Health Re­port

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

Quick fixes for your com­mon ail­ments

Too busy this sea­son to fo­cus on your health? You might be sur­prised by what you can do in just a few min­utes.

Peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence more hap­pi­ness be­fore a va­ca­tion, pos­si­bly be­cause they’re an­tic­i­pat­ing a few days away from their hec­tic rou­tines. So go ahead and plan that dream trip.

1 If you’re strug­gling with: Low En­ergy If you’ve got 1 minute Drink A Glass Of Water Even a slight dip in hy­dra­tion lev­els can cause fa­tigue, ac­cord­ing to scientists. How much fluid do you need? In gen­eral, men re­quire around 3 litres (six 16.9-ounce bot­tles) per day; women, around 2.2 litres (about four bot­tles). If you’ve got 10 min­utes Take A Power Nap In a study of four nap du­ra­tions – 5, 10, 20 and 30 min­utes – the 10-minute nap­pers won out, re­port­ing more en­ergy two-and-a-half hours later. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Watch A Sit­com Take this as a good ex­cuse to sit in front of the tele­vi­sion and LOL: Laugh­ter re­leases cells re­spon­si­ble for im­proved im­mune func­tion. These cells then have a domino ef­fect on lots of other cells, in­clud­ing neu­ro­trans­mit­ters re­spon­si­ble for mood and en­ergy. 2 If you’re strug­gling with: De­pres­sion If you’ve got 1 minute Give Or Get A Hug It’s not un­com­mon to feel a lit­tle down some­times, but there’s a quick fix: Hug a loved one. Scientists have found that hug­ging re­leases oxy­tocin, the feel-good hor­mone, while also de­creas­ing lev­els of the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol. If you’ve got 10 min­utes Make A Do­na­tion Giv­ing money to a good cause makes us feel hap­pier, ac­cord­ing to a Uni­ver­sity of Bri­tish Columbia and Har­vard Busi­ness School study. Want to feel even bet­ter? If a friend or neigh­bour is rep­re­sent­ing a char­ity, pick that one, as it will heighten those pos­i­tive feel­ings. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Plan A trip Peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence more hap­pi­ness be­fore a va­ca­tion, pos­si­bly be­cause they’re an­tic­i­pat­ing a few days away from their hec­tic rou­tines, a Dutch study has shown. So go ahead and plan that dream trip.

Swedish re­searchers sur­veyed more than 17,000 peo­ple and dis­cov­ered that those with the fewest so­cial con­nec­tions were at a 50% higher risk for dy­ing of heart dis­ease than were those with plenty of so­cial ties.

3 If you’re strug­gling with: Sleep De­pri­va­tion If you’ve got 1 minute Ban­ish Pets From The Bed­room Dogs and cats might be cud­dly, but they don’t usu­ally ad­here to hu­man sleep sched­ules, notes Meir Kryger, au­thor of ‘Prin­ci­ples and Prac­tice of Sleep Medicine’. The so­lu­tion? Send Fido away at bed­time. If you’ve got 10 min­utes Write It Down When some­thing is both­er­ing you, don’t go to bed be­fore jot­ting down how you’re go­ing to fix it. For a study pub­lished in ‘Be­hav­ioral Sleep Medicine’, scientists split sub­jects into two groups. Both wrote down prob­lems be­fore turn­ing in, but one group also listed pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. This lat­ter group fell asleep faster. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Put Your Mind Into Med­i­ta­tion Mid­dle-age and older adults who had mind­ful­nessmed­i­ta­tion train­ing slept bet­ter than those who took ed­u­ca­tional classes for im­prov­ing sleep habits, ac­cord­ing to a UCLA study pub­lished in ‘JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine’. In fact, the study found that med­i­ta­tion can be as ef­fec­tive as sleep­ing pills. 4 If you’re strug­gling with: Heart Dis­ease If you’ve got 1 minute Pop A Pro­bi­otic Pa­tients with con­ges­tive heart fail­ure who took a pro­bi­otic strength­ened their hearts, one study con­cluded. “We’re not ex­actly sure why, but it may be that pro­bi­otics help to lower in­flam­ma­tion as well as boost weight loss, both of which im­pact heart health,” ex­plains Steen Masley, co-au­thor of the book ‘Smart Fat’. If you’ve got 10 min­utes Walk With Vigour You don’t have to train for a marathon to keep your heart fit. It turns out that walk­ing at a brisk pace is just as ef­fec­tive at low­er­ing blood pres­sure and choles­terol as run­ning is, ac­cord­ing to re­search find­ings. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Con­nect With A Friend Swedish re­searchers sur­veyed more than 17,000 peo­ple and dis­cov­ered that those with the fewest so­cial con­nec­tions were at a 50% higher risk for dy­ing of heart dis­ease than were those with plenty of so­cial ties.

5 If you’re strug­gling with: Headaches If you’ve got 1 minute Take Mag­ne­sium Ox­ide Mi­graine suf­fer­ers who took mag­ne­sium ox­ide had a 42% re­duc­tion in mi­graine at­tacks over 12 weeks, a Ger­man study found. If you’ve got 10 min­utes Brew A Cuppa Caf­feine can help ward off a headache if you feel one com­ing on. In fact, caf­feine is an ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in many pre­scrip­tion and over-the-counter med­i­ca­tions for headache, in­clud­ing Ex­cedrin and Mi­dol Com­plete. If you’re an in­som­niac, don’t take these within six hours of bed­time. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Try A Com­press And Chill Bright lights, noise and move­ment can make headaches even more ex­cru­ci­at­ing. So treat your­self to a 30-minute time­out in a dark, quiet room – and while you’re at it, put a cold com­press on your fore­head. Cold ther­apy may help the blood ves­sels in your head con­strict.

Bright lights, noise and move­ment can make headaches even more ex­cru­ci­at­ing. So treat your­self to a 30-minute time-out in a dark, quiet room – and while you’re at it, put a cold com­press on your fore­head.

6If you’re strug­gling with: Di­a­betes If you’ve got 1 minute En­joy A Piece Of Cho­co­late A bit of dark cho­co­late daily may help pre­vent di­a­betes, ac­cord­ing to a study in the ‘Bri­tish Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion’. Two squares of 60 to 70% pure co­coa is the ideal amount to have. If you’ve got 10 min­utes Dress Your Salad In Vine­gar An Ari­zona State Uni­ver­sity study found that peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes had lower blood sugar lev­els if they con­sumed about 2 ta­ble­spoons of vine­gar (in salad) right be­fore they had a high­car­bo­hy­drate meal. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Go To A Yoga Class Prac­tic­ing gen­tle yoga helps keep blood sugar lev­els steady, re­duces the ef­fect of ox­i­dized stress on the body by 20% and can help you drop some weight. That’s the word from a study in ‘Di­a­betes Care’.

A bit of dark cho­co­late daily may help pre­vent di­a­betes, ac­cord­ing to a study in the ‘Bri­tish Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tion’. Two squares of 60 to 70% pure co­coa is the ideal amount to have.

7 If you’re strug­gling with: Arthri­tis If you’ve got 1 minute Slip Off Your Shoes Walk­ing bare­foot lessens pres­sure on your knee joints – wel­come news for the 27 mil­lion older Amer­i­cans who have os­teoarthri­tis. Re­mov­ing your shoes can re­duce pres­sure on your joints by as much as 12%. If you’ve got 10 min­utes Wash Dishes By Hand Putting your hands in warm water not only helps re­lax your mus­cles and joints but also eases stiff­ness. If you’ve got 30 min­utes Ex­er­cise Reg­u­larly Though it sounds coun­ter­in­tu­itive, one of the best ways to ease os­teoarthri­tis in your hips and knees is to ex­er­cise. Walk­ers have more car­ti­lage – the tis­sue be­tween your joints that acts like a shock ab­sorber. If you’re new to ex­er­cise and ev­ery step is painful, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic can pro­vide the needed dis­trac­tion.

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