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European Lifestyle May Reduce Depression Risk

We have already heard from fitness experts and sources that Mediterranean diet (a.k.a veggies, fruits, whole-wheat pasta, chicken, fish diet) is known to bring great health benefits. But a study conducted in Spain takes its known advantages up a notch. The findings suggest that correspondents with the highest adherence to a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, specifically obeying the way of living of people from countries like Italy, France, Greece and Spain lowered their risk of getting depression to 50% compared to those with lowest adherence. In short, Mediterranean lifestyle may also bring psychological benefits.

This Mediterranean lifestyle is composed of three (3) parts: Exposure to the well-known diet, physical activity and time spent with friends/family (socialization). Researchers ran and followed up the study for more than eight (8) years by the help of almost 12,000 university graduates. It turned out those participants who combined the three essential components had lower depression risks.

Although previous researches have shown the relationship of healthy diet and risk depressions, this recent study is the first to delve deeper on the association of overall, specifically Mediterranean lifestyle and depression itself. Researchers did not draw conclusion on the exact reasons why a balanced combination of physical activity, socializing and eating healthy diet is related to lower depression risk but according to Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, the lead study author and professor at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, certain ingredients in the Mediterranean diet such as fruit, olive oil and legumes have anti-inflammatory components which may be of use in inflammation prevention—which has been linked to depression in the past.

Exercising or physical activities have been previously linked by experts to help reduce anxiety and depression because during workout, our bodies release feel-good brain chemicals like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. Lastly, social interactions according to the study researchers comes with better psychological health—suggested mechanisms such as having social support during hard times may backup this correlation.

For Asians, a Mediterranean diet may not be widely practiced but for beginners, a Mediterranean-Asian meal plan would be a good starting point. According to an article contributed by Brittany, a healthy living blogger on skinnyfitalicious.com, Mediterranean and Asian foods are rich in taste and normally provide nutrients the body needs. Ingredients from both cultures can be infused to one healthy and tasty recipe for example, combination of fish and rice, olive oil and veggies etc.

Recipe books featuring Mediterranean pyramid and 100 recipes from 25 European countries are available online like the ones found in Kinokuniya Singapore. Either diet can be unhealthy (for example, fusion of tempura fish or vodka) but what matters is the principle of these diets that drive the real benefits, one of which is to take a minute to savor and enjoy the tasteful flavors because the value it bring is not only within the confines of nutrition but also for the mind as well.


Finally Busting Allergy Myths

 

Allergies come in different forms and depending on your body’s immune response, you will encounter different forms as you go along. Maybe you haven’t discovered your allergy yet but this is not the time to relax and ignore facts about allergies. Forget about the myths and try to remember the facts. This article will finally bust most allergy myths so you will be informed better.

Before anything else, it will be a good help if you know what an allergy is. Allergy is actually a condition that can damage a person’s immune response to a particular substance. You have to remember that it varies. You may be allergic to pollen but your sister is not. You can be allergic to cats and dogs but your neighbour is not.

It is crucial that you clear your misunderstanding of allergies. There are many allergy doctors here in Singapore that you can consult if there is a need. Here are some common myths of allergies and its truth:

You will get allergies from furs of your pet

All your life you believe that you are only allergic to the fur of the pet but in fact the culprits are their body proteins, dander and skin – not entirely their fur. The best thing to avoid this is to keep the pets outdoors and if it cannot be helped, at least isolate your bedroom from common areas. You can also secure HEPA filters to safeguard the air around you.

You get allergies from plants around your house

Many people blame plants for their allergies. As a result they cut the plant or tree for bringing such discomfort. This is a myth because even if you cut a plant or tree down, pollens can travel thousands of miles depending on wind current. One best way to avoid this is to schedule outdoor activities early morning or evening because at these times, winds are not that strong.

You get allergies from feathers of your pillow

When you lie down and you begin to sneeze and feel weird, you instantly blame it on the feathers of your pillow when it fact your bed has many allergens that accumulate like mold and dust mites. You have to know that feathered pillows underwent thorough heat washing process – which eliminates protein that can cause such discomfort or problem.

These are just some myths that you should bust as it can affect your life in general. Believing something that is not that accurate is a waste of time and resources. You have to know because it can make a difference at the end of the day.


Hands Off: The Dirtiest Equipment on the Gym

Attending the gym has its perks without a doubt but sometimes we have to be careful because there are some dangers lurking around. These dangers are sometimes unnoticeable which makes it more threatening when we think about it. You should know that gyms are sort of gross. Yes, you read it right.

Gyms here in Singapore are clean especially for exclusive clubs but what about ordinary gyms? Ordinary gyms are overcrowded, hot and smell sweat. You go to gym not for the ambiance but for working out. However, you have to be particular of what you hold because lots of equipment hoards harmful bacteria.

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FitRated conducted a research recently and discovered some things worth your attention. FitRated is a review site for gym equipment. It visited myriad of gyms and swabbed bacteria samples from twenty seven different gym facilities. The study revealed disturbing facts that is why it is crucial that you read it and share it to your fellow.

The swapped samples contain negative rods, positive rods, positive cocci and bacillus. The quantifier is Colony-forming Unit (CFU). CFU is used to estimate the bacteria or fungal cells for example. According to the study, here are some of the dirtiest gym equipment:

  • Exercise bike: An exercise bike contains about 1,333,418 CFU. When loosely translated it has thirty nine times more bacteria that your usual plastic reusable tray in the cafeteria. The tray by the way has 33,800 CFU.

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  • Free weights: The next dirtiest equipment is free weights. It has about 1,158,381 CFU. When loosely translated it has three hundred sixty two times more bacteria than your toilet seat. Toilet seat by the way has 3,200 CFU.

 

  • Treadmill: Treadmill is also dirty equipment with 1,333,432 CFU. When loosely translated it has seventy four times more bacteria than your ordinary faucet. Your ordinary faucet by the way has 18,000 CFU.

Now that you have a clear picture of equipment with the most bacteria, it is time to do something. Do not just ignore this equipment because these are also important. The best that you can do is to always remember sanitizing. After hitting the gym, never touch anything unless your hands are clean.

So, the next time you hit the gym, do not forget to bring your sanitizer and share the information to your friends. This is alarming and disturbing thinking that you cannot see it but it can cause serious illness at the end of the day.

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Fun Facts about Coconut Water

Sometimes, drinking water can be a little bland and boring. Instead of going for juices and sodas, a healthy and tastier alternative is coconut water. Dubbed as the ultimate quencher of thirst, coconut water is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients.

Still a bit clueless about coco water, read on to learn more interesting facts about this wonder drink.

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It comes from young coconuts.

The sweet and clear water from coconuts come from the younger green coconut variety. A young coconut may contain about 200 to 1,000 milliliters of water, depending on the size of the coconut fruit.

The perfect age of coconuts to harvest water from is about six months old. Younger coconuts have water that is slightly bitter. Older than six months, the fruit contains less water.

 

Coconut water boosts weight loss.

If you’re striving to lose weight, coconut water may be the missing link to your healthy diet. Coco water is very low in calories and fat but is also a treasure of essential nutrients needed for energy. If you’re on a strict diet, coconut water is also a good appetite suppressor, giving you the feeling of being full.

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Coco water is good for the skin.

Coconut water is not only for drinking. It can also be used as a natural remedy for skin problems like acne and uneven skin tone. It is also an excellent skin moisturizer, making the skin soft and supple. In fact, coconut water is a key ingredient in many skin care products and cosmetics.

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Instant Relief from Blocked Nose  

 

Stuffy nose is really annoying and uncomfortable. There are many causes of stuffy nose like it being a result of a sinus infection or common cold, allergies or flu. For adults, breathing seems to be difficult how much more for little children? With this, it is important that we know some instant remedies from stuffy or blocked nose to help ourselves and the people around us.

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Here are some things that we can consider:

  • Inhale steam: Inhaling steam is an effective thing to do. Steam can help by thinning and draining our mucus in our sinuses and nose. This will surely relieve the congestion. We can make it better by putting few drops of eucalyptus, peppermint or mint to the water. Looking for these essential oils is easy here in Singapore so it is not a problem.
  • Hydrate: Drinking lots of fluid can help the body recover from blocked or stuffy nose. We can consider water but we can also try lemonade, tea and coconut oil to thin out, loosen and drain mucus. The fluid can actually help us expel the mucus easier. We should also consider chamomile, peppermint and ginger deal with our congestion. We have to avoid caffeinated beverages and coffee though.

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  • Oil: Some of us haven’t tried oils. Well, others tried adding oils whilst inhaling the steam but if we do not have time to inhale the steam, we can just put few drops of mustard oil in either our nostril by using a dropper. We should breathe in the oil and spit it out from our mouth. The pungent oil will make us sneeze thereby helping us clear our nose.
  • Humidify: Many Singaporeans suffer from chronic sinusitis. With this, we are advised to use a humidifier. The humidifier soothes our peeved nasal passage. We have to remember that low humidity dries the nasal passage and as a result, aggravates infection and inflammation. Moist air dampen the passage which can help us trap and eliminate the germs settling in our sinuses.
  • Saline Spray: Using saline spray is also effective. Saline sprays are available over the counter. It can help us by irrigating our dry nasal passage thereby reducing the inflammation. The good thing is that saline spray has no side effects so we can use it as long as we need to.
  • Antihistamine: If our blocked or stuffy nose is caused by an allergy, we can get rid of it by taking antihistamine medicines. Antihistamine may come as an oral medication or spray.

If this persists, we have to consult our physician right away because it may not be the simple stuffy or blocked nose.

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