Happy news: Getting out and about for a stroll in this beautiful weather can whittle your middle. The trick that speeds results? Enjoying a walk before breakfast instead of after. Investigators reporting in the British Journal of Nutrition found that this simple timing shift supercharges your body’s ability to burn belly fat. That’s because when you exercise before a meal on an empty stomach, your body burns off stored fats for fuel (which powers off pounds) instead of tapping into energy stored in muscle cells. Bye-bye, belly fat!
Treating yourself to a handful of chocolate-covered almonds smooths skin and fades fine lines with every bite. Both almonds and dark chocolate are rich in magnesium, a water-bearing mineral that plays a key role in keeping skin plump and hydrated. And research shows that the mineral is also necessary for the creation of enzymes that heal wrinkle-causing free-radical damage. To get the benefits, aim for 400 mg. of magnesium daily. Not a fan of almonds and chocolate? Sunflower seeds are another magnesium-rich pick.
Adding pineapple to grilled kebabs or a summer salad is a delicious way to ease arthritis pain. The tropical fruit brims with bromelain, an enzyme that curbs the inflammation that triggers pain and joint damage. In fact, research in Clinical Rheumatology found bromelain was nearly twice as effective at reducing pain as over-the-counter painkillers (and without the side effects). To ease minor aches, enjoy 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple daily for two weeks. To combat more severe pain, consider taking a 500-mg. bromelain supplement daily.
The sweet chew that OPTIMIZES IMMUNITY
Planning a late-summer trip? Taking elderberry extract daily starting 10 days before you leave (and for five days after you return) helps you enjoy your trip without worrying about colds and viruses making the rounds. Australian scientists found that folks who did this when traveling had 22% fewer respiratory infection symptoms and recovered two days faster than those who didn’t take elderberry. Credit goes to anthocyanins, which blunt the ability of viruses to invade cells. Try: New Nordic Elderberry Gummies (NewNordicUSA.com)
A slow thyroid is a common cause of weight gain, but up to 60% of women with the condition are unaware they have it. Even if you suspect a problem, it can be hard to convince your doctor. To measure your thyroid function at home, take your underarm temperature first thing in the morning with a non-digital thermometer, keeping it in place for 10 minutes. Repeat for four consecutive days to get an average temperature. If it’s under 97.8 degrees F and you have constipation, talk to your doctor – or find one who will listen!
To keep sore, stiff muscles at bay, take a cue from your cat and enjoy a good stretch. Our muscles are surrounded by a thin sheath of connective tissue called fascia, and when that tissue becomes tight or inflamed, it can lead to aches. Luckily, spending just 10 minutes reaching for the sky and bending toward your toes five times a week thwarts discomfort. The key: Hold each stretch for at least 15 seconds. It takes time for tissues to release, and holding a stretch a little longer releases more fascia, so you feel even better!
Next time your mind feels a little sluggish, hum your favorite tune. The vocal cords are connected to the vagus nerve, a key communication pathway linking the brain and other parts of the body (like the heart, lungs and stomach). Humming creates vibrations that stimulate the nerve, which spurs the release of acetylcholine, a compound that quickly clears away brain fog to sharpen thinking. For an even stronger vibration (and bigger mental boost), open and close your mouth while humming your favorite Motown song.
For the more than 50% of women over age 50 who have thinning hair, help is here! One of my favorite ways to combat sparse strands is with rosemary. The herb contains rosmarinic acid, which has been shown to boost circulation to the scalp and promote hair growth as effectively as minoxidil. To get the benefits: Add 4 Tbs. of dried rosemary to 4 cups of boiled water. Steep for 40 minutes, then strain the brew into a large spray bottle and add 4 Tbs. apple cider vinegar; refrigerate. Spritz onto the scalp once or twice a week after shampooing.
We love cookouts with friends and family on beautiful summer days. The hitch? This high-heat way of cooking creates sneaky compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that accelerate aging by contributing to diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Luckily, you can curb the formation of AGEs just by marinating before grilling. For 2 pounds of meat, combine 2/3 cups of avocado oil, 2 Tbs. of fresh lemon juice, and your favorite seasonings. Pour over your food, cover, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before cooking.
Enjoying a cool glass of water on a hot day is more than just refreshing: It can safeguard your ticker with every sip! Turns out chronic, low-level dehydration is common in women over 50 since the body’s thirst mechanism weakens with age. And even mild dehydration can cause muscles like your heart to temporarily shrink while thickening your blood, making your ticker work harder. The easy fix: drinking at least 8 glasses of water or herbal tea daily, ideally spread throughout the day, as your body can only absorb so much fluid at a time.