Fish Oil May Help Preserve Brain Cells, Study Suggests
Women with high blood levels of fish oils have larger brain volumes then those with lower levels, suggesting the oils may delay the normal loss of brain cells due to aging, research found.
Those who raised their levels of two major omega-3 fatty acids by eating fish or taking supplements had larger total brain volume than those who didn’t, according to research posted online today by the journal Neurology.
As people age, their brains get smaller but the shrinkage is accelerated in those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the authors said. While today’s findings suggest that larger brain volumes equal a one- to two-year delay in the normal loss of brain cells, more studies are needed to look at what that means for memory, said James Pottala, the lead study author.
“Omega-3s are building blocks for brain cell membranes” said Pottala, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls and principal biostatistician at Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc. in Richmond, Virginia, in a Jan. 20 e-mail. If achieving certain omega-3 levels “can prevent or delay dementia, that would have huge mental health benefits, especially since levels can be safely and inexpensively raised through diet and supplementation.”
More than 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease, a number projected to triple by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. There is no treatment for the mind-debilitating disease. The only drugs approved for the condition ease symptoms for a few months while the disease continues to worsen.
Researchers looked at 1,111 post-menopausal women from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. During that trial, women had their red blood cell levels tested for eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, two major fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids, Pottala said. Eight years later, MRI scans were taken to measure their brain volume when they were an average age of 78 years.
They found that those whose omega-3 fatty acid levels were twice as high, 7.5 percent, had 0.7 percent larger brain volume. Those with the higher levels also had a 2.7 percent larger volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important part in memory and can begin to atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms even appear.
While the study didn’t measure how much fish or supplements the women consumed, previous research showed that healthy men and women eating non-fried oily fish like tuna, salmon or herring twice a week and taking fish oil supplements had a mean red blood cell level of EPA and DHA of 7.5 percent, Pottala said.
The brain uses DHA to make anti-inflammatory compounds that may help prevent cell death. Also the brain cell membranes are made up of DHA and insufficient amounts may cause the brain matter to decline over time, he said.
More studies are needed looking at men and women at risk for dementia and whether increasing their fish oil dose until their red blood cell levels were more than 8 percent benefited them, Pottala said.
Wisconsin’s Ice Caves Are Open For The First Time In Years, And They Look Incredible. The 21-island park located off the coast of the northern tip of Wisconsin is a well-known summer kayaking destination that attracts visitors with colorful, winding caves and rock formations that protrude and dip along the water line…..In the winter, the seashore takes on an entirely different quality. As frigid weather takes its toll on the Midwest, massive stalagmites and stalactites form along the islands’ striated geology. Inside the caves, lake water freezes into smooth, icy floors that are as clear as a sheet of glass.
Visitors can reach the caves by walking about a mile across the frozen surface of the lake — when the ice is thick enough, that is….Park officials monitor the ice conditions carefully, and the last time the ice was thick enough to venture safely out onto the frozen lake was in 2009. Luckily, after the past several weeks of Arctic-like weather, Lake Superior is now iced over enough to allow safe passage from the mainland to the caves.
‘Facts’ About History You Thought Were True, But Definitely Aren’t.
It’s almost as if you should relearn everything you know about history.
*[Takes deep breath]* Vikings didn’t have have horns on their helmets, iron maidens aren’t real, Columbus didn’t prove the world is round, Napoleon wasn’t short, Paul Revere didn’t shout “the British are coming,” Isaac Newton wasn’t hit by an apple, Walt Disney didn’t draw Mickey Mouse, Nero didn’t fiddle over a burning Rome and “Et tu, Brute?” doesn’t have the historical significance you think it does. *[Exhales]*
And that’s just the beginning. The stories below have become so persistently ingrained in our popular culture that we still consider them “facts” worthy of the history books. They aren’t.
So let’s set these stories straight…
1. The “story of Hamlet” was created by Shakespeare.
The plot of a vengeful prince planning retribution for the murder of his father the king, by his uncle, is at the center of an old Indo-European legend.
Around 1200 AD, the Scandinavian author Saxo Grammaticus even popularized the story in a work called, “Vita Amlethi,” or “The Life of Amleth.”
While the prince in Grammaticus’ story is named Amleth, Prince of Denmark, Shakespeare’s main character is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. In Grammaticus’ version, too, the tormented prince fakes madness, is angered by his mother’s quick marriage to the new king, and kills a secret spy.
2. George Washington Carver invented peanut butter
Although finding hundreds of new uses for the peanut and greatly aiding the farming economy of the American South, Carver didn’t invent peanut butter, despite popular belief.
Peanut butter has actually been around since about 950 B.C., as the Incas in South America mashed their peanuts into a paste. But even in contemporary times, the first patent for a peanut butter-like substance was registered in 1884, when Carver was only about twenty years old. In his 1943 New York Times obituary, no mention of inventing peanut butter appears, though the publication lists peanut-based developments “including milk, ink, flour, breakfast foods, wood stains, face creams and, latterly, a medicinal peanut oil which was found helpful in the treatment of infantile paralysis.” Carver never patented his products as he believed they were a gift from God.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg is credited with the first patent related to “peanut butter,” but most suspect that the true inventor of the delicious spread we’ve come to knowwill remain a mystery.
3. Ninjas wore all black costumes.
If anything, ninjas would have worn dark blue, as the night isn’t actually pitch black.
The thing is, it would very rarely make sense for ninjas to have an “assassin” costume so ridiculously different from a normal wardrobe. No matter how many shadows you can sneak through, at some point you’d need to get close enough to the target to make the kill, and wearing an outlandish outfit that people would clearly identify you as “assassin” seems idiotic. But even the idea of ninjas regularly performing sneaky assassinations might be fairly skewed and overblown.
The Ninja Museum of Iga-ryū, a historical school of ninjutsu in Japan, claims the popular idea of what ninjas do and look like is “a mistaken image of the ninja introduced by movies and comic books.” Ninjas who would swing their swords around in fights were considered the “lowest of the ninja,” as using intellect and acts of espionage was typically the goal.
4. Lady Godiva rode naked through the streets on a horse.
You probably now know her best from chocolate boxes, but according to legend, Lady Godiva wanted her husband to abolish taxes on the citizens of Coventry, England, so she rode through the town naked on a horse. How did that make sense? In a deal she made with her husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia, he would only grant her wish if Godiva made the now-famous nude ride. She obliged, and the town’s taxes were abolished to the historic delight of the citizens of Coventry and generations to come.
There are a few reasons to question this tale, beyond its apparent outlandishness. First of all, it didn’t start sprouting up until centuries after Godiva’s death. The original version came from a monk from a monastery Godiva had originally funded. Furthermore, Coventry probably didn’t even pay taxes back then.
5. Vincent Van Gogh sliced off his ear.
Although many people think that Van Gogh cut off his whole ear, it was actually just a portion of the left earlobe that was removed. Furthermore, there’s a compelling argument that Van Gogh wasn’t the one who cut off the earlobe at all.
At the time of this incident, Van Gogh was living with his friend, French artist Paul Gauguin, with whom he had a tumultuous and often violent relationship. Gauguin was an expert fencer and the earlobe came off right after the two had a massive quarrel. The two officially asserted that Van Gogh had cut it off himself, but this could have been a decision by the artists to cover up the true shame and guilt of the encounter, especially when considering Van Gogh claimed in interviews that he had no recollection of the night. Although Van Gogh was also notorious for being mentally unstable, which could lend potential credibility to the tale, he did later write to his brother, “Luckily Gauguin … is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons.”
If you still want to hold on to some part of the legend, according to a report in Le Petit Journal just three days after the incident, Van Gogh apparently did actually gift the earlobe to a prostitute.
6. King Henry VIII was fat and villainous during his whole reign.
The later years of King Henry VIII — the ones that involved many wives and beheadings — seem to wholly overshadow those of a once relatively kind and generous ruler.
Despite the common imagery of Henry as a fat, bearded despot, the king actually took the throne at the age of 18 and was originally revered by subjects. They even called him “Bluff King Hal.” Few people seem to know that right before the end of his marriage with Anne Boleyn, the king was still considered “sporty and generous.”
Unfortunately, things started to fall apart when Henry was beset by persistent medical ailments like leg ulcers, which caused him to grow fatter and angrier as the years passed.
However, things also took a serious turn for the worse when Henry was thrown from his horse in a horrific jousting accident. The animal ended falling on top of him, leaving the royal unconscious for two hours. He reportedly experienced a downturn in mental capacities as well as extreme leg pain for the rest of his life. Boleyn miscarried a male child after learning of Henry’s accident and later that year the king had her executed, starting a long, infamous history of villainy.
7. Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey should be our national bird over the bald eagle.
The only recorded account of Franklin talking about turkeys and eagles is in a private letter to his daughter about a military group called the Society of the Cincinnati, whose eagle seal he criticized for being inaccurate and looking more like a turkey. It is true that in this letter he also said that he wished the bald eagle wasn’t the national seal, but his “preference” for the turkey was only because he thought that the SoC seal looked more like the bird that would eventually come to symbolize Thanksgiving.
Franklin actually did propose a different national seal in one of the early planning stages, but instead of any bird, he brought forth a more biblical symbol:
Moses standing on the Shore, extending his Hand over the Sea, thereby causing the same to overwhelm Pharaoh who is sitting in an open Chariot, a Crown on his Head and a Sword in his Hand. Rays from a Pillar of Fire in the Clouds, reaching to Moses, to express that he acts by Command of the Deity. ‘Motto – Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.’
This proposal didn’t catch on and subsequent planning committees ended up choosing the bald eagle.
8. Einstein was a terrible student and failed mathematics.
Albert Einstein actually crushed his report cards. His reputation for being a notoriously terrible student? That came from his habit of talking back to his teachers when he felt they were acting too authoritarian.
Einstein’s mother once wrote in a letter to his grandmother, “Yesterday Albert received his grades, he was again number one, and his report card was brilliant.”…..And he definitely never failed mathematics, as in his own words, “Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.”
9. Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.”
The first known report of French Queen Marie Antoinette having uttered the now-infamous words, “Let them eat cake,” didn’t surface until many years after her death. The quote is now widely considered to be a mis-attribution.
ALZHEIMER. A must read!
“The idea that Alzheimer’s is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., director of the UCLA Center on Aging.Researchers now know that Alzheimer’s like heart disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.
The big news:
Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer’s.
In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer’s and other dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of experts. The results in a new book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss (Little, Brown; $19.99).
Here are 10 strategies I found most surprising.
1. Have coffee.
In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic. A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer’s risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida researcher Gary Arendash credits caffeine: He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee’s antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn’t.
Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.
3. Be a “Google”.
Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA’s Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. The biggest surprise: Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.
4. Grow new brain cells.
Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it’s believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works: aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency.
5. Drink apple juice.
Apple juice can push production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine; that’s the way the popular Alzheimer’s drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts . He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans: 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.
6. Protect your head.
Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer’s is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person’s odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don’t take risks.
Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage – a classic sign of Alzheimer’s – as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says yoga meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.
8. Take D.
A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans’ risk of cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England ‘s University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.
9. Fill your brain.
It < //brain.it///brain.it/ > ‘s called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences – education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities – makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer’s pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago ‘s Rush University Medical Center .
10. Avoid infection.
Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer’s to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer’s cases. The theory: Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid “gunk” that kills brain cells. Proof is still lacking, but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?
*What to Drink for Good Memory*
A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer’s is to drink the right stuff.
a. Tops: Juice.
A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer’s odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Especially protective: blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies. b. Tea: Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer’s Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.
c. Caffeine beverages.
Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer’s, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources: coffee (one Alzheimer’s researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.
d. Red wine:
If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It’s high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer’s.
e. Try to avoid: Sugary soft drinks,
Especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer’s. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.
The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.
New research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.
“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.
Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.
While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.
They Appreciate What They Have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.
They Avoid Asking “What If?”
“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.
They Stay Positive
Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can’t think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you’re ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.
Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.
Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.
They Limit Their Caffeine Intake
Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.
I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.
They Squash Negative Self-Talk
A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It’s time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking. Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.
You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.
They Reframe Their Perspective
Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.
The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.
This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.
They Use Their Support System
It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.
The Definitive Answer To 20 Of Your Biggest Health Questions
Does olive oil prevent heart disease?
Short answer: Yes
The health benefits of olive oil come from the presence of polyphenols, antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancers.
But to get these healthy compounds, consumers should buy good-quality, fresh “extra-virgin” olive oil, which has the highest polyphenol content. Most commercially available olive oils have low levels of polyphenols associated with poor harvesting methods, improper storage, and heavy processing.
Do cough syrups work?
Short answer: No
In 2006, the nation’s chest physicians agreed that the majority of over-the-counter cough medicines don’t actually work. These colorful syrups typically contain doses of codeine and dextromethorphan that are too small to be effective.
Only cough suppressants that contain older antihistamines seem to relieve coughs. That includes brompheniramine, an active ingredient in Dimetapp.
Does sugar cause hyperactivity?
Short answer: No
Following a review of 23 studies, a 1996 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that sugar “does not affect the behavior or cognitive performance of children.”
The age-old myth that kids misbehave when they eat large amounts of candy, cookies, and other junk food, could be related to the type of events where these foods are typically served. For example, kids are more wound-up at birthday parties and during Halloween when sweet treats tend to flow freely.
Do sugary soft drinks lead to diabetes?
Short answer: Yes
The majority of health research is stacked against sugar-sweetened soda. A large 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks per day increased their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 83% compared to those who consumed less than one of these beverages per month.
Do I need sunscreen with more than 30 SPF?
Short answer: No
Sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 block about 97% of ultraviolet rays, while sunscreens with an SPF of higher than 30 block 97%-98%.
It’s more important that you choose “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, meaning it protects against both UVB and UVA rays. Sunbathers also need to apply a generous amount of sunscreen in order to get the full benefit of the SPF.
Is the MSG in Chinese likely to give you a headache?
Short answer: No
A review of 40 years of clinical trials, published in the journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners in 2006, found that all previous research “failed to identify a consistent relationship between the consumption of MSG and the constellation of symptoms that comprise the syndrome,” including headaches and asthma attacks.
The misconception spawned from several poorly-done small studies in the 1960s that seemed to connect MSG with a variety of maladies that people experienced after eating at Chinese restaurants. Learn more about the MSG myth here »
Do nuts make you fat?
Short answer: No
As much as 75% of a nut is fat. But eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. The bigger factor leading to weight gain is portion-size. Luckily, nuts are loaded with healthy fats that keep you full. They’re also a good source of protein and fiber.
One study even found that whole almonds have 20% less calories than previously thought because a lot of the fat is excreted from the body.
Is walking as effective as running?
Short answer: Yes
Studies have shown that how long you exercise — and thus how many calories you burn — is more important than how hard you exercise. Running is a more efficient form of exercise, but not necessarily better for you.
A six-year study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology in April found that walking at a moderate pace and running produced similar health benefits, so long as the same amount of energy was expended.
Is drinking fruit juice as good for you as eating fruit?
Short answer: No
Calorie for calorie, whole fruit provides more nutritional benefits than drinking the pure juice of that fruit. That’s because when you liquefy fruit, stripping away the peel and dumping the pulp, many ingredients like fiber, calcium, vitamin C, and other antioxidants are lost.
For comparison, a five-ounce glass of orange juice that contains 69 calories has .3 grams of dietary fiber and 16 milligrams of calcium, whereas an orange with the same number of calories packs 3.1 grams of fiber and 60 milligrams of calcium. (Smoothie is more nutritious)
Are all wheat breads better for you than white bread?
Short answer: No
Not all wheat breads are created equal. Wheat breads that contain all parts of the grain kernel, including the nutrient-rich germ and fiber-dense bran, must be labeled “whole grain” or “whole wheat.”
Some wheat breads are just white bread with a little bit of caramel coloring to make the bread appear healthier, according to Reader’s Digest.
Can a hot tub make me sick?
Short answer: Yes
Hot tubs — especially ones in spas, hotels, and gyms — are perfect breeding grounds for germs.
The water is not hot enough to kill bacteria, but is just the right temperature to make microbes grow even faster. Even though hot tubs are treated with chlorine, the heat causes the disinfectant to break down faster than it would in regular pools.
The most common hot tub infection is pseudomonas folliculitis, which causes red, itchy bumps. A more dangerous side-effect of soaking in a dirty Jacuzzi is a form of pneumonia known as Legionnaire’s disease. This is what reportedly sickened more than 100 people at the Playboy Mansion back in 2011.
Short answer: No
Although egg yolks are a major source of cholesterol — a waxy substance that resembles fat — researchers have learned that saturated fat has more of an impact on cholesterol in your blood than eating foods that contain cholesterol.
“Healthy individuals with normal blood cholesterol levels should now feel free to enjoy foods like eggs in their diet every day,” the lead researcher from a 25-year University of Arizona study on cholesterol concluded.
Can you drink too much water?
Short answer: Yes
It is very rare for someone to die from drinking too much water, but it can happen.
Overhydrating is most common among elite athletes. Drinking an excess of water, called water intoxication, dilutes the concentration of sodium in the blood leading to a condition known as hyponatremia. The symptoms of hyponatremia can range from nausea and confusion to seizures and even death in severe cases. To avoid this, drink fluids with electrolytes during extreme exercise events.
Can yogurt ease digestive problems?
Short answer: Yes
Our digestive tract is filled with microorganisms — some good and some bad. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria, generically called probiotics, that helps maintain a healthy balance. Probiotics can relieve several gastrointestinal problems, including constipation and diarrhea.
Certain brands of yogurts, like Activa by Dannon, are marketed exclusively to treat tummy issues.
Do whitening toothpastes whiten teeth more than regular toothpastes?
Short answer: No
Whitening toothpastes usually contain peroxides and other strong abrasives that might make your teeth appear whiter by removing stains. Unlike at-home whitening strips and gels that contain bleach, these toothpastes do not actually change the color of your teeth.
Is it safe to microwave food in plastic containers?
Short answer: Yes
But the plastic container should display the words “microwave safe.” This means that the Food and Drug Administration has tested the container to make sure no chemicals used to make the plastic leech into foods during microwaving. If chemicals do seep out into food, the amounts are tiny and not dangerous to our health.
As a general guideline, plastic grocery bags as well as most plastic tubs that hold margarine, yogurt, cream cheese, and condiments are not microwave safe.
Can watching TV ruin your eyesight?
Short answer: No
Watching TV will not destroy your rods and cones as the outdated myth suggests. Before the 1950s, TVs emitted radiation that could increase an individual’s risk of eye problems after excessive TV viewing. Modern TVs have special shielding that blocks these harmful emissions.
Short answer: No
Bottled water is no safer or purer than tap water, although it is substantially more expensive.
A recent study by Glasgow University in the U.K. found that bottled water is actually more likely to be contaminated than water from your faucet because it is less well-regulated.
Bottled water and tap water typically come from the same sources — natural springs, lakes, and aquifers. While public water supplies are tested for contaminants every day, makers of bottled water are only required to test for specific contaminants every week, month, or year.
Call Center Workers Object to High-Tech Monitoring System That Alerts Supervisors if an Employee Is in the Restroom Longer Than Eight Minutes a Day
Union representatives and government inspectors are looking into complaints that managers at a Norwegian call center forbid employees from spending more than eight minutes a day on, uh, personal business:
Managers are alerted by flashing lights if an employee is away from their desk for a loo break or other “personal activities” beyond the allotted time. […]
A spokesman added: “Surveying staff to limit lavatory visits, cigarette breaks, personal phone calls and other personal needs to a total of eight minutes per day is highly restrictive and intrusive and must be stopped.”
The firm said the aim of the checks was not to measure the breaks taken by individual workers but to assess staffing needs to ensure all calls from customers were answered and it would now be reviewing the policy.
It is the latest example of lavatory rules in Norwegian companies.
Last year the country’s workplace ombudsman said one firm was reported for making women workers wear a red bracelet when they were having their period to justify more frequent trips to the loo.
Another company made staff sign a lavatory “visitors book” while a third issued employees with an electronic key card to gain access to the lavatories so they could monitor breaks.
Did you see that, Alex? Employees at other companies are allowed to go to the restroom during their shifts.
“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”
“If I had no sense of humour, I would long ago have committed suicide.”
Mahatma Gandhi needs no long introduction. Everyone knows about the man who lead the Indian people to independence from British rule in 1947.
So let’s just move on to some of my favorite tips from Mahatma Gandhi.
1. Change yourself.
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you will change. Not only because you are now viewing your environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow you to take action in ways you wouldn’t have – or maybe even have thought about – while stuck in your old thought patterns.
And the problem with changing your outer world without changing yourself is that you will still be you when you reach that change you have strived for. You will still have your flaws, anger, negativity, self-sabotaging tendencies etc. intact.
And so in this new situation you will still not find what you hoped for since your mind is still seeping with that negative stuff. And if you get more without having some insight into and distance from your ego it may grow more powerful. Since your ego loves to divide things, to find enemies and to create separation it may start to try to create even more problems and conflicts in your life and world.
And as you realize that no-one outside of yourself can actually control how you feel you can start to incorporate this thinking into your daily life and develop it as a thought habit. A habit that you can grow stronger and stronger over time. Doing this makes life a whole lot easier and more pleasurable.
3. Forgive and let it go.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
Fighting evil with evil won’t help anyone. And as said in the previous tip, you always choose how to react to something. When you can incorporate such a thought habit more and more into your life then you can react in a way that is more useful to you and others.
You realize that forgiving and letting go of the past will do you and the people in your world a great service. And spending your time in some negative memory won’t help you after you have learned the lessons you can learn from that experience. You’ll probably just cause yourself more suffering and paralyze yourself from taking action in this present moment.
If you don’t forgive then you let the past and another person to control how you feel. By forgiving you release yourself from those bonds. And then you can focus totally on, for instance, the next point.
4. Without action you aren’t going anywhere.
“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.”
Without taking action very little will be done. However, taking action can be hard and difficult. There can be much inner resistance.
And so you may resort to preaching, as Gandhi says. Or reading and studying endlessly. And feeling like you are moving forward. But getting little or no practical results in real life.
So, to really get where you want to go and to really understand yourself and your world you need to practice. Books can mostly just bring you knowledge. You have to take action and translate that knowledge into results and understanding.
5. Take care of this moment.
“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following.”
The best way that I have found to overcome the inner resistance that often stops us from taking action is to stay in the present as much as possible and to be accepting.
Why? Well, when you are in the present moment you don’t worry about the next moment that you can’t control anyway. And the resistance to action that comes from you imagining negative future consequences – or reflecting on past failures – of your actions loses its power. And so it becomes easier to both take action and to keep your focus on this moment and perform better.
6. Everyone is human.
“I claim to be a simple individual liable to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have humility enough to confess my
errors and to retrace my steps.”
“It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
When you start to make myths out of people – even though they may have produced extraordinary results – you run the risk of becoming disconnected from them. You can start to feel like you could never achieve similar things that they did because they are so very different. So it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is just a human being no matter who they are.
And I think it’s important to remember that we are all human and prone to make mistakes. Holding people to unreasonable standards will only create more unnecessary conflicts in your world and negativity within you.
It’s also important to remember this to avoid falling into the pretty useless habit of beating yourself up over mistakes that you have made. And instead be able to see with clarity where you went wrong and what you can learn from your mistake. And then try again.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Be persistent. In time the opposition around you will fade and fall away. And your inner resistance and self-sabotaging tendencies that want to hold you back and keep you like you have always been will grow weaker.
One reason Gandhi was so successful with his method of non-violence was because he and his followers were so persistent. They just didn’t give up.
Success or victory will seldom come as quickly as you would have liked it to. I think one of the reasons people don’t get what they want is simply because they give up too soon. The time they think an achievement will require isn’t the same amount of time it usually takes to achieve that goal. This faulty belief partly comes from the world we live in. A world full of magic pill solutions where advertising continually promises us that we can lose a lot of weight or earn a ton of money in just 30 days.
8. See the good in people and help them.
“I look only to the good qualities of men. Not being faultless myself, I won’t presume to probe into the faults of others.”
“Man becomes great exactly in the degree in which he works for the welfare of his fellow-men.”
“I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.”
There is pretty much always something good in people. And things that may not be so good. But you can choose what things to focus on. And if you want improvement then focusing on the good in people is a useful choice. It also makes life easier for you as your world and relationships become more pleasant and positive.
And when you see the good in people it becomes easier to motivate yourself to be of service to them. By being of service to other people, by giving them value you not only make their lives better. Over time you tend to get what you give. And the people you help may feel more inclined to help other people. And so you, together, create an upward spiral of positive change that grows and becomes stronger.
By strengthening your social skills you can become a more influential person and make this upward spiral even stronger.
9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.”
I think that one of the best tips for improving your social skills is to behave in a congruent manner and communicate in an authentic way. People seem to really like authentic communication. And there is much inner enjoyment to be found when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. You feel powerful and good about yourself.
When words and thoughts are aligned then that shows through in your communication. Because now you have your voice tonality and body language – some say they are over 90 percent of communication – in alignment with your words.
With these channels in alignment people tend to really listen to what you’re saying. You are communicating without incongruency, mixed messages or perhaps a sort of phoniness.
Also, if your actions aren’t in alignment with what you’re communicating then you start to hurt your own belief in what you can do. And other people’s belief in you too.
10. Continue to grow and evolve.
“Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”
You can pretty much always improve your skills, habits or re-evaluate your evaluations. You can gain deeper understanding of yourself and the world.
Sure, you may look inconsistent or like you don’t know what you are doing from time to time. You may have trouble to act congruently or to communicate authentically. But if you don’t then you will, as Gandhi says, drive yourself into a false position. A place where you try to uphold or cling to your old views to appear consistent while you realise within that something is wrong. It’s not a fun place to be.
At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.
Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.
The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.
Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.
The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.
In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.
The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.
When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.
Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?
If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?
He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.
It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.
I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.
It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.
More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.
Lessons learnt from the story:
I understood, I should not react in life.
I should always respond. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.
Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.