If you have trouble sleeping and feel tired all day…

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…it could be the winter blues! Because less sunlight makes our brain produce less of the “happy” hormone serotonin. The fix? Eat a serving of canned corn a day. Corn contains ferulic acid, which Cornell researchers found increases blood levels of serotonin… and reverses free radical damage in brain areas that manage mood. And canned corn contains 550% MORE ferulic acid than fresh corn or frozen – because more of the nutrient is released by the heat used in the canning process.

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If you or a loved one is all stuffed up…

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…apply a mentholated rub the right way. In other words, DON’T swipe some under the nose. That can make airways swell and fill with mucus, which is the exact opposite of what you need and could trigger breathing problems. Instead, use something like Vick’s VapoRub as directed – on the chest or throat. And don’t use a menthol medicated rub on kids under the age of 2. 

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When was the last time you dusted your house?

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Or vacuumed? Because research shows a link between a dirty house and weight gain! Duke University researchers found that the chemicals released from furniture, rugs and pollution end up in the dust around our house. And breathing in chemical-laden dust makes fat cells swell and multiply! But when the dust goes away, the problem goes away. So regularly dust and vacuum, and invest in a HEPA air purifier for the room you spend the most time in. If you’re trying to lose weight, that may be the added ingredient that helps you start shedding pounds.

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Want your kid to have a healthier body image?

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Give them a hug! According to the journal Frontiers in Psychology, affectionate touching – like rubbing your kid’s back, or playing with their hair – as well as giving hugsimproved signaling between a child’s body and brain, and can raise their self-esteem. That in turn improves a child’s body image and lowers their risk of eating disorders.

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Soda, energy drinks, and sleep-deprivation!

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This may not come as a surprise – but now we know for sure: People who regularly consume sodas and energy drinks are more likely to be sleep-deprived. That’s according to a new survey of 18,000 adults by UC San Francisco… which found that people who usually slept about five hours a night, which is considered “short sleep” drank 21% more caffeinated, sugary beverages than people who got 7 to 8 hours of sleep. 

And that’s a problem because other studies have linked short sleep with higher blood pressure and stress, increased levels of inflammation in the body, even poor kidney function. The researchers believe it’s because when your blood sugar is really high, your kidneys work overtime to get rid of it – which means you’re waking up repeatedly to pee. And because you’re sleep-deprived, you turn to highly-caffeinated energy drinks to get through the next day, which impacts your sleep the next night. So it’s a vicious cycle.  

Bottom line: Want a better night’s sleep? Cut back on sugary, caffeinated foods and beverages.

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Get rid of body odor!

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I have tips to tame body odor from dermatologist Lauren Eckert Ploch, from the American Academy of Dermatology:

Tip #1: If you tend to stink, wash your armpits with facial acne wash. Because sweat won’t smell until it mixes with the bacteria on your skin. But washing your underarms with products containing benzoyl peroxide will reduce skin bacteria and improve body odor. 

Then: Out of deodorant? In a pinch, hand sanitizer or alcohol will kill the bacteria that cause B.O., and stave off any potential stink for awhile. But if you’ve just shaved or waxed, skip it. It’ll sting like crazy

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Feeling anxious, or unable to concentrate?

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Grab some lemon balm! The leafy plant from the mint family contains compounds that prevent the breakdown of a brain chemical linked to focus and memory. Lemon balm also contains brain-boosting quercetin and energizing caffeic acid… a combination proven to ease anxiety, and enhance problem-solving, focus, and recall. Your best bet: Place a drop of lemon balm essential oil on each palm, cup your hands over your face, and take 10 slow, deep breaths. And you’ll feel calmer, and more focused in no time!

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Salty food makes us thirsty, short-term.

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But in the long run, it makes us LESS thirsty, and more hungry! That’s according to Vanderbilt University. In fact, within 24 hours of a high-salt meal, our thirst drops drastically, because sodium produces urea, which increases water retention. And study participants on a high-salt diet drank less water, and complained more often of hunger, compared to those on lower-salt diets. The reason? Because the body uses a lot of energy to produce urea, which then makes us crave extra calories to compensate. So, if you’re feeling hungrier than usual, cut back on salt and drink more water.

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Do you know someone who just LOVES to give advice?

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Well, whether you take it or not – at least one of you is feeling better: The ADVICE GIVER! People who give advice report feeling more content and having a greater sense of meaning in their lives. According to the journal Social Psychology, giving advice makes people feel they have personal worth – and are knowledgeable. So whether you follow your friend’s advice or take it with a grain of salt – let them give it. It’ll make THEM feel better.

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Did you have a cup of tea with breakfast or an iced tea at lunch?

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Excellent. Because just one glass of tea, hot or iced, can improve your heart health. That’s according to the journal Clinical Nutrition. Researchers found that when people drank just one glass of tea, their blood flow was 6.5 times higher than before they drank the tea. And better blood flow is key to reducing conditions like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It’s down to the flavonoid compounds in tea, which widen blood vessels, improving circulation and lowering blood pressure.

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