Next time your favorite song comes on the radio, turn up the volume and cut loose! Dancing enhances neuroplasticity – your brain’s ability to grow and reorganize neural pathways that keep thinking and memory sharp for years to come. In fact, research published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that frequent dancing is the best physical activity for safeguarding your mind: Not only is it fun, it also reduces the risk of dementia by 76%. That’s a better memory boost than doing daily crossword puzzles or regular reading!
Relaxing with a cup of spiced orange and honey tea bolsters your defenses against viral invaders. The brew is rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and antibacterial compounds that help prevent the shortening of telomeres, the protective caps on DNA strands by as much as 62%. And that’s key since studies show short telomeres are linked to weakened immune response. To get the benefits, simmer the peel from half a medium orange, 1/2 tsp. of chopped ginger, and 1 Tbs. of raw honey in 1 1/2 cups of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes, then enjoy.
The surprising mealtime trick that tames bloat-triggering gas and GI upset: Eat your side salad after your entree. The raw vegetables supply fiber and digestion-enhancing enzymes that help your body break down the food in your stomach more efficiently. Also smart: dressing your salad with oil and vinegar. Research has shown olive oil boosts nutrient intake while vinegar helps break down protein and slow carb absorption. The result? No gas, pain, or belly bloat.
The smart first step to speeding weight loss on any diet plan: detoxing, which primes the body to melt points around the midsection. Most of us have a liver clogged with toxins and fatty deposits, which makes it difficult to metabolize stored fat efficiently. Fortunately, artichokes (especially the hearts) can help. They’re loaded with liver-protecting flavonoids that enhance the output of bile. This aids in the digestion and breakdown of fats. I love tossing artichoke hearts into chicken soup or salads and recommend enjoying 1/2 cup daily.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that could be caused by COVID, you want to get tested as quickly as possible. But brand-new findings from Nashville’s Vanderbilt University suggest that if you’re taking a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test (more commonly known as a PCR test), midday may be the smartest time to do so. Researchers found that folks released more infectious particles at 2 pm than they did at 8 pm, which means midday testing may reduce the chances of receiving a false negative. Tip: While waiting for your test results to come in, switch on a humidifier (or a slow cooker filled with water) to increase the humidity in your home to the “sweet spot” of 40% to 60%. This prevents COVID from hanging in the air longer than it does in dry conditions.
The surprising secret to sailing through sick season? Giving your body’s pH levels a tune-up. Research shows half of post-menopausal women have pH levels that are too acidic, which can weaken the immune system. Luckily, it’s easy to check your pH with inexpensive urine or saliva test strips found in drug stores. The ideal reading is 6.4. If your reading is lower, which signifies high acidity, you can bring it back into balance with an acid-neutralizing sipper: Simply stir 1/4 tsp. of sea salt and 1/4 tsp. of cream of tartar into 4 oz. of water and drink daily.
To melt stubborn pounds, an under-the-radar hero can help: bee pollen! It speeds calorie burn and enhances digestion, thanks to its rich stores of fat-dissolving lecithin and nutrients that inhibit the body’s ability to store fat. In addition, it’s high in phenylalanine, a compound shown to dampen cravings. In fact, studies found that adding bee pollen granules to a glass of lukewarm water and drinking it 20 to 30 minutes before a meal effortlessly decreases food intake by up to 20%. Try: Beekeepers Naturals Bee Pollen (Walmart.com)
Safeguarding against cold and flu viruses (and even COVID-19) is easier than you think: Simply keep your home’s humidity level at the “sweet spot,” between 40% and 60%. Harvard scientists found this helps prevent virus cells from hanging in the air longer than they do in dry conditions. Plus, moist air helps the lungs expel viruses more efficiently. Try using an inexpensive humidifier in your bedroom, since your body shores up your immune system while you sleep. No humidifier? Fill a slow cooker with water and set on low, uncovered, to add moisture.
Strengthening brittle nails from the inside out is easy when you enjoy an omelet for breakfast. Our nails are 98% protein, and a deficiency in this nutrient can sap nails of their strength. Eggs to the rescue! Eating one or two a day supplies needed protein and the amino acid cysteine, which binds the strains of keratin (the main protein in nails) together to add strength. Prefer a topical fix? Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 Tbs. of jojoba oil. Massage into nail beds; rinse after 10 minutes. Doing this three times weekly for 14 days will fortify nails in two weeks.
Every time you reach for your slow cooker for a hearty stew or roast, you’re warding off signs of aging. Cooking over low temperatures drastically reduces the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), inflammatory compounds that form in food cooked with high-heat methods like grilling and broiling. As AGEs break down our cells, they can trigger everything from saggy skin to stiff arteries. Luckily, slow-cooking methods like simmering, braising, steaming, and poaching help keep skin firm, joints ache-free and memory sharp.