fan of bright, indirect sunlight, spider plants will send out shoots with flowers that eventually grow into baby spider plants or spiderettes.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

3. Dracaena

Dracaena_0

There are more than 40 different kinds of Dracaena plants, making it easy to find one that’s a perfect fit for your home or office. They’re common foliage plants with long, wide leaves that are often variegated with lines of white, cream, or red. Pet owners might want to select a different plant, however, as these are toxic to cats and dogs.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene

4. Ficus/Weeping Fig

Fig_1

Though the ficus is a tree in its native home of southeast Asia, when it grows indoors, it’s a hardy plant that ends up being between two and 10 feet tall. So why not get figgy with it? Grow this low-maintenance houseplant in bright, indirect light and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Although this plant has some serious air-cleaning abilities, it can also be taken outside in late spring and brought back indoors when temperatures are warm and well above freezing.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene

5. Peace Lily

PeaceLilly_0

Peace lily plants are relatively small compared to many of the plants on this list, but they still pack some major air-cleaning abilities. Easy to grow, these plants will flower for much of the summer. Just be aware that those flowers (like all flowers) do contribute some pollen and floral scents to the air, so you may want to avoid having a room full of them. Put peace lilies in a shady spot and keep the soil moist without overwatering.

Pollutants removed: ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene

6. Boston Fern

BostonFern_0

These plants prefer to clean the air from a cool location with high humidity and indirect light. They’re relatively easy to grow, but they do need to stay moist. Check the Boston Fern’s soil daily to see if it needs water, and give it a good soak once per month.

Pollutants removed: formaldehyde and xylene

7. Snake Plant/Mother-in-Law’s Tongue

SnakePlant_3

This is one of the hardest houseplants to kill. Although it does need to be watered occasionally, it generally prefers drier conditions and some sun.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and xylene

8. Bamboo Palm

BambooPalm_0

A superstar of filtering formaldehyde, these palms thrive in full sun or bright light. Part of the reason they can filter so much air is that they can grow to be pretty big—as tall as four to 12 feet high, making them exciting (and pet-friendly) indoor additions.

Pollutants removed: benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene

9. Aloe Vera

AloeVera_0

In addition to being easy to care for, aloe makes some serious health claims. The plant’s leaves contain a clear liquid full of vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and other compounds that have wound-healing, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and there is some evidence that aloe may help (and is unlikely to hurt) skin conditions like psoriasis [8].

Pollutant removed: formaldehyde

Author: Maria Janowiak