People who drink black coffee might be at a lower risk of developing diseases, such as Parkinson’s, heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, according to various studies, CNN reported.
Research also suggests that if you like black coffee, then you’ll also probably like bitter dark chocolate, CNN reported.
“We know there’s growing evidence suggesting there’s a beneficial impact of coffee consumption on health. But reading between the lines, anyone advising someone to consume coffee would typically advise them to consume black coffee due to the difference between consuming black coffee and coffee with milk and sugar,” caffeine researcher Marilyn Cornelis, an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine told CNN.
The health benefits of coffee are more prominent if one decides to forego milk, sugar and creamer, she said.
“One is naturally calorie free,” Cornelis said. “The second can add possibly hundreds of calories to your coffee, and the health benefits could be quite different.”
According to her research, people with this genetic predisposition might like to drink multiple cups of coffee per day because they metabolize caffeine faster, CNN reported.
“The stimulating effects wear off faster, and they need to drink more coffee,” Cornelis said. “This could explain why some individuals seem to be fine consuming a lot more coffee relative to someone else who might get jitters or become very anxious.”
Cornelis believes the proclivity for black coffee has less to do with taste and more to do with the caffeine boost associated with the drink. “Our interpretation is these people equate caffeine’s natural bitterness with a psycho-stimulation effect,” she said. “They learn to associate bitterness with caffeine and the boost they feel. We are seeing a learned effect.”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation. Writer Kendall Tietz.
Your garbage disposal is a major time and and energy saver in the kitchen, since it makes your cleanup after meal prepping a whole lot easier. Though there are certain things you should never put down your garbage disposal (like meat or spaghetti), your garbage disposal can help clean up those lingering pieces of food from your dirty plates in the sink.
But every once in a while, an errant piece of food or debris can get caught in your garbage disposal and smell up your kitchen (which is … not ideal). So it’s important to clean your garbage disposal regularly to keep it maintained, free of unwanted odors and working as it should. Here’s how to clean a garbage disposal, plus how often you should be cleaning it for ideal maintenance.
Why Do You Need to Clean a Garbage Disposal, Exactly?
Garbage disposals can get dirty when those bits and pieces of the waste they take in get stuck. Jake Romano, a cleaning expert at Ottawa Drain Cleaners, says, “If your garbage disposal is dirty, there’s a good chance that the dirtiness is from food particles. These food particles are going to decay and rot and become a breeding ground for bacteria.”
And not only does that bacteria give off a bad odor, but it can also put your health at risk, especially over time if not cleaning your garbage disposal becomes a habit. “This bacteria can contaminate surfaces and become a hazard for healthy breathing and living conditions,” Romano says. So it’s worth regularly cleaning your garbage disposal to avoid risk of bacteria buildup.
Giving a garbage disposal a deep clean can also help you target those hard-to-reach spaces. Romano adds, “Cleaning your garbage disposal helps remove a lot of the particles building up in the nooks and crannies of the garbage disposal and drain. Not only does this destroy potential breeding grounds for bacteria and germs, but it also helps reduce the chances of clogged kitchen sink drains.”
Mark it on your calendar like any other appointment! Here’s a good guide for how to deep clean a garbage disposal.
How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
Baking Soda and Vinegar Method
First off, turn off your garbage disposal. Then clean the splash guard with a sponge and some dish soap, and get rid of any food particles that are present. Once finished, create a cleaning solution with baking soda and vinegar for your garbage disposal.
Romano says, “I’d recommend pouring 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar, allowing it to fizzle for around 15 to 30 minutes, then flushing it down with hot water.”
You can follow this process with some hot water to fully flush things out. “I’d recommend heating a kettle, but not boiling it, and dumping it all at once, followed by turning the hot water tap on for a minute,” Romano says. This will help wash away food particles and grease, so your garbage disposal is sparkling clean.
Ice and Vinegar Method
You can also use ice and vinegar to clean your garbage disposal. Alicia Sokolowski, cleaning expert and president and co-CEO of AspenClean, says, “Fill the disposal with ice cubes and pour in 1 cup of rock salt or vinegar, then flush the disposal with hot water.” You can also use this method as a follow-up to the vinegar and baking soda technique for a further boost.
Oxygen Bleach Method
The third option is to use oxygen bleach to clean and deodorize the garbage disposal. “Pour a solution of 1/3 cup of oxygen bleach mixed with 2/3 cup of hot water into the disposal, then flush with hot water for several seconds,” says Sokolowski.
How Often to Clean a Garbage Disposal
You should clean your garbage disposal once a week, or at least once every two weeks. “Make it part of your biweekly cleaning routine, at the very least,” says Sokolowski. “And always run cold water when using the garbage disposal because cold water solidifies food and makes it easier to grind,” she adds. You should also pour a pot of boiling water through the empty disposal once a month to remove any leftover debris and give it a real deep cleaning.
How to Make Your Garbage Disposal Smell Even Fresher
A quick and easy way to deodorize your garbage disposal is to add a little lemon juice for a fresh, fruity scent. Sokolowski says she likes to freeze some lemon juice in ice cube trays to give the garbage disposal an extra cleaning boost. She says, “Once the ice cubes are completely frozen, you can simply put a handful of ice cubes into your kitchen drain and turn on the garbage disposal, as it will sharpen the blades of your disposal and leave your drain smelling great—the natural way.”
Even before COVID-19 made us hyper-aware of our microscopic surroundings, it was no secret that getting on an airplane meant coming up close and personal with some seriously germy conditions. What many may not realize is that you’re still facing an onslaught of microbes as you check in and prepare to board your flight. And according to recent research, there are some places in airports that are consistently the germiest when tested for viruses and bacteria. Read on to see which surfaces you may want to avoid touching before taking off.
1 Shop payment terminals
Picking up a last-minute bottle of water, magazine, or snack can be vital before jetting off. Unfortunately, the same shops that provide travel essentials and meals are also some of the places where you’re most likely to find germs—especially on credit card payment terminals that require customers to touch buttons or screens. Results of a study from University of Nottingham found that half of all surface tests taken from payment kiosks were positive for at least one respiratory virus.
2 Security checkpoint trays
The security checkpoint is already arguably one of the most unenjoyable parts of the airport experience. After all, no one likes having to take off their shoes or rearrange their luggage after a bag gets called over for closer inspection. But according to the University of Nottingham study, the same trays that carry your phone, wallet, and jacket as they’re being scanned were also found to be one of the consistently germiest surfaces in airports.
“We found the highest frequency of respiratory viruses on plastic trays used in security check areas for depositing hand-carried luggage and personal items,” the study’s authors wrote, noting that viruses tend to survive longer on non-porous plastic surfaces. “Security trays are highly likely to be handled by all embarking passengers at airports; nevertheless, the risk of this procedure could be reduced by offering hand sanitization with alcohol handrub before and after security screening, and increasing the frequency of tray disinfection. To our knowledge, security trays are not routinely disinfected. Although this would not eliminate all viruses on hands, (e.g., alcohol gels have been found to be less effective than hand-washing for rhinovirus), it is effective for many viruses, including influenza.”
3 Water fountain buttons
Frequent flyers know that it’s essential to stay hydrated while flying. But the next time you go to get a sip from a water fountain in the terminal, you may want to think about washing your hands soon after, too. In a study commissioned by InsuranceQuotes.com, 18 surface tests were conducted across six surfaces from three major U.S. airports during the busy holiday travel season. Results showed that the buttons on water fountains were among the dirtiest places in airports, finding they had an average of 19,181 viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch, or colony-forming units (CFU). Just how dirty is that? By comparison, most household toilet seats have an average of 172 CFU.
4 Airline gate bench armrests
It can feel lucky to score an open seat near your gate while waiting for your flight to board. But according to the InsuranceQuotes.com study, the seat you take before you get on the plane can be filthy. Results of their tests found an average of 21,630 CFU on chair armrests in boarding areas at gates.
5 Self check-in kiosks
We can thank the addition of self-check-in kiosks for making it easier to get through the airport much faster. But even if you’re just looking to print out a copy of your ticket due to a malfunctioning phone or make a last-minute seat change, you might also be unwittingly putting yourself in direct contact with one of the dirtiest surfaces in the entire airport. According to the InsuranceQuotes.com study, self-check-in kiosks contain an average of 253,857 CFU, with researchers noting that one kiosk that was tested had more than 1 million CFU. Fortunately, you can avoid touching the germy machines by downloading airline apps to check in from your phone and download your boarding pass.
If we were to draw one key lesson about longevity from the centenarians of the Blue Zones regions—aka places that are home to the longest-living folks on Earth—it’s that it doesn’t come from fad diets, or overwrought workout routines, or really any practice that’s bound to fizzle within months. Rather, these long-living people “live in environments that nudge them unconsciously toward healthier behaviors, like moving more and eating plants,” says longevity expert Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Challenge: A 4-Week Plan for a Longer, Better Life. And those environments start within the spaces of their homes, which include elements of design and organization that facilitate healthy habits.
Here are 9 home-design tips for increasing your lifespan, according to longevity experts
1. Put your TV in a room that’s far from your kitchen
We’re not going to say you can’t ever dive into a bowl of popcorn or even eat a full meal while propped on the couch—but studies have found that people tend to eat past the point of fullness when they’re also watching a show. If you have to walk several steps (or even down the stairs) to get to your kitchen from wherever you typically post up for TV time, you’re not only less likely to snack mindlessly, but also, if you do get up to grab a snack, you’re doing a little bit of walking, too. “It’s that type of regular, built-in physical activity that’s easy to maintain,” says Buettner. “And over time, it can have a more consistent effect than a gym membership, which we’ve found most people use fewer than twice a week.”
2. Keep a shoe rack by the door
According to Buettner, this is a one-two punch for longevity. With a rack by the door, you’ll be more likely to take off your shoes right when you get home, a common habit among people in Okinawa, Japan (one of the Blue Zones regions). “We’ve found that 28 percent of shoes carry fecal bacteria,” says Buettner, “and you don’t want to drag that into your home because you can get sick from it.” And separately, a rack also encourages you to keep comfortable walking or running shoes near the door, which will make you all the more likely to put them to good, active use.
3. Eat with family members or roommates as often as you can
Sharing a meal with others is an easy way to become more intentional about eating—which can, in turn, lead you to eat more slowly, allowing adequate time for the fullness signal to reach the brain. Not to mention, socializing is one of the core tenants of the Blue Zones regions, says Buettner. “And one of the best ways to build bonds with family or friends is to sit around the dinner table,” he says. Doing so also creates natural punctuation between the go-go-go of the workday and the personal time of the evening, which can help you maintain work-life boundaries.
4. Grow a vegetable or herb garden
If you have any kind of outdoor space, use it to grow edible things, whether in the ground or in containers on a porch or terrace. “Gardening is something we see in every one of the Blue Zones, with people well into their nineties continuing to tend to plants and vegetables,” says Buettner. This has the triple-whammy effect of encouraging you to spend more time in fresh air, be active (weeding and watering require bending down and standing back up, after all), and eat more freshly grown foods.
And if you don’t have access to outdoor space? Set up an indoor herb garden. This way, you’ll at least be more likely to consume fresh herbs, of which Buettner recommends growing rosemary and oregano, in particular. “These are often found in the Blue Zones, and they’re not only high in antioxidants but act as mild diuretics, which could help reduce blood pressure,” he says.
5. Bring elements of the outdoors into your home
To mimic the beauty of nature, Frederick suggests decorating your home with houseplants, which can naturally reduce stress. “If you can’t do that, even having pictures of natural landscapes or incorporating natural earthy and green colors into your home can help foster a positive and creativity-boosting environment,” he says, referencing the biophilic design that’s characteristic of longevity hot spot Singapore. That concept also extends to filling your home with natural light during the day by opening blinds and windows, if the weather’s nice enough to do so.
6. Design spaces with low furniture and rugs
It’s estimated that a quarter of Americans older than 65 fall each year, and it’s one of the leading causes of hospitalization, says Frederick. But no matter your age, incorporating low couches and chairs throughout your home is one simple way to steer clear of a fall that could compromise your longevity.
In Okinawa, they take it one step further and sit on the floor, says Buettner: “That means you have a 100-year-old woman getting up and down from the floor 20 or 30 times a day, which is essentially a squat. They end up having better balance, more flexibility, and great lower-body strength.” You can certainly copy that in your own home by sitting on the floor, though Buettner says low furniture works well for this purpose, too.
7. Safeguard bathrooms against slips and trips
Because of their slippery-ness, bathrooms rank high on the list of spots that people tend to fall. To prevent that, Frederick suggests laying slip-resistant mats on the floor (or installing slip-proof tiles, if you’re able to renovate), adding grab bars to the walls in the shower, and even placing a little bench in the shower. And if you’re in the market for a new place, consider choosing one with a shower instead of a tub, if you have the option, so that you don’t need to climb over the ledge to get into it, adds Frederick.
8. Calm-ify your bedroom
Creating a space that’s as conducive to sleep as possible is an easy way to get more, well, sleep—which offers a host of longevity-boosting benefits, like boosting cardiovascular health and improving cognition. In that vein, Frederick suggests installing blackout curtains on any bedroom window that gets a lot of light and setting up a white-noise machine that can fill your space with a calming and sleep-inducing sound, while also helping block out noise from outside. Regularly dusting and vacuuming your bedroom and making your bed can also help create the kind of tranquil, sanctuary-like space that’ll help you regularly clock more zzz’s.
9. Make your home welcoming to guests
In the same way that eating with family members can strengthen longevity-boosting bonds, socializing more with neighbors and friends can foster the kind of relationships that may also extend your lifespan. While you might already have a dining-room or kitchen table, Frederick suggests creating other little nooks for gathering with tables and chairs throughout your space, or perhaps right outside your front door.
“There’s certainly research to suggest that having close friends supports longevity, but we also know that loose ties, like you might have with neighbors or people in your community, can also boost your overall health and well-being,” says Frederick. And the more opportunities you have for engaging with those folks in and around your home, design-wise, the more likely you are to do it.
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE said that a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralized the Omicron variant in lab tests but that the two-dose regimen was significantly less effective at blocking the virus.
A third dose increased antibodies 25-fold compared with two doses in the Omicron variant, the companies said. Still, two doses may prove effective in preventing severe illness from Covid-19, they said, because immune cells are able to recognize 80% of parts of the spike protein that the vaccine targets.
The results were issued in a press release by the companies, and weren’t peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal.
The findings from the companies’ early study, and one by scientists in South Africa, suggest that three doses will be needed to produce a similar immune response against Omicron as was provided by just two doses in earlier strains of the virus.
It also bolsters the case for repeated and periodic boosters to maintain people’s immune defenses against an evolving Covid-19, the companies said.
“This is very positive news that should make everyone even more motivated to get vaccinated” and get a booster, said Pfizer Chief Scientific Officer Mikael Dolsten.
The companies’ current vaccine will provide a strong defense against Omicron, especially if people get a booster shot, Dr. Dolsten said. The three-dose regimen, he added, could provide stopgap protection against Omicron through the winter and until a new vaccine targeted directly at the variant would be ready if needed.
Pfizer and BioNTech are working on an Omicron-specific vaccine that they hope to have available by March 2022 if the variant becomes widespread by then. Researchers started working on the new vaccine on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, shortly after Omicron was identified.
The vaccine trains the immune system to fight the virus by generating immune-system soldiers known as antibodies, which attach to the virus and prevent it from replicating in healthy cells. The vaccine also produces other immune-system fighters called T cells that can kick in after infection to help target and clear the virus, preventing more serious disease.
Pfizer and BioNTech said that the parts of the virus targeted by vaccine-induced T cells are mostly unaffected by Omicron.
Dr. Dolsten estimated there is a greater than 50% chance that Omicron becomes the dominant strain spreading in the U.S. by the spring, though it is too soon to know with certainty, he said.
Article by Joseph Walker for The Wall Street Journal
With holiday travel in full swing, you’ve likely already noticed that those security check-in lines at the airport are much longer than usual. From getting to the airport at least two hours before your flight leaves to double-checking that you have all your essentials in your carry-on bag, it’s always smart to make sure you’re fully prepared for your trip. But being ready for your flight goes far beyond how well you manage your time and packing. According to flight attendants and travel experts, how you dress for your flight matters, too, and it can have an impact on how comfortable and safe your time in the air is. As it turns out, there’s one particular piece of clothing that would be better off left in your suitcase. Read on to learn the one thing you should never wear on a plane because of a serious health risk.
Never wear skinny jeans on a plane.
Whether you’re right next to the window or stuck in the middle of two strangers, sitting on a plane usually means you’re in a fairly compact space. With limited legroom and other people surrounding you, there’s not much of an opportunity to stretch out, unless you leave your seat. That’s why what you wear on a flight can make a difference to how cramped you feel. Specifically, there are certain pants that you shouldn’t wear when flying to your next destination.
“It’s best to avoid wearing skinny jeans on a lengthy flight,” says Molly Fergus, general manager of the travel site TripSavvy. “They limit movement and are likely more annoying to deal with in cramped, dirty airplane bathrooms.”
Some passengers experience bloating in their stomach during flights.
Air travel can affect your body in different ways. During flights, some passengers experience discomfort and bloating, known as “jet belly,” due to the increase in air pressure. In a 2016 interview with Condé Nast Traveler, Peter Hackett, MD, director of the Institute for Altitude Medicine in Telluride, Colorado, explained that “gas in the intestines will expand about 30 percent with a cabin altitude of 7,000 feet.”
And while not everyone feels this discomfort on a plane, tight clothing can exacerbate the problem. “Bloating is a major issue, even for flight attendants, so wear something comfortable around your waist like elastic,” Andrea Fischbach, American Airlines flight attendant, told Who What Wear in October.
Skinny jeans on a plane can also put your health at risk.
Experts say that wearing tight pants on a plane can put your health in jeopardy. In fact, skinny jeans can increase your risk of developing a blood clot, generally in your legs, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Symptoms of this medical condition include swelling, pain, or discoloration of the leg, along with your leg feeling warm, per the Mayo Clinic.
“DVT is a rare but serious condition that is more likely to occur when you’re sitting in one position for long periods of time—like on a long-haul flight,” Fergus explains. “Constricting, tight clothing can also increase the likelihood of developing a blood clot, so it’s not a good idea to mix the two.”
In order to prevent any potential health complications, be sure to give yourself as much room as you can while in your seat. “It’s very important to be able to move around a bit in your seat—very difficult, I know—and keep your blood flowing,” Fischbach told Who What Wear. “If you are tall, travel a lot, or are on a long flight, this is extremely important because you face the risk of developing DVT.”
There are other clothes that you shouldn’t wear on a plane.
Skinny jeans aren’t the only items you should avoid wearing on a plane. In a TikTok video posted in July, flight attendant Tommy Cimato explained a few things you shouldn’t do on a plane, including wearing shorts. He pointed out that you never know what touched your seat or how many people wiped their hands on it. So, for sanitary reasons alone, be sure to keep your legs covered.
On top of a healthy diet, taking daily supplements can be an easy way to ensure your body gets enough of the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly. It’s also reasonably common: According to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 57.6 percent of U.S. adults had used one of the pills at any point in the past 30 days. But just like over-the-counter medicine, it’s crucial to follow instructions whenever you’re taking them to make sure you’re not overdoing it. Research has shown that taking too much of one supplement in particular could increase the risk of one type of cancer.
Taking too much selenium and vitamin E raises your risk of cancer considerably.
According to research, it turns out there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to taking a selenium and vitamin E supplement. In one study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in March 2014, researchers analyzed data from the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT). In total, the team used data from toenail samples collected from 31,117 men to explore whether baseline selenium levels in the body could affect prostate cancer risk.
Results found no correlation between existing levels of selenium or vitamin E in the body and prostate cancer risk. However, the researchers did make a connection between men with high levels of selenium in their systems who took a selenium supplement—whether alone or in combination with vitamin E—finding that such patients were twice as likely to develop high-grade prostate cancer than patients who were taking a placebo, Nature reports.
Taking a vitamin E supplement alone also raised the risk of cancer in some patients.
But there wasn’t just a connection formed between taking a selenium supplement and the risk of prostate cancer. Results also found that just patients who had low baseline selenium levels in their systems and took vitamin E supplements alone were 111 percent more likely to develop high-grade prostate cancer than patients taking a placebo during the study.
Researchers also found that men who started with high selenium levels were no more likely to develop prostate cancer than men who began with low levels. The team says this establishes that added selenium in supplement form and not from food was the reason for the increased cancer risk.
With holiday travel back in full swing, you’ve probably noticed that your flights home are just as packed as they’ve ever been, if not more so. But whether your trip is a mere two hours or a whopping 14, you should try to make your flight as comfortable as possible. Flight attendants will do their best to aid you in that pursuit: From a can of soda to a pair of headphones, they offer everything that they can to make sure that passengers have a smooth ride. At the same time, there are some in-flight amenities that you shouldn’t take advantage of. According to flight attendants, if you’re offered certain items on a plane, you’re better off turning them down. Read on to find out what you should just say no to.
Never use the blankets or pillows you’re given on a flight.
Once you board a plane, you may be in for quite a long flight, depending on your destination. To make yourself comfortable for the next however many hours, you might want to make use of some of the amenities being offered to you, including the complimentary pillows and blankets that are often left on your seat. However, you should think twice before getting cozy with these items. In a 2019 interview with Inside Edition, flight attendant Jamila Hardwick revealed that you should never use the blankets and pillows that are on a plane.
“Bring your own,” she said. “These [blankets] get washed, but we’re not sure how great they get washed, right. Same for the pillows.”
The blankets and pillows aren’t washed until the end of the day.
The pillows and blankets provided for you aren’t cleaned nearly as often as you’d think. Flight attendant Linda Ferguson told Business Insider in 2018 that these items are reused from flight to flight, without being properly washed until the day is over. So, if you’re on the very first flight of the day, you’re more likely to be supplied with freshly cleaned pillows and blankets. However, if you’re not, these items can essentially become an easy way for germs from another passenger to be passed onto you.
“I see people wrap their feet in the blankets, I see people sneeze in the blankets,” Ferguson said.
Pillows, like the neck ones, are sometimes changed in between flights, but only to a certain extent. Airlines “will take the lining off the pillow and give you a new one,” Hardwick added. “But you still have the pillow in there that’s dirty.”
There are many areas on a plane where you’re susceptible to germs.
Pillows and blankets aren’t the only unsanitary items on your flight. In July, flight attendant Tommy Cimato detailed the dirtiest spots on airplanes in a TikTok video. He explains that passengers should not fall asleep or lean their heads on the window because “you’re not the only one who has done that.” And you never know how many people have wiped their hands on your makeshift pillow.
Cimato also recommends that when going to the bathroom, you never touch the flush button or lever with your hands. Since you don’t know what germs could be there, use a napkin or tissue to flush instead.