Beat Migraines with Pie
Feel a headache coming on? Have a piece of apple pie or munch on an organic ‘Granny Smith’ apple. In one study from the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, when subjects in the midst of a migraine attack sniffed test tubes containing a green apple smell, the pain improved more than when they sniffed tubes that had no scent. Researchers say it could be a matter of distraction, or it could be that the smell of green apple actually reduces muscle contractions in the head and neck, reducing headache pain. Earlier studies found that the smell of green apples helps reduce anxiety.
Add Cinnamon, Girl
Sprinkle cinnamon into your coffee grounds before you press “brew.” This antioxidant-rich spice, studies show, may reduce blood pressure and lower stress. Come to think of it, so would listening to Neil Young.
Dry-Brush Your Teeth
Before squeezing toothpaste onto your brush, take 30 seconds to brush your teeth with a dry toothbrush. Doing so cuts tartar by 60 percent and also reduces the risk of bleeding gums by half. Use a dry soft-bristle brush to scrub the insides of your top and bottom teeth, then buff the outer surfaces. Rinse, then brush normally with toothpaste.
Apply a Darker Condiment
Make that burger better for you with a shot of organic ketchup. USDA researchers recently compared lycopene levels in 13 commercial varieties of ketchup and found that organic brands pack as much as three times the amount of the cancer-fighting phytochemical in ordinary brands. Study coauthor Betty Ishida, Ph.D., speculates that the organics top the list because they're made with riper tomatoes. "The darker red a ketchup is, the greater the lycopene content," says Ishida. Another good hue cue is green-and-white; that's the color of the USDA's certified-organic label.
Exercise Your Ears
Music can be either a sledgehammer or a tuning fork. If you want to be able to hear your great-granddaughter when you’re 97, fine-tune your ears with music. First, turn down the volume to a sane level (you should be able to listen to the music and still carry on a normal conversation), then practice singling out a single instrument and listening to it. This exercise will help you develop the ability to perceive more details in everyday sounds, says Gail Whitelaw, Ph.D., past president of the American Academy of Audiology.
Surround Yourself with Ferns, Man
Beat winter itch by keeping houseplants, preferably ferns, in the driest rooms in your home or office. When plants transpire, they add moisture to the air, keeping skin hydrated.
Suck on a Mint
Smelling peppermint can boost exercise performance. Researchers say that the scent of mint alters your perception of how hard you’re exercising, which can make workouts seem less strenuous so you don't mind exercising longer.
60-Second Health Check: Your Pee
Most Americans walk around dehydrated, which affects your energy level, fitness, and good digestion. “You should drink enough water that your urine looks like pale lemonade,” says registered dietitian and nutrition consultant to the Cincinnati Bengals, Chris Mohr, Ph.D.
Nail Germs Where They Hide
The number-one place that germs live on your body is under your fingernails. Regular hand washing won’t do the job, especially if you’re sporting talons. So get in the habit of digging your claws into the bar of soap every time you wash your hands.
Stand in the Corner
Hey, Quasimodo! Step away from that computer keyboard and straighten up. For a rejuvenating office stretch, stand facing the corner of a room. Raise your hands to shoulder height and place your elbows, forearms, and hands against each wall. Lean inward and hold the stretch to flex your chest and back muscles. Hold for 15 seconds.
Decorate Your Plate
A 14-year study found that men whose diets were highest in fruits and vegetables had a 70 percent lower risk of digestive-tract cancers. How to reach your quota: Never eat a meal that doesn't contain a vegetable or fruit. And no, fries don't count. Need ideas? See 22 Easy Ways to Eat Fruits and Veggies Every Single Day.