Good news if you like carrots!

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Here’s an easy way to cut your risk of catching a summer cold: Eat more cooked carrots! According to scientists at the USDA, our favorite orange root vegetable is packed with immunity-boosting antioxidants, which can cut your risk of catching colds and other viral infections by 33%. And if you DO get sick, increasing your carrot consumption could cut 3 days off your recovery time. So, whatever you’re making or ordering, make sure it includes carrots. 

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Here’s your nausea remedy!

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Do you tend to feel nauseous from road trips, vacation food, or rising humidity?

Eat some fresh cantaloupe! According to research by the British Heart Foundation, it can calm your upset stomach in as little as 15 minutes. The reason? The melon’s distinct aroma helps quiet the brain’s nausea center. Cantaloupe also contains tons of beta-carotene, which reduces the stomach inflammation that can cause nausea by 20%.

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Forgiveness can help to relieve your pain.

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Forgiving someone who wronged you can do more than improve your mood. It can also relieve physical aches and pains! In a study at Duke University, people with lower back pain were told to work on letting go of their anger toward someone who’d wronged them. The result? Their pain levels dropped significantly. That’s because anger and other negative feelings trigger a reaction in the brain that increases the feelings of pain. But thinking calming, peaceful thoughts diminishes that perception, and helps ease the ache. So, if you want to feel fewer aches and pains, just forgive someone who upset you.

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What’s better for your abs – planks or crunches?

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Experts say PLANKS are much more effective for your abs than crunches.

That’s because crunches only work SURFACE abdominal muscles. But planks target your entire COREsurface abdominal muscles, transverse abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back muscles. That helps flatten your belly and pulls in your waist like you’re wearing a corset. Plus, planks are safer than crunches. The discs in your spine aren’t repeatedly bent. And that’s what increases your risk of injury when you do crunches.

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Go ahead and root for the underdog!

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When you watch a TV show or movie – do you root for the underdog? If you answered “yes” – That’s a good thing! According to the journal Media Psychology, people who root for the underdog increase their own drive to succeed. Seeing a character struggle, and willing them to win or get ahead, makes us feel hopeful about our own lives. It gives us more motivation to pursue our goals, and that effect lasts for 3 days after we watch a program featuring an underdog.

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Is it possible to SNIFF your stress away?

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Yes, according to a study from Italy’s Orthopedic Institute. Researchers asked adults prepped for surgery to sniff essential oils. Those who smelled eucalyptus felt much calmer than those sniffing citrus, or plain unscented air. The reason? Eucalyptus or “gum” trees – contain a compound that cuts production of the stress hormone cortisol. And the benefits of eucalyptus kick in within FIVE MINUTES of your first whiff! So, next time you feel nervous, sniff your stress away with eucalyptus essential oil.

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Want to live longer?

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Get more social! A recent review of over 70 studies in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that people who are alone and isolated are 29% more likely to die early… Compared to those with a larger social circle. Which is comparable to the mortality rate from severe obesity. So, meet new people by taking classes, or signing up for a team sport.

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How you can avoid “stress traps.”

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Some of the things we do in the name of alleviating stress can make it worse. So here are the most common “stress traps” to avoid, according to the latest science:

First: Be careful how much venting you do with friends. It seems logical to share our problems. But a study from Oklahoma State University found unless we’re asking friends for advice, most venting backfires. Because sharing details about whatever’s bothering you is like re-living the problem all over again. So, our body responds by releasing MORE stress hormones, not less. In other words: Only talk about your problems if you’re focused on finding solutions.

Also, when you’re stressed, that’s not a good time to cut back on coffee. Because, if you’re a regular coffee drinker, you’ll add caffeine withdrawal on top of the stress. Plus, a recent study found people who drank three daily cups of coffee performed better under stressful conditions. That’s because caffeine triggers the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine – making us up to 15% less stressed!

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Don’t get dehydrated in the summer heat!

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During the summer, we all spend more time outdoors in the hot sun, making us more likely to get dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include feeling tired, dizzy and thirsty. If that describes you, drink a glass of MILK – either dairy or soy – as soon as possible. According to the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, milk will rehydrate you faster than drinking water or a sports beverage. The reason? Because milk replaces fluid lost to sweat AND at the same time replenishes sodium, carbs and protein, which our body needs to operate properly. Again – the quickest way to get properly rehydrated is to drink a glass of soy or dairy milk, ASAP.

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Your kitchen towels could be giving you food poisoning!

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According to the American Society for Microbiology, nearly HALF of all kitchen towels are teeming with bacteria. That includes E.coli and other illness-causing pathogens. And the chances are even higher that your kitchen towel is contaminated if you live in a humid climate – you have a larger family – and your family eats meat, instead of being vegetarian. Of the contaminated kitchen towels, 75% contained bacteria normally found in the intestines… and another 14% grew colonies of staph. 

So to avoid catching something disgusting from your kitchen towels, the researchers offer these tips:

First: Before you start food prep, and after handling raw meat and its packaging, wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. That way, most of the germs will be washed down the drain instead of ending up on the towel. 

Next: For cloth kitchen towels, wash them often. And use hot water, so it’ll remove bacteria. Also, have multiple dishtowels handy to avoid reusing a dirty one.

Finally: Only use paper towels once. The more you use a paper towel, the higher the odds you’ll start spreading germs around.

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