Live well with some quick and easy health tips!
We all know how good a hug can be when we’re feeling down, but research shows that a loving squeeze can actually lower your blood pressure. The good news for women is that they also show lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after the hug. Lower blood pressure and less stress cuts your risk of heart disease.
Scientists warn that too much fruit juice is as bad for us as fizzy drinks. A 250ml of pure unsweetened apple juice contains 110 calories and 26 grams of sugar. The same amount of cola has 105 calories and 26.5 grams of sugar. Both overload our livers and cause health problems. The healthy option is to eat the whole fruit. The fibre slows down the sugar reaching your liver so it can cope with the workload.
Full of beans
Wondering what to have for lunch? You can’t go wrong with kidney beans. Apart from their beautiful colour they are a gift from nature, packed full of protein, iron, fibre and B vitamins. They also provide the further health benefits of lowering cholesterol levels which helps prevent heart attacks and strokes and may also reduce the risk of breast cancer. So crack open a can and add them to a salad or stew for a tasty and nutritious meal.
Why did I?
We’ve all sworn “Never again,” as the hangover from hell rushes in the morning after a night out. Not drinking is the only sure way not to be ill but more practically, the liver needs water to flush out toxins when you booze. Alcohol makes you pee more so the liver has to take water from the brain. Result – throbbing headache. Drink water before, during and after celebrating to wake up full of cheer!
Can’t stop crying?
It’s normal to find a break-up heard. The Ancient Chinese found an acupressure point to soothe a broken heart. Rest your hand palm up in your other hand and apply gentle pressure with your thumb to the centre of the first wrist crease, as you breathe slowly and calmly. There may be plenty more fish in the sea, but you’ll be fine on your own!
Shout it out
A study by psychologist Kira Birditt suggests people who shout are happier and more relaxed. Those who avoided arguments had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva. Other research also shows that married couples who scream at each other live longer than those who sulk! No doubt about it, holding onto rage is bad for your health.
Stone the crows!
Piling on extra pounds can make us miserable, plus being overweight can raise your chances of serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. Research from Texas Agrilife shows that you can lower your risk by enjoying summer fruits with a stone in the middle like peaches and plums. Packed with vitamins, they also contain ingredients that help in the fight against these diseases, and might also lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. They’re high in fruit sugar though, so don’t eat too many.
Help say no
If you’re struggling to resist chocolate, don’t panic. Swedish scientists have made a helpful discovery. Eating green vegetables like spinach might actually stop you reaching for the sweet stuff! Leafy vegetables contain thylakoids which can reduce sugar cravings by 95%. In this study, women who were given a thykaloid drink before breakfast also boosted weight loss by 43%. So chocolate really should be for dessert – eat up your greens first and you might not want it!
Experts say we need on average eight hours sleep a night but regularly missing shuteye not only makes you tired and ratty, it can put you more at risk of serious illness like diabetes and heart disease. Luckily, we can pay back any sleep we’ve lost. So it’s OK to sometimes switch the alarm off – snoozing is good for your health! Don’t let your sleep debt build up though. More than an hour a day could upset your body clock.
Cuppa tea, anyone?
Rooibos or Redbush tea is the naturally caffeine free brew that’s now so popular you can find it on supermarket shelves. Mma Ramotswe, heroine of Alexander McCall Smith’s The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, likes a brew too. This South African herb’s also bursting with health benefits? It can help with headaches, asthma, insomnia, hay fever, acid reflux and ease skin conditions. In fact, scientists are beginning trials to see what else this little leaf can do but why wait? Put the kettle on!