Strange but proven health tips
LONDON — We all know that you should eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, exercise regularly and cut down on saturated fat. But in recent years scientists have discovered a host of new — and rather more surprising — health tips and remedies.
Here, we reveal some of the more unusual advice for your well-being, including the virtues of chocolate milk and why high heels are good for you...
Ditch the whiskers If you’re prone to allergies, you might want to reconsider that moustache.
One study suggests that men who washed their moustaches twice a day with liquid soap used fewer antihistamines and decongestants. The reason?
Cleaning got rid of stuck pollen grains.
Dr Rob Hicks, GP and author of Beat Your Allergy, says: ‘Like clothing, skin and hair, a moustache will trap pollen throughout the day.
‘A man with hay fever might consider shaving off his moustache to see whether it makes a difference.
‘That would probably be easier and more effective than remembering to wash it twice a day.’
Sniff apple to stop a migraine
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it turns out they may have health benefits beyond that.
A recent study of 50 people by The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago found that the odour of green apple helped to reduce the severity of their migraines.
‘This may have something to do with the ability of pleasant fragrances to relax us and reduce tension,’ says Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Somerville College, Oxford. ‘ The odour may also help to distract people from thinking about the pain of the migraine.’
Another study found that apple aroma could help to relieve claustrophobia, by making a room seem bigger.
Apples, in particular, are thought to help because people associate them with being outside.
Wash hands after getting cash
Next time you take money out of a hole-in-the-wall, you may want to have a good scrub afterwards.
Cleanliness tests have revealed that cash machines are as dirty and carry the same germs as public lavatories.
Experts took swabs from city centre cashpoints around England. The swabs showed the machines were heavily contaminated with bacteria, including those known to cause sickness and diarrhoea.
Flush with the lid down
Dr Charles Gerba, a microbiologist from the University of Arizona, warns that you should always flush the lavatory with the seat lid down.
If you don’t, a polluted plume of bacteria and water vapour erupts out of the loo. The polluted water particles float for a few hours around your bathroom before they all land, some on your toothbrush.
Dr Gerba says: ‘Droplets contain- ing bacteria or viruses are ejected from the bowl when flushed and settle throughout the bathroom.
‘It doesn’t happen all the time, but E.coli and other faecal based bacteria really can make you ill, so unless you want to brush your teeth with what was in the toilet, it’s a good idea to close the lid.’
Microbiologist Dr Anthony Hilton, the head of biology and biomedical science at Aston University in Birmingham, says: ‘I’ve been involved with studies where we’ve put ultra-violet dye down the toilet.
‘After flushing, it’s possible to detect it all over the bathroom. And if you do keep the lid up, common sense would suggest it’s probably not the best idea to keep toothbrushes next to the toilet.’