December 21st, 2015

LD Picks: Best Life Tips and Tricks

No one has time to read all the lifestyle tips on the Internet, so our editors have selected the best. Read on for smart advice on beagles, bruises, bleaching, Brussels sprouts, and more—our very favourite life tips and tricks.

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How to Remove Annoying Sticky Residue from Marble

marble

Marble is a relatively soft rock, susceptible to damage, so it gets a bad rap for requiring frequent maintenance. With this simple trick, however, you’ll be able to clean off even the stickiest of messes with ease.

  1. The materials You need cooking oil—either canola or olive will do—and a willing pair of hands.
  2. The setup Pour your cooking oil over the sticky residue and gently work it in using your fingers. Since marble is so soft, avoid using metal utensils or steel wools and instead, use your fingernails to peel off the residue.
  3. The cleanup Once all of the residue is removed, rinse the area with warm water and dry it.

[More at Apartment Therapy]

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5 Simple Tricks to Make Stress Work for You

stress

We’ve all heard of the damages that stress can have on our health and well being. But psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal has a new perspective on stress that could change everything. In The Upside of Stress, she argues for the

  1. Be a stress atheist. In a recent study, those who reported stress (but perceived it as harmless) had a much lower risk of death than their peers and less stressed counterparts. McGonigal argues that our stress levels don’t need changing—but our mindsets do. In reality, stress can have many benefits for a person, including better engagement and performance.
  2. Reframe your anxiety as energy. When you feel physical symptoms of stress associated with an adrenaline rush, such as an increased heartbeat and sweating, remember that your body is working with you and not against you. Contrary to popular belief, stress can make you perform better in a task or situation, so let that extra energy drive you.
  3. Remind yourself you are not alone. Stressing about chronic worries like money can feel isolating. Remind yourself that others are going through the same situation as you and that your life is not a total mess.
  4. Lend a hand. Next time you are stressed, do something nice and unexpected for someone. Focusing on someone else can help reduce anxiety, while that feel-good energy will give you a more positive perspective.
  5. Pay attention to how others worry. Soothing friends and family when stressed will help you calm yourself down when in a similar situation.
  6. Reflect on your growth. Instead of dwelling on a situation that didn’t go as planned, use it as an opportunity to learn. This has the added benefit of decreasing your stress levels while simultaneously improving how you’ll handle difficult situations in the future.

[More at Real Simple]

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This Haircut Will Secretly Shave 10 Years Off Your Age

Ever heard hairdressers gush about the flattering effects of bangs. They’re not lying. Not all bangs are good bangs, however—some will transport you to the thin and feathery past. Before taking the plunge, make sure three prerequisites are in place.
  1. Your bangs must be thick. Thick, lush hair is a sign of youth and fertility, and a full fringe will add the necessary body to your hair.
  2. They shouldn’t be totally blunt. Unless the look you’re going for is kindergartener at recess, that is. Perfectly blunt bangs make you look young in all the wrong ways.
  3. They should end between your eyebrows and your eyes. While short bangs can be extremely sexy, they often have a retro feel that is more associated with an older generation. To ensure the most youthful you possible, try to aim for a slightly longer bang.

[More at Women’s Health]

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13 Odd Reasons You Bruise So Easily

bruise

A bruise, it turns out, is a complicated thing. Formed by breaking blood vessels that pool blood under the first layer of skin, many factors influence its development. Here are 13 reasons you’re seeing that bruise on your [body part here].
  1. Your workouts are brutal! Exercise bruises are common in people who lift heavy weights or push themselves extremely hard. This causes muscle fibers and connective tissue fibers to tear, ripping blood vessels and forming bruises above the strained muscle.
  2. Your genes Around 18 percent of the population has genetic characteristics—fragile blood vessels, lower platelet counts, clotting deficiencies—that make them susceptible to bruising.
  3. Your fair skin Many doctors believe that people with fair complexions bruise more easily, likely due to fragility of the blood vessels.
  4. The pills you’re taking Some medications impact the blood’s ability to clot broken blood vessels, leading to increased bleeding and bruising. Anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin are a common cause, as are vitamin E, ginko biloba, and birth control.
  5. The steroids  Anabolic steroids, steroids for allergies, and steroids for inflammation can all negatively affect the strength and health of blood vessels.
  6. Your Vitamin C levels Besides causing scurvy, low vitamin C levels weaken blood vessels and allow for much greater bruising.
  7. Your protein levels Low protein weakens blood vessels, and skin collagen, too. Most often recognized for keeping skin looking youthful, collagen gives your skin its strength and elasticity, both of which help protect the blood vessels underneath.
  8. Your luck Your arms and legs, constantly moving, are the most likely places for impacts to occur. The skin on these limbs is especially thin—less protection for the blood vessels.
  9. The UV Excessive sun damage thins and weakens skin, making it less capable of protecting your blood vessels.
  10. Your age (sorry!) As you get older your body loses collagen while what little remains grows increasingly unhealthy and fragile. This, combined with a potential decrease in body fat, leaves your blood vessels more susceptible to damage and bruising.
  11. The booze Alcohol thins your blood, while excessive drinking can affect your liver, bone marrow, and spleen – all of which produce platelets and facilitate clotting.
  12. The lost weight Fast weight loss can make bruising more visible, and if it is done unhealthily, malnutrition can negatively impact blood vessels.
  13. An undiagnosed condition If you notice abnormal bruising and can’t find a reasonable explanation, see a doctor. Abnormal bruising in tandem with nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or blood in your stool can be a sign of various blood disorders and should not be ignored.

[More at Buzzfeed]

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4 Beauty Habits That Are Aging You Faster

beautyhabits

Beauty rituals are meant to increase confidence and make you feel younger, healthier, and more attractive. Taken to extremes, many tricks have the opposite effect, however—they can damage your hair and teeth, dry out your skin, and age you far before your time. Yikes!
  1. Exfoliation  Facial scrubs are praised for giving skin a healthy glow, but used too frequently or roughly they remove the top layer of skin, leaving the face raw and broken. The abrasion also causes excess oil to be produced, thereby exacerbating the problem it’s meant to treat. Fix it: Apply a 1% hydrocortisone cream to soothe inflammation and skip scented and acidic products. For a long-term solution switch to a cleanser with a softer scrub such as jojoba beads, and aim to exfoliate once or twice a week only.
  2. Teeth bleaching  At-home bleaching kits tend to be overused, causing the peroxide in the bleach to seriously harm the mouth. Too-frequent users may develop sensitive teeth from porous tooth enamel, as well as irritated gums. Fix it: Stop whitening for 6 months or until symptoms subside. Brush with a potassium nitrate product such as Sensodyne and leave a mask of fluoride toothpaste on overnight to help remineralize the enamel. Limit home whitening to every 6 months and for no more than 20 days in a row.
  3. Scrubbing and exfoliating feet  Overuse of pumice stones can go too deep, removing necessary skin as well as dead and callused tissue. This leaves a person susceptible to infection and sensitivity, and can be further aggravated by foot razors. Fix it: Apply a topical antibiotic like bacitracin and cover the area with a bandage if bleeding. Replace your pumice stone with a stainless steel file and sterilize it regularly.
  4. Volumizing hair products  While volumizing mousses, gels, and sprays can help you nail a hairstyle, many of the most effective products comprise alcohol and heavy-duty polymers that wreak havoc on hair. As polymer build-ups weigh hair down, alcohols strips away moisture, leaving hair brittle and limp. Fix it: Wash once a week with a clarifying shampoo to reduce build-up. In the future, look for other ways to style without products, such as blow drying hair upside down. Alcohol-free stylers are a good choice as well, as their water-soluble ingredients don’t dry out your locks.

[More at Prevention]

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6 Things Your Spouse Knows About Your Health That You Don’t

cute-old-couple

Many people joke that their spouses are killing them. Actually, say doctors, the opposite is true. Your life partner is a trained observer, usually the first to observe small—but potentially significant—changes in your health. Here are six they notice before you do.
  1. Changes in moles Maybe it’s in a hard place to see, or you see it too often to notice the difference. Either way, your spouse is much likelier to notice any changes sooner than you will. Regular skin exams can find melanoma and other serious conditions while they are still treatable.
  2. A new lump or bump Your partner is in the best position to spot any unexplained lumps growing in your body, whether in the breasts, testicles, or other area. This intimacy can lead to earlier diagnoses and expanded time together.
  3. An increase in snoring Worsening snoring accompanied by choking sounds or pauses in breathing can be caused by sleep apnea, a disorder that increases the risks of many medical problems, including type 2 diabetes.
  4. Drastic mood swings When angry outbursts, excessive mood swings, or unexplainable emotions appear, spouses are often the first to recognize the link to an underlying condition, like depression. While talking about it may be challenging, discussion and action are vital in such cases.
  5. A decline in hearing A person’s partner is likely to pick up on subtle clues that their spouse is losing their hearing and should remain supportive, while firmly recommending a trip to the doctor.
  6. Abnormal forgetfulness A spouse is likely to be the first to notice a pattern of absentmindedness, which may signal the onset of some serious medical problems. Undoubtedly a painful conversation for all involved, bringing up concerns regarding memory is the only way to deal with such fears, and if necessary, begin to prepare for the future.

[More at Prevention]

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7 More Green Superfoods You Should Eat Today

green-food-3

If, like so many, you hated spinach or Brussels sprouts as a child, it may be time to get over it. Studies show that although green foods are vital to human health, fewer than 33 percent of us meet the daily fruit-and-vegetable requirements. Here are 7 easy and delicious to make your palate greener and life brighter.
  1. Avocados Generally considered a treat in our society, the avocado has 690 mg of potassium and a slew of healthy fats that help lower cholesterol and decrease inflammation.
  2. Apples An apple a day may actually keep the doctor away—by helping to reduce obesity, high cholesterol, risks of stroke, and certain types of cancer. (This applies to yellow and red apples, too, don’t worry!)
  3. Kale Each cup of kale offers 24 mg of calcium to help strengthen bones. It’s also rich in vitamin A, which keeps skin healthy and certain forms of cancer at bay.
  4. Spinach Like its cousin, kale, spinach is high in vitamin A and C, and offers slightly more fiber to boot.
  5. Nopales A cactus plant more common south of the border, nopales is loaded with vitamin A, C, and fiber. Studies have proven that this green can lower high blood sugar as well, making it ideal for with diabetes or bad eating habits.
  6. Brussels sprouts A favourite of parents, Brussels sprouts offer plenty of vitamin A and C, as well as 4 grams of fiber per cup. With plenty of recipes available to spice them up, this is one vegetable that you should definitely try again.
  7. Pistachios Technically a nut, the little green pistachio packs a big health punch. A healthy source of fiber, just half a cup of pistachios provides more than 6 grams of protein, well over 10 percent of the daily recommendation.

[More at Real Simple]

 

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Why Organic Milk Lasts So Much Longer Than Regular Milk

avalon-organic

Organic milk has a reputation for far outlasting its mass-produced cousin, it’s true. But why? By itself, “organic”—that is, certifiably free of GMOs, antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, and herbicides—can’t explain the milk’s longevity. We went looking for an answer to this heated question.
  • Pasteurization is the process of treating milk with heat for milk that destroys disease-causing microorganisms, spoilage microorganisms, and damaging enzymes. Both conventional and organic milk are pasteurized—but in different ways.
  • UHT stands for the process of ultra-high temperature pasteurization, in which the milk is exposed to temperatures of 290-302 degrees for a total of 2 seconds. Organic milk often undergoes UHT pasteurization. By treating the milk this way, more microorganisms are removed and shelf life is increased. Since organic milk tends to be shipped from farther and warehoused longer, this process is vital to its longevity.
  • Regular milk, on the other hand, is shipped to closer locations, and doesn’t require a terribly long longer shelf life. It is treated at a lower temperature (conventional or non-UHT pasteurization), so it degrades more quickly. And that’s why organic milk lasts so much longer than regular milk.

[More at Thrillist]

 

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Six Daily Habits That Are As Bad For You As Smoking

Okay, everyone knows smoking is bad for you. But it’s far from the only way to court hazards of health. Here are six commonplace activities that either expose you to the same toxins as cigarette smoke or lead to similar rates of disease.
  1. Sitting all day Sitting for prolonged periods is increasingly linked to cases of breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancer, with numbers about two-thirds of the cases associated with smoking. Make it right: By inserting more breaks into your workday, building a standing workstation, and making sure to get your exercise.
  2. Eating too much meat and cheese Animal proteins found in these products are high in IGF-1, a growth hormone that promotes cancer cells. Middle-aged people on high-protein diets have been found to be up to four times more likely to die of cancer than their peers. Make it right: Update your diet and replace some of those animal proteins with natural items like beans.
  3. Cooking with gas The slogan isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Cooking with gas indoors adds carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde to each meal, in levels far above public health guidelines. Make it right: Use the back burners and crank up the fan to reduce these contaminants by over 60 percent.
  4. Cooking with the wrong oil High-heat cooking with shortening or soybean/vegetable oil can release particulate matter, aldehydes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons—all of which are also found in cigarette smoke. Make it right: Avocado oil for high heat cooking, olive oil for lower temperature recipes—always check the smoke point on your oils and don’t forget the venting fan.
  5. Indoor tanning No surprise here—jumping into the tanning booth is even more dangerous than smoking. The former causes 420,000 cases of skin cancer a year; smoking causes an average of 226,000. Make it right: Either embrace your pale skin or nurture your inner glow by increasing your intake of carrots and tomatoes. Both vegetables are high in carotenoids, which boost and refresh skin tone.
  6. Not getting enough sleep Chronic sleep deprivation is a precursor to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and obesity. Continually fragmented or insufficient sleep promotes tumor growth and mortality rates on par with smoking. Make it right: Get at least six hours. Go to bed earlier if you find yourself consistently exhausted, and see a health professional if this habit seems out of your control.

[More at Prevention]

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