Improving Your Happiness

Man and daughter smiling with happiness
MoMo Productions / Getty Images

Some people seem to have a naturally higher baseline for happiness—one large-scale study of more than 2,000 twins suggested that around 50% of overall life satisfaction was due to genetics, 10% to external events, and 40% to individual activities.9

So while you might not be able to control what your “base level” of happiness is, there are things that you can do to make your life happier and more fulfilling. Even the happiest of individuals can feel down from time to time and happiness is something that all people need to consciously pursue.

Get Regular Exercise

Exercise is good for both your body and mind. Physical activity is linked to a range of physical and psychological benefits including improved mood. Numerous studies have shown that regular exercise may play a role in warding off symptoms of depression, but evidence also suggests that it may also help make people happier, too.

In one analysis of past research on the connection between physical activity and happiness, researchers found a consistent positive link.10

Even a little bit of exercise produces a happiness boost—people who were physically active for as little as 10 minutes a day or who worked out only once a week had higher levels of happiness than people who never exercised.

Show Gratitude

In one study, participants were asked to engage in a writing exercise for 10 to 20 minutes each night before bed.11 Some were instructed to write about daily hassles, some about neutral events, and some about things they were grateful for. The results found that people who had written about gratitude had increase positive emotions, increased subjective happiness, and improve life satisfaction.

As the authors of the study suggest, keeping a gratitude list is a relatively easy, affordable, simple, and pleasant way to boost your mood. Try setting aside a few minutes each night to write down or think about things in your life that you are grateful for.

Find a Sense of Purpose

Research has found that people who feel like they have a purpose have better well-being and feel more fulfilled.12 A sense of purpose involves seeing your life as having goals, direction, and meaning. It may help improve happiness by promoting healthier behaviors. 

Some things you can do to help find a sense of purpose include:

  • Explore your interests and passions
  • Engage in prosocial and altruistic causes
  • Work to address injustices
  • Look for new things you might want to learn more about

This sense of purpose is influenced by a variety of factors, but it is also something that you can cultivate. It involves finding a goal that you care deeply about that will lead you to engage in productive, positive actions in order to work toward that goal.

Challenges

While seeking happiness is important, there are times when the pursuit of life satisfaction falls short. Some challenges to watch for include:

Valuing the Wrong Things

Money may not be able to buy happiness, but there is research that spending money on things like experiences can make you happier than spending it on material possessions. 

One study, for example, found that spending money on things that buy time—such as spending money on time-saving services—can increase happiness and life satisfaction.13

Rather than overvaluing things such as money, status, or material possessions, pursuing goals that result in more free time or enjoyable experiences may have a higher happiness reward.

Not Seeking Social Support

Social support means having friends and loved ones that you can turn to for support. Research has found that perceived social support plays an important role in subjective well-being. For example, one study found that perceptions of social support were responsible for 43% of a person’s level of happiness.14

It is important to remember that when it comes to social support, quality is more important than quantity. Having just a few very close and trusted friends will have a greater impact on your overall happiness than having many casual acquaintances.

Thinking of Happiness as an Endpoint

Happiness isn’t a goal that you can simply reach and be done with. It is a constant pursuit that requires continual nurturing and sustenance.

One study found that people who tend to value happiness most also tended to feel the least satisfied with their lives.15 Essentially, happiness becomes such a lofty goal that it becomes virtually unattainable. 

“Valuing happiness could be self-defeating because the more people value happiness, the more likely they will feel disappointed,” suggest the authors of the study.

Perhaps the lesson is to not make something as broadly defined as “happiness” your goal. Instead, focus on building and cultivating the sort of life and relationships that bring fulfillment and satisfaction to your life. 

How to Practice

While some people just tend to be naturally happier, there are things that you can do to cultivate your sense of happiness. 

Pursue Intrinsic Goals 

Achieving goals that you are intrinsically motivated to pursue, particularly ones that are focused on personal growth and community, can help boost happiness. Research suggests that pursuing these types of intrinsically-motivated goals can increase happiness more than pursuing extrinsic goals like gaining money or status.3

Enjoy the Moment

Studies have found that people tend to over earn—they become so focused on accumulating things that they lose track of actually enjoying what they are doing.4

So, rather than falling into the trap of mindlessly accumulating to the detriment of your own happiness, focus on practicing gratitude for the things you have and enjoying the process as you go. 

Reframe Negative Thoughts

When you find yourself stuck in a pessimistic outlook or experiencing negativity, look for ways that you can reframe your thoughts in a more positive way. 

People have a natural negativity bias, or a tendency to pay more attention to bad things than to good things. This can have an impact on everything from how you make decisions to how you form impressions of other people. 

Reframing these negative perceptions isn’t about ignoring the bad. Instead, it means trying to take a more balanced, realistic look at events. It allows you to notice patterns in your thinking and then challenge negative thoughts.

Article by By Kendra Cherry

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-happiness-4869755

What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Coffee

Reader’s Digest article by Brooke Nelson 

Slide 1 of 10: Depending on how you like your coffee, your regular Starbucks run could be doing a number on your waistline; giving up those cups of joe could save you money as well as calories. A study published in 2017 in Public Health found that roughly two-thirds of coffee drinkers load their cup of joe with sugar, cream, flavorings, or other calorie-rich additives. Not surprisingly, the researchers discovered that those who drink their coffee black consume about 69 fewer total calories per day, on average, than those who add sweeteners, cream or other additives to their coffee. Our sister site, Taste of Home, tried seven brands of coffee—and this one was the best.

 © Dougal Waters/Getty Images

You could lose weight

Depending on how you like your coffee, your regular Starbucks run could be doing a number on your waistline; giving up those cups of joe could save you money as well as calories. A study published in 2017 in Public Health found that roughly two-thirds of coffee drinkers load their cup of joe with sugar, cream, flavorings, or other calorie-rich additives. Not surprisingly, the researchers discovered that those who drink their coffee black consume about 69 fewer total calories per day, on average, than those who add sweeteners, cream or other additives to their coffee.

You could gain weight

Have you ever experienced strange cravings if you happen to forgo your caffeine dose one morning? Since coffee can temporarily suppress your appetite, you might find yourself reaching for fat- or sugar-loaded replacements more often than usual once you stop drinking your daily cup of joe. This is especially true when your caffeine withdrawal kicks in and your body starts searching for a quick sugar fix, boosting your blood sugar and daily caloric consumption.

You could sleep better

Even though you’ll feel tired as your body adjusts to the lack of stimulants it’s become used to, in the long run, you could get a better night’s sleep once you start living caffeine-free, especially if you were an afternoon or evening coffee drinker.  A study published in 2013 in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that caffeine intake even six hours before bedtime can disrupt a person’s sleep cycle that night.

You could have more frequent headaches

Every coffee lover recognizes the telltale signs of the dreaded caffeine headache that hits when your body doesn’t get its morning jolt. When you stop drinking coffee, you deprive your body of adrenaline and dopamine, hormones that act as natural stimulants and keep you awake. Instead, a flood of adenosine—a hormone responsible for rest and tiredness—rushes to your head, causing a change to your brain chemistry that results in a headache. To minimize the pain, don’t quit cold turkey. Instead, cut your intake just a little bit every two or three days. Eliminating a half cup of coffee, replacing coffee with tea, or even mixing normal coffee with decaf can help to avoid withdrawal symptoms, and you’ll be well on your way to weaning off your caffeine dependency. 

You could feel sick (but not for long)

Headaches aren’t the only painful symptom of quitting coffee. Those who stop consuming coffee have reported side effects like depression, anxiety, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, irritability, mood swings, and sluggishness. Here’s the good news: you won’t feel this way forever. Experts say that most of the physical symptoms of caffeine withdrawal will pass after the first two days, while the rest of the side effects won’t last beyond a week or two. 

You could have a healthier smile

Coffee is highly acidic, which means it erodes your tooth enamel and stains your teeth with every sip. Cut the caffeine and you’ll protect your teeth from a lifetime of erosion, leading to pearlier whites. Your teeth won’t get stained as much, which people often don’t think about.

You could miss out on antioxidants

Plenty of research, including a study published in 2015 in PLoS One, found that coffee can act as an antioxidant. And other studies point to the potential for a reduced risk of certain diseases seen in coffee drinkers. One published in 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, for instance, suggests that coffee drinkers have a lower risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s than non-coffee drinkers. So, unfortunately, if you’re cutting back on coffee, you’ll be losing the health benefits, too. Thankfully, it’s not hard to make up for your regular coffee intake by replacing it with antioxidant-rich tea, fruits, and veggies. 

You could have difficulty concentrating

Quitting coffee can make you feel fatigued and irritable, which can contribute to a lack of concentration, thanks to caffeine withdrawal. Blame it on the lack of stimulants you get from a dose of coffee, as well as the increase in adenosine, that pesky hormone that makes you feel tired. To counteract the loss of concentration, try chewing minty gum to keep your brain alert and on task. When participants did so in a study published in 2014 in the British Journal of Psychology, they had quicker reaction times and more accurate results on their tasks, especially toward the end of the session. Plus, after just a week without caffeine, you’ll find that your productivity has increased because you no longer experience the inevitable afternoon crash after a morning cup of coffee. 

You could become constipated

Caffeine keeps things moving through your intestines, which is why you may feel backed up when you stop drinking your usual cup of java. But never fear, there are plenty of other ways to help prevent constipation: eat lots of fiber (found in whole grains, vegetables, and beans), drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly. Your digestive system will thank you. 

You could feel calmer

If too much caffeine has ever left you squirming in your chair or jiggling your leg, it’s time to say goodbye to your double espresso shots. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it naturally raises levels of adrenaline and stress hormones in your body. No wonder drinking too much joe can make you jittery and irritable, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine, says Sonya Angelone, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in San Francisco. 

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/10-things-that-happen-to-your-body-when-you-quit-coffee/ss-BB1agi9E?ocid=msedgntp#image=10

 

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Medications

Whatever the reason, you open your medicine cabinet and reach for a bottle of ibuprofen. But as you’re twisting off the cap, you notice it expired last year.

Ordinarily you’d run out to the store for a new one, but you’ve been cutting down on shopping trips due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Is it OK to take that over-the-counter (OTC) med past its “use by” date, or could doing so be harmful?

See the source image

https://www.goodrx.com/

To find out, we looked at research addressing exactly this question — and talked to experts who live and breathe this stuff. Their insight might surprise you.

First, Consider the Safety Risks

Taking expired medicine can be risky, per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The issues include:

  • It may not actually work: “If a drug has degraded, it might not provide the patient with the intended benefit because it has a lower strength than intended,” according to the FDA. That is, expired medication may not be effective. That’s particularly problematic with prescription medications; if they’re not effective, you could be in danger.
  • There could be side effects: That’s due to the medication “yield[ing] toxic compounds,” per the FDA.

It’s best to safely dispose of all out-of-date medication, per the FDA.

How to Get Rid of Unwanted Medications

Don’t throw expired or unused medications in the trash. Instead, follow these guidelines from the FDA.

  • Bring the unwanted medications to a drop-off site or program.
  • If medications are OK to flush down the toilet, go ahead and do so.
  • For meds that shouldn’t be flushed, crush the pills and mix them with unappealing garbage (like coffee grounds or cat litter), then place the mixture in the sealed plastic bag. Place that bag in the trash.
  • For prescription medicine, remove any identifying information (such as your address) before disposing of the packaging.

Despite the risks, studies show that many meds, when carefully stored, remain potent well beyond their expiration date. Still, depending on what the drugs are and how they were stored, old pills might not give you the results you want.

“Mild painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds (NSAIDs) or antihistamines for nasal allergies can easily be monitored for efficacy,” Dr. Tavel says.

In other words, if your skull is still throbbing after taking circa-2010 ibuprofen, it’s probably time to stock up on a new supply. If your headache vanishes, then you’re good to go.

Article by Molly Triffin for:

https://www.livestrong.com/article/13727406-expired-over-the-counter-medicine-effects/

9 Things That Might Be Affecting Your Libido

Source: @eberjey

We know the drill. You come home late after a long day, cook dinner, and basically just melt right into bed. Your partner, of course, was wishing for other plans. While most of us shrug this off to stress or exhaustion (which it can be!), there are other reasons you might not get as excited to get down to business tonight. It’s normal to not be in the mood every now and then (I mean, sometimes we just want to sleep!); however, when it becomes a consistent occurrence, there could be something deeper going on.

A low libido seriously sucks, but it’s something most of us will go through at some point. Instead of causing yourself more stress, we looked into all the reasons you’re not too keen on doing much in the bedroom right now — besides sleep.

1. Stress

We all know how it feels to get home and still have a to-do list. Whether you’re experiencing work, school, or personal stress, it’s easy to let that get into your head and discourage you from engaging in time with your partner.

Try one of these — might I add, wonderful — ways to reduce your day to day stress, so you and your partner can get back to it. You could also start adding some self-care to your routine, or if you’re feeling ~spicy~, treat yourself with a little me time. We promise you’ll feel renewed.

2. Certain medications

Antidepressants, some anti-anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, and more can have a low sex drive as a side effect. If you’ve started taking a new medication recently, look back at the list of side effects your pharmacist gave you (that you probably wanted to throw out and thought again that it might be important). If you think it’s impacting your life or your relationships, you can talk to your doctor about another option.  

3. Pregnancy or breastfeeding

Pregnancy and breastfeeding cause a lot of changes to occur within your body. Your hormones are raging, which can cause fluctuations in your sex drive. One day you might want to go at it like rabbits, and another, you’re not interested at all. Understand that this is just a change in your body, and it won’t last forever.

Aside from your hormones, the other side effects of pregnancy can turn you off from sex. Nausea and fatigue in the first trimester just make sex uncomfortable — who wants to go at it when they feel sick!? Then, as your body grows and changes (woohoo! A baby!), traditional sex positions can feel kinda awkward, and women can sometimes be self-conscious about their pregnant bodies. Be kind to yourself, you’re about to birth another human into the world!

4. Lack of sleep

Along with stress, we completely understand. Whether you had a work report due at 8am, you had a scary dream (I watch too much AHS), or you stayed up reading (#guilty), you didn’t get your full eight hours last night. And that’s okay! It’s when you continuously forgo sleep that you start to notice a consistent decrease in your libido.

Try some lavender oil in your diffuser, turn off your electronics an hour before bed, or my personal favorite, give yourself a good Saturday morning to sleep until noon.

5. Negative body image

When you don’t feel comfortable or accepting of your body, it’s hard to want someone else to see you naked. Continued fear and self-consciousness when having sex is enough to make you never want to do it again. Yoga, meditation, or buying a cute new set of lingerie are all examples of ways you can start to gain a little confidence (and maybe feel a little sexier, too!).

6. Mental health issues

If you’re struggling with depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder included) or anxiety, it can significantly impact your sex drive. This can have to do with medication, issues with trust, anxiety and worry about your partner — the list goes on. Because there are so many ways mental illness can affect your libido, reach out to your doctor to discuss ways in which you can either bring it back or make it easier on yourself.

7. Relationship issues

You and your partner might have gotten in a fight recently, or you feel as though you can’t trust him or her. There are many different issues that you and your partner can experience that might lower your libido. If you’re experiencing conflict, talk with your partner openly and honestly. The conflict might be stressful and hard to deal with at first, but you’ll be grateful when it’s over and you and your partner feel closer than ever.

8. Conditions that make sex painful

Vulvodynia and endometriosis are known to cause painful sex, which can not really make you super excited to get in the sack, right? If you suffer with these conditions, talk to your doctor about treatments. You can also talk to your partner about different positions that might reduce or avoid pain. You deserve to feel good during sex, not uncomfortable!

9. Birth control

Again with the hormones! Birth control pills can sometimes lower the hormones in your body — like testosterone — that make you want to have sex. Luckily, there are alternatives, such as non-hormonal IUDs, condoms, and diaphragms. You could also talk with your doctor about trying a different birth control pill or option, like the NuvaRing.

Source: https://theeverygirl.com/9-things-that-might-be-affecting-your-libido/

How to Hand Out Halloween Candy Safely This Year

By Zee Krstic for Good Housekeeping©

Infectious disease experts share Halloween safety measures and CDC guidelines you should consider before trick-or-treating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
© Getty Images

While the novel coronavirus pandemic has interrupted many of our annual traditions, it seems many families are dead-set on celebrating Halloween during quarantine. A recent Harris Poll survey suggests that more than 70% of millennial moms are planning to make “the most” of Halloween with their families, with 80% of all surveyed saying that heading out to trick-or-treat is at the top of their list of things to do on Halloween.

Should I answer the door for trick-or-treaters?

You’re not a holiday grinch if you decide to skip handing out candy this year. “The best thing you can do to reduce your risk is to limit your interaction with others as much as possible,” explains Molly Hyde, MHS, CIC, an infection control practitioner in Maryland-based GBMC Healthcare. “If you are going to hand out candy in person, make sure you are wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth when giving out candy.”

Hyde says COVID-19 risk is lower if the face-to-face interaction is kept short, but you can also wash your hands frequently to ensure you’re not accidentally bringing germs back into your house. It goes without saying that you should also keep all strangers outside of your home, and on your front porch or in your front yard instead. Dr. Kesh adds that at the end of the night, it might be a good idea to disinfect any doorknobs, doorbells, buzzers or other high-touch surfaces outside your home.

Should I use a candy bowl this Halloween?

If you’re anxious about COVID-19, a candy bowl is a perfectly acceptable solution for trick-or-treaters and their hosts. “If you’re at higher risk for severe coronavirus symptoms, I think a candy bowl is the way to go, especially if you live in a high transmission area,” Dr. Kesh explains. As a courtesy to your neighbors, you might consider grouping candy in grab-and-go bags that each visitor can take — it reduces the need for kids to reach into a communal bowl. You can have a bit of fun creating Halloween goodie bags that can be simply left on your porch for visitors to take.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/how-to-hand-out-halloween-candy-safely-this-year-if-you-choose-to-do-it/ar-BB18Ii9O?ocid=msedgntp

The Warning Signs of Throat Cancer

By Paul Thompson  for BESTLIFE©

Slide 1 of 6: When the news broke on Oct. 6, 2006 that Eddie Van Halen, virtuoso guitarist and cofounder of the rock band Van Halen, had lost battle with throat cancer, there was an immediate outpouring of condolences and adoration from fellow musicians and fans alike. Van Halen had been battling cancer for a decade and after being in and out of the hospital for the past year, his health took a rapid decline in the days leading up to his death on Tuesday, his family confirmed. He was 65.While the cancer had spread to nearly all of his organs by the time of his death, Van Halen was originally diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2000, which he had surgically removed, but learned shortly after that cancer had developed in his throat. With the news of his death, here are the most common throat cancer symptoms you need to know. And for more red flags that you should be on the lookout for, check out Warning Signs of Head and Neck Cancer You Need to Know.Read the original article on Best Life.

When the news broke on Oct. 6, 2006 that Eddie Van Halen, virtuoso guitarist and cofounder of the rock band Van Halen, had lost battle with throat cancer, there was an immediate outpouring of condolences and adoration from fellow musicians and fans alike. Van Halen had been battling cancer for a decade and after being in and out of the hospital for the past year, his health took a rapid decline in the days leading up to his death on Tuesday, his family confirmed. He was 65.

While the cancer had spread to nearly all of his organs by the time of his death, Van Halen was originally diagnosed with tongue cancer in 2000, which he had surgically removed, but learned shortly after that cancer had developed in his throat. With the news of his death, here are the most common throat cancer symptoms you need to know.

1. Changes in your voice

With laryngeal cancer, the disease forms on the vocal cords, which often causes hoarseness or other changes in your voice, the American Cancer Society (ACS) says. One positive aspect of this symptom is that it can help detect the cancer in its early stages, which makes it easier to treat. According to the ACS: “People who have voice changes (like hoarseness) that do not improve within [two] weeks should see their health care provider right away.” 

2. Pain or difficulty swallowing

While throat cancer symptoms can vary depending on where exactly the tumor develops, pain or difficulty swallowing is known to be a common symptom across the board. According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer, you may experience “pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food” or “feel like food is sticking in your throat.”

3. Persistent coughing or sore throat

This one is pretty self-explanatory. And while having a cough and/or sore throat isn’t a surefire sign you have throat cancer, it is because these symptoms can be signs of so many different health issues, including COVID-19, that makes them all the more important to address with your doctor. This is especially true if either doesn’t subside after a few days. 

4. A lump in your throat or neck

If you notice a lump in your throat or neck, then it is critical you seek medical care immediately. According to the Mayo Clinic, this could mean the cancer has gone undetected for a dangerous amount of time, as throat cancers “are sometimes not found until they have spread to the lymph nodes and the person notices a growing mass in the neck.”

5. Weight loss

Any time you experience sudden or unexpected weight loss, there’s likely something that isn’t right with your health. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer: “Throat cancer can make it painful to eat and difficult to swallow, which can cause weight loss.” 

Stay well, stay healthy !

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/these-are-the-warning-signs-of-throat-cancer-you-need-to-know/ss-BB19Nn9D?ocid=msedgntp#image=6

These Three Products Kill COVID in a Minute

By Allie Hogan for BESTLIFE

Slide 1 of 5: At the beginning of the pandemic, people swarmed stores in droves in search of products that would keep their home COVID-free. The shelves were—and often still are—wiped clean of any product that could disinfect surfaces and keep the virus away. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swiftly compiled a list—referred to as List N—of the products that demonstrated efficacy against COVID-19. Now, the EPA has added another household name to the list of disinfectants that can eradicate coronavirus. According to a Sept. 15 statement, three Zep disinfectants kill COVID on surfaces in just one minute.The acceptance from the EPA is based on data from extensive testing on each product. While these three products have been specifically tested for killing COVID-19, Zep also has other products on the EPA's List N. In fact, Zep boasts 17 disinfectants on the list under the "emerging virus pathogen claim for use against SARS-CoV2."According to the EPA, this claim means the disinfectants had prior success against "a pathogen that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2" or "against a different human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2." So, although those 17 products have not been studied against COVID-19, the EPA finds them to be sufficiently effective to take on the virus.Here are the three EPA-tested and approved Zep products that will keep your home clean and COVID-free. And to make sure you're buying the strongest disinfectants, check out Your Favorite Disinfectants, Ranked by How Quickly They Kill Coronavirus.Read the original article on Best Life.
Image by BESTLIFE

The EPA Now Says These Three Products Kill COVID in a Minute

At the beginning of the pandemic, people swarmed stores in droves in search of products that would keep their home COVID-free. The shelves were—and often still are—wiped clean of any product that could disinfect surfaces and keep the virus away. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) swiftly compiled a list—referred to as List N—of the products that demonstrated efficacy against COVID-19. Now, the EPA has added another household name to the list of disinfectants that can eradicate coronavirus. According to a Sept. 15 statement, three Zep disinfectants kill COVID on surfaces in just one minute.

The acceptance from the EPA is based on data from extensive testing on each product. While these three products have been specifically tested for killing COVID-19, Zep also has other products on the EPA’s List N. In fact, Zep boasts 17 disinfectants on the list under the “emerging virus pathogen claim for use against SARS-CoV2.”

According to the EPA, this claim means the disinfectants had prior success against “a pathogen that is harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2” or “against a different human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2.” So, although those 17 products have not been studied against COVID-19, the EPA finds them to be sufficiently effective to take on the virus.

Here are the three EPA-tested and approved Zep products that will keep your home clean and COVID-free. And to make sure you’re buying the strongest disinfectants, check out Your Favorite Disinfectants, Ranked by How Quickly They Kill Coronavirus.

1. Zep Antibacterial Disinfectant & Cleaner with Lemon

Zep claims this ready-to-use disinfectant excels at cutting through grease and tough soil. This product can be used on hard non-porous surfaces in any room of your house to give your home a lemon-fresh scent while keeping COVID away. 

2. Zep Spirit II Ready-To-Use Detergent Disinfectant

With this disinfectant, a COVID-free home is just a few sprays and 60 seconds away. This germicidal cleaner and deodorant can also control mildew growth, per Zep, making it the perfect multi-use tool.

3. Zep All-Purpose Bathroom Disinfectant

In addition to destroying COVID, this product also keeps your bathroom squeaky clean. Zep claims this formula works on all the surfaces in your bathroom while deodorizing your space.

4. Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner

Though not a Zep product, Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner is another recent addition to the EPA’s List N. According to a Sept. 8 statement, the cleaner can successfully kill COVID in 10 minutes. The company urges users to closely follow directions on the product to ensure it works properly.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/the-epa-now-says-these-three-products-kill-covid-in-a-minute/ss-BB19L2eb?ocid=msedgntp#image=5

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Each year in the United States, more than 200,000 women get breast cancer and more than 40,000 women die from the disease. Cancer is a disease in which cells grow out of control. When cancer starts in the breast, it is called breast cancer. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women.

Because of personal and family medical history, some women are at higher risk for breast cancer. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force is an organization made up of doctors and disease experts who look at research on the best way to prevent diseases and make recommendations on how doctors can help patients avoid diseases or find them early

The USPSTF recommends that women who are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years while women aged 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram.

How can I help?

The American Cancer Society has recognized October as breast cancer awareness month and hold events nationwide to walk in support of breast cancer awareness. Walk participants raise critical funds that enable the American Cancer Society to fund innovative research; provide free information and support to anyone touched by breast cancer; and help people reduce their breast cancer risk or find it early when it’s most treatable. For more information about how you can participate in fighting the war on breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society website.

Source: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/october-is-breast-cancer-_b_12639712#:~:text=October%20is%20Breast%20Cancer%20Awareness%20Month%3A%20Know%20the,start%20and%20how%20often%20to%20get%20a%20mammogram.

Don’t Let Your Home Make Your Fall Allergies Worse

By Claire Gillespie for Family Handyman

Just because you’re waving goodbye to summer doesn’t mean hay fever goes with it. Here’s how to allergy-proof every room in your house in time for fall.

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Keep Fall Allergens Out of Your Home

Your garden may have lost the full bloom of summer, but don’t think you’re safe from common allergy triggers. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, some allergy sufferers find fall the hardest season due to two major sources: ragweed pollen and mold. Ragweed can continue into September and October and can be carried hundreds of miles by the wind. A single ragweed plant can produce up to one billion grains of pollen per season! You may think of mold growing in the dampest areas of your house (your basement and bathroom), but mold spores also thrive in wet spots outdoors, like piles of damp fall leaves. To keep your allergy and asthma flare-ups to a minimum, make sure you allergy-proof every room in your house.

Front Hall

Your hall may be one of the smallest spaces in your home, but it’s where pollen finds its way indoors. Get into the habit of taking off your shoes and outerwear before entering the house, and have both indoor and outdoor mats to wipe your feet. Additionally, Tania Elliott, MD, chief medical officer of EHE, recommends having an air filter (or air purifier) in this area to reduce the pollen count in the air. The type of floor in your hallway is also key: As a rule, carpeting is the worst choice for seasonal allergies because the deep pile will trap allergens from dust mites, mold, pollen, pet dander, grass, dirt—and pretty much anything else you have on the soles of your shoes. The best choices are cork or bamboo flooring, as these are resistant to mold and mildew, provide no place for dust mites and other allergens to hide, and are also eco-friendly.

Living Room

Your living room should be a place to relax and spend quality time with your family, not worry about fall allergies. Unfortunately, the more comfortable your living room is, the more likely it is to be a haven for dust mites. The mites get into upholstery, cushions, curtains, and drapes, laying eggs and leaving droppings and sheddings wherever they set up home. To make cleaning easier, Dr. Elliot recommends removing curtains, drapes, and carpets if possible, since mold can grow on these areas. If not, vacuum with a HEPA vacuum at least once a week. She also suggests choosing leather furniture over upholstered to prevent dust mites, which cannot survive in leather. “Avoid decorative pillows, too, which could be a breeding place for dust mites,” she adds. (Here are some surprising ways to cut down on indoor air pollution.)

Kitchen

Cleanliness is key when it comes to keeping your kitchen allergen-free. If cockroaches get into your kitchen, their droppings and sheddings can trigger an asthma attack. Never leave food or garbage uncovered (use a covered or sealed trash can) and wipe the stovetop and countertops right after cooking and any spillages to remove the food particles that roaches are drawn to. Another possible allergy trigger in the kitchen is mold, as there are so many damp places for it to thrive: under the sink, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Always turn the kitchen fan on when cooking to stop steam and moisture from condensing on surfaces, clean your kitchen floor and floor mats weekly, and keep an eye out for mold. If you do spot mold, remove it immediately, and use a mold/mildew spray on the affected area.

Bedroom

Dust mites, mold, and pet dander often set up home in pillows, blankets, and mattresses, so it’s important to take care of your bedding and replace it when necessary. Mold in particular is frequently found in mattresses and pillows, and releases spores that can trigger asthma symptoms. For this reason, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends replacing pillows every two years and investing in mattress and pillow protectors. Dr. Elliot recommends washing your sheets once a week at 130 degrees to kill dust mites and their eggs, and using bleach when washing to kill mold. If you have pets, never, ever let them onto your bed, as they can transfer mold, dander, and pollen from outdoors.

Kids’ Room

Your kids’ room is a breeding ground for allergens—dust mites, mold, and pet dander accumulate on toys! If you have children with allergies who are attached to stuffed animals, Dr. Elliot suggests putting them in a ziplock bag and sticking them in the freezer overnight once a week to kill off dust mites. Also, make sure to keep kids’ toys away from pets. Try storing children’s toys, games, and stuffed animals in plastic bins, and have regular decluttering sessions to get rid of the stuff your kids no longer play with.

Bathroom

Your warm, damp bathroom is a breeding ground for mold. Start your allergy-proofing with good ventilation. “The goal is to avoid mold growth, which thrives if there are poor seals, leaks, or high humidity,” says Dr. Elliot. Decide if your bathroom needs a fall makeover: Instead of carpeting and wallpaper—definite no-nos for allergy control—use tile, vinyl, wood, or linoleum flooring, and install tile or paint walls with mold-resistant enamel paint instead. To stop mold from forming, keep as much moisture out of the bathroom as possible. Towel-dry the tub after each use, and use bleach when cleaning the tub, shower, plumbing fixtures, and faucets. Get rid of moldy shower curtains and bathmats immediately, and always attend to leaks.

Basement

You might not spend as much time in the basement as you do in other rooms of your house, but it shouldn’t be neglected when it comes to allergy-proofing for fall. It’s actually one of the spaces you’re most likely to find a number of potential triggers, such as roaches and rodents who find their way from outdoors (along with their droppings and sheddings), and mold thrives in the dark and damp and releasing allergy-triggering spores. To get rid of allergens from your basement, Dr. Elliot recommends finding and fixing all leaks, seams, and cracks in the foundation (to keep moisture out), fixing leaks and drips in pipes and in and around the water heater and central HVAC system, and carrying out a thorough inspection and removal of mold. If you store items in your basement, do so in plastic storage bins.

Every Room

And then there are the allergy-proofing tips that apply to every room in your house: Keep the temperature between 68 degrees F (20 C) and 72 degrees F (22 C), and don’t let the relative humidity rise above 50 percent. Use a de-humidifier to keep mites and mold at bay.

The quality of indoor air is also crucial; tiny, light allergens can easily move anywhere around your house. The answer is HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters throughout your entire house central air system, or in-room air-cleaning devices. If you have pests in any room in your house, use traps from the hardware store or hire a professional exterminator, then seal cracks and other possible entryways to prevent re-infestation.

Finally, think about your lifestyle habits. Countless research, including one 2018 study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Science, has shown a clear link between secondhand smoke and asthma in children. If you’ve recently quit smoking, here’s how to get rid of smoke smell in your car.

Source: https://www.familyhandyman.com/list/dont-let-your-home-make-your-fall-allergies-worse/

Best Healthy Carbs You Should Have for Breakfast

By Eat This, Not That! Editors

Coffee sure does perk you up in the morning. But if you’re pairing it with sugary cereal, bagels, or donuts, you’re likely going to be feeling sluggish for the rest of the day. These empty carbs may be tasty on the tongue, but they aren’t going to do anything for your body’s satiety. Instead, filling your morning meal with healthy complex carbs for breakfast will leave you feeling energized! It’s all about picking carbs that are full of good nutrients for your body—like fiber.

Here are a few of the best healthy carbs for breakfast:

Slide 2 of 11: All hail the mighty oat! Oats have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving and your fiber-packed bowl will slow down the metabolism of the sugar from these carbs. No wonder they are The One Breakfast Food To Eat for a Longer Life!"Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbs that fuel the body and fiber to decrease the risk of heart disease," says nutrition and fitness expert Jim White. He suggests pairing oatmeal with blueberries, walnuts, and milk for a filling, nutrient-rich morning meal. Or try one of our overnight oat recipes!

1. Oats

All hail the mighty oat! Oats have 10 grams of protein per half-cup serving and your fiber-packed bowl will slow down the metabolism of the sugar from these carbs. No wonder they are The One Breakfast Food To Eat for a Longer Life!

“Oatmeal is a great source of complex carbs that fuel the body and fiber to decrease the risk of heart disease,” says nutrition and fitness expert Jim White. He suggests pairing oatmeal with blueberries, walnuts, and milk for a filling, nutrient-rich morning meal. Or try one of our overnight oat recipes!

Slide 3 of 11: We're not usually into recommending cereal since most boxes are belly bombs and blood-sugar-spiking nightmares. But this healthy cereal is made with just whole-grain wheat and wheat bran—two of our favorite complex carbs. In addition to serving up a decent share of hunger-quelling protein and fiber in every bowl, a bowl of Wheat Bran also provides 20 percent of the day's phosphorus, a mineral that plays an important role in how the body uses carbs and fats. So grab the shredded wheat, and steer clear of these toxic cereals on grocery shelves.

 © Shutterstock

2. Shredded Wheat

We’re not usually into recommending cereal since most boxes are belly bombs and blood-sugar-spiking nightmares. But this healthy cereal is made with just whole-grain wheat and wheat bran—two of our favorite complex carbs. In addition to serving up a decent share of hunger-quelling protein and fiber in every bowl, a bowl of Wheat Bran also provides 20 percent of the day’s phosphorus, a mineral that plays an important role in how the body uses carbs and fats. 

3. Chocolate Milk

If you want to lose the gut, you’ve got to exercise—no surprise there. One of the best way to lose your gut is to exercise, and it’s important to fuel your muscles before and after. Did you know drinking chocolate milk can improve your gains?

In a study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, subjects given chocolate milk before hopping on the stationary bikes were able to ride 49 percent longer than subjects given a generic carbohydrate-replacement beverage. And on top of that, they pedaled even harder. Total work performed by the chocolate-milk group was greater than the work performed by subjects drinking carbohydrate-replacement drinks or electrolyte-fortified sports drinks. The reason? Milk has naturally occurring electrolytes that keep you hydrated—more hydrated than water, in fact—and its natural sweetness helps push more energy into your muscles. Drink up!

4. Mango

Can you believe that mango has more carbs than a bowl of pasta? We know, it’s kinda crazy! But there are 50 grams per mango (!) and just a half fruit packs an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that wards off fat-storing cortisol spikes. If mangos typically make an appearance in your daily smoothie, add a scoop of protein powder and a handful of raw oats to increase your drink’s protein and fiber content, which slows the digestion of the fruit’s sugars.

5. Sprouted Bread

It’s official: You can stop fearing bread! Ezekiel bread is a nutrient-dense bread is loaded with sprouted lentils, protein, and good-for-you grains that keep you going. Top it with avocado, peanut butter, or a tiny bit of honey for a healthy and craving-crushing breakfast.

6. Quinoa

Whether you use it as the base for your banana quinoa muffins (yum!) or throw it into your omelets, this ancient grain is a solid start to your day. Quinoa is higher in protein than any other grain, and it packs a hefty dose of heart-healthy, unsaturated fats.

7. Apples

Yes, apples are carbs, but they are also one of the very best sources of fiber—which means you should eat them at every opportunity. A study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, belly fat was reduced by 3.7 percent over five years. And a study at the University of Western Australia found that the Pink Lady variety had the highest level of antioxidant flavonoids (a fat-burning compound) of all the apples.

8. Greek Yogurt

Packed with protein, crammed with calcium, and popping with probiotics, Greek yogurt has all the makings of the best weight loss foods. But here’s an easy tip to remember: Some of the carbs come from a yogurt’s naturally-occurring sugar, but they can also come from if there are added sugars. The Greek yogurt you choose really shouldn’t have more than 5 to 11 grams of carbs per serving; if you’re in the 20-ish range, your yogurt is most likely not the best for your body because of all that sugar.

9. Blueberries

A cup of blueberries has 21 grams of carbs, but they couldn’t be better for you. These little blue bullets are loaded with polyphenols—chemical compounds that prevent fat from forming—and they actively burn belly fat. It’s theorized that the catechins in blueberries activate the fat-burning gene in belly-fat cells. In one study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, blueberries were found to decrease lipids by 73 percent! 

10. Bananas

Last but certainly not least, the beloved banana is indeed a carby fruit. But these are complex carbs and bananas do a ton of great things for you, like instantly debloating a puffy tummy. Not only does the fruit increase bloat-fighting bacteria in the stomach, it’s also a good source of potassium, which can help diminish water retention. Bananas are rich in glucose, a highly digestible sugar, which provides quick energy, and their high potassium content helps prevent muscle cramping during your workout.

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/10-best-healthy-carbs-you-should-have-for-breakfast/ss-BB19xW9U?ocid=msedgdhp#image=11