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Daily Archives: May 29, 2016

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Do You Need to Anti-Age Your Attitude?

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Are you extra world-weary? It may be time to get reacquainted with your inner child—for the sake of your health. Adults who reported feeling older than they were had a 10 to 25 percent greater chance of being hospitalized over the next 2 to 10 years, according to new research. “One of the main reasons we feel old is stress,” says Gabrielle Bernstein, New York Times best-selling author of Miracles Now ($16, amazon.com). Try her tips to turn back your mental clock and anti-age your attitude.

RELATED: The Best Advice from the Happiest People on the Planet

1. Be mindful

“A daily meditation practice will lower your cortisol levels, increase your energy, and enhance your memory,” explains Bernstein.

2. Channel your childhood

“Do some kind of physical activity that brings you back to your youth,” suggests Bernstein. Think trampolining or even simply dancing to old high school hits in your room.

RELATED: How to Eat Your Way to Health and Happiness 

3. Get grateful

“The best way to feel younger is to focus on gratitude,” says Bernstein. One way to do it: Make a nightly list of things you’re thankful for.

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The Genetic Reason You're Drawn to Certain Guys

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How many times have you gone on a blind date with a guy who seemed perfect on paper (i.e., according to his profile, or your matchmaking friend’s review)—but in person, your chemistry could only be described as … crickets? 

It could be your (or his) DNA, suggests a new study published in the journal Human Nature. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, have discovered a connection between several genetic traits and attraction. 

For their study, they recruited 262 young, single Asian Americans to take part in a speed-dating scenario. After each three-minute “date,” the researchers asked the participants how desirable they found the other person to be, and whether they were interested in a second date. The researchers also examined the daters’ DNA.

RELATED: 20 Weird Facts About Sex and Love

What they found? Men with a gene variant linked to leadership and social dominance were considered more attractive; while women who had a gene variant linked to sensitivity were seen as more desirable.

In other words, “speed-daters were more attracted to men and women who had gene variants that were consistent with prevailing gender stereotypes,” explains lead author Karen Wu. (Though Wu and her team note that their experiment should be replicated to see if the results are consistent across cultures and ages.)

This isn’t the first time DNA and romance have been linked: A 2014 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that carriers of a certain genotype were more likely to stay single. So do findings like these mean we all have some sort of superhero gene-detecting ability?

Not quite, says Wu: “Speed-daters were most likely detecting the underlying genes through their partners’ behaviors during the date."

​RELATED: 19 Ways Your Body Changes When You Fall in Love

But let’s be clear: No one is suggesting that you act delicate to land a second date. Or that men go all macho to impress a lady. Of course, “there are many other factors that also contribute to dating success,” Wu points out. Like, if you and your date have anything in common. Or you’re physically attracted to each other. Or you want the same things, or share the same values. You get the idea.

Besides, Wu adds, “We found the [DNA] effect to be fairly small.”

The golden rule of dating—proven outside the lab time and time again—still holds true: Above all, it’s best to be your awesome self.

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How to Fall Asleep Fast, According to 6 Health Editors

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Sleep experts have tons of tricks to getting a better night's rest: go easy on the caffeine and alcohol, take a warm bath before bed, keep the thermostat set low, ban TV and mobile phones from the bedroom, and so on. But for Health's editors, the bedtime behaviors that help us fall sleep fast aren't exactly scientifically proven—and in some cases, they'd make the experts cringe. But they work for us, and research shows we're better off for it: the health benefits of sleep include sharper memory, lower stress, and lower risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Read on for our tried-and-true before-bed routines. 

Sip warm milk

"When I'm having trouble falling asleep, I go into the dark kitchen, heat up some milk and sip it in bed. The funny thing is we have published stories reporting that there is no good science to back up this folk remedy, so maybe it's just placebo effect, but it always works for me." —Lisa Lombardi, executive editor

Follow a specific routine

"I rarely have trouble falling asleep. I think it's because I follow a pretty specific routine every evening to get relaxed and ready for bed. In the hours before bedtime, I often watch a little TV, but only comedies—I've found that high-stakes dramas and gory scenes from Game of Thrones stress me out and keep me up later than I'd like. When it's time to head to bed, I wash my face and brush my teeth, and follow that up with my night cream, which is my one big beauty indulgence: Estée Lauder Resilience Lift Night ($86; nordstrom.com). The sweet floral scent helps tell my body it's bedtime. After I get into bed, I read a book until I can no longer keep my eyes open, and then roll onto my left side to fall asleep. Yes, it HAS to be my left side—not sure why!" —Christine Mattheis, deputy editor

Sniff some lavender

“Lavender is my go-to scent when I want to relax and fall asleep fast. I am obsessed with my DW Relaxing Lavender Candle ($28; amazon.com)—so much so that I’ve burned through the 13-ounce jar…twice. I’ll usually have the candle burning while I’m getting my clothes and bag ready for the next day and then I will blow it out right before I get into bed (safety first!). The lingering scent helps me drift right off to sleep.” —Lindsey Murray, assistant editor

Stretch it out

"I used to be a terrible sleeper, but I've really worked on it over the last few years since I've learned how crucial good sleep is to overall health. I stretch for around 15 minutes (also working on my flexibility, another area that needs improvement!), and drink a magnesium supplement that helps relax me (Natural Calm, $25 for 16 oz.; amazon.com). After getting ready for bed, I put coconut oil on my face, then get into bed, set my Beddit sleep tracker ($80; amazon.com), and read a book until I feel my eyes drooping. Then I smooch my husband and drift off." —Beth Lipton, food director

Jot notes in a journal

"I have a 5 Year Diary ($12; amazon.com) that I write in every night before I go to bed. Every page in the book has five paragraph entries, so you can see what you were doing on that specific date five years in a row. There's only enough space to write 3-5 sentences about your day, so it's not as daunting as a traditional journal page might be. I started mine when I first moved to New York City three years ago, and I love looking back and seeing what I've done, who I've been with, and how drastically my life has changed. As you write and gather more entries, it's a great way to gain perspective on your own life while also benefitting from the daily therapeutic benefits of journaling." —MaryAnn Barone, social media editor 

Slip into a food coma 

"Experts may not approve of my approach to falling asleep, but it works for me. I eat small meals throughout the day, and I really look forward to a robust dinner around 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. As soon as my tummy is full, I start getting sleepy. After I brush my teeth, I watch some TV on the couch. I find it really comforting to doze with the TV on if my boyfriend is still awake and actively watching it. If he’s not watching it with me, then I’ll turn the TV off and head to bed. I turn onto my stomach and usually fall asleep within 10 minutes or so." —Janet Lawrence, senior video editor

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