If your allergies are flaring up at home or at work, look around…

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Do you see a ficus plant? That could be the reason. Research from Belgium found that 78% of people with airborne allergies react to ficus! But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any indoor plants around – because they can be good for you. Indoor plants not only help people feel more relaxed, some plants can clear allergens from the air. So try something like a hibiscus – which produces little to no airborne pollen. And for cleaner air, NASA recommends a corn plant – also known as a mass cane. It not only can reduce the amount of dust in a small office by 20%. It clears contaminants like formaldehyde from the air – and chemicals like that can make an allergy sufferer even more sensitive to allergy triggers.

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Fidgeting is good for you!

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Here’s something surprising that can make you twice as likely to stay ALIVE: Fidgeting. Drumming your fingers on the desk – twiddling your pentapping your footshaking your legusing a fidget toy, all of it. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk of death over a 12-year span – from any cause – was twice as high for people who NEVER fidgeted, as for those who fidget regularly. The Mayo Clinic classifies fidgeting as a non-exercise activity. But it’s one that counts collectively toward combating obesity and heart disease. So keep on fidgeting.

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This may be the best way to fight colds and flu:

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A foot massage! University of Miami researchers say a 10-minute foot rub can boost levels of virus-attacking white blood cells by 25%. A daily foot rub also lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which weakens our immunity. If your partner isn’t into giving you a foot rub, a do-it-yourself 10-minute scalp massage can have the same effect.

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You can find happiness on the end of a fork!

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Here are the foods that’ll instantly improve your happiness level, without packing on the pounds, according to Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of The Happiness Diet:

#1: Swiss chard. The magnesium in Swiss chard helps our brain produce the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. In fact, magnesium’s so effective at lifting our spirits that it even rivals some prescription medications at treating depression.

This next food is a surprising – but powerful – mood booster: Mussels. They’re a top source of B vitamins, zinc, iodine, and selenium – nutrients our thyroid gland needs to help regulate our mood.

And one more food that’ll boost your mood without packing on the pounds: Greek yogurt. Studies show calcium increases production of the brain chemicals that lower anxiety levels and prevent irritability. And since Greek yogurt contains more calcium than whole milk, Dr. Ramsey says it should become our go-to snack whenever we’re feeling worried, angry or down.

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Go ahead – enjoy that coffee!

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Here’s another reason to enjoy your daily coffee, guilt-freeIt speeds up your metabolism. Caffeine accelerates the process of thermogenesis by 11% for up to 3 hours – which is how we convert calories into energy. That equals an extra 150 calories burned a day for the average person.

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The mystery of the pen cap!

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Here’s something you may have wondered at some point. Why do most pen caps have a HOLE in them?
Some are tiny pinholes at the tip of the cap… while other pen caps have small vents. Well, wonder no more… those holes actually serve an important purpose. According to Business Insider, about 1,000 kids a year are rushed to the ER after swallowing parts of pens and pencils. And just in case a kid accidentally swallows a pen cap, the holes were added by manufacturers to help kids continue BREATHING, so they don’t choke to death!

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Unusual foods that cause GAS!

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Going on a date – have an important meeting? Skip these foods that cause gas… and they’re not the usual suspects like broccoli and beans.

First, be careful with sugar-free gum. Not only are you taking in more air when you chomp gum, which can cause gas and burping. The ingredient in sugar-free gum – sorbitol – takes a relatively long time to digest, and undigested sorbitol in your small intestine acts as a hothouse, fermenting bacteria, which can cause flatulence.

Also, skip protein bars that contain soy. The processed “soy isolate” contains sugar molecules that the body can’t break down entirely. So they hang out in the gut, ferment, and cause gas and bloating.

One more gas-inducing food: Almond milk! Dairy doesn’t have the lock on stomach distress. Almond milk can contain a thickening agent called carrageenan. It’s made from seaweed, and it’s been linked to ulcers, inflammation, and other gastrointestinal problems.

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Go for a hike…

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…it’s just as good as going for a run. All you need is a 20% incline to burn as many calories walking, as you do running. That’s according to the University of Colorado at Boulder. They say a 20% slope will feel like you’re climbing stairs. But if the incline is less than that, you’ll burn more calories running.

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When you’re stressed, go sniff a lemon!

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When participants in a recent study spent as little as ten minutes inhaling the fragrance of citrus fruit, they saw a significant increase in their overall mood – which included a DECREASE in their levels of tension, anxiety, depression, confusion, fatigue and anger.

So, peel an orange, get a whiff of a citrus essential oil, or mix up a batch of lemonade. And be sure to breathe deeply.

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Video games and workouts don’t mix!

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Don’t play a video game on your phone while you’re waiting for your gym class to start. According to a study from the University of Illinois – since mobile games can be mentally stimulating and raise our blood pressure – our brain registers it as activity. And that makes us less likely to want to exercise. In fact, when people played a mobile game for just 5 minutes, they exercised half as long as people who didn’t play a game. So if you need to kill 5 minutes, meditate or listen to music. Your brain won’t think you’ve already been active, and push you to rest sooner.

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