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Sunday, 28 February 2021

11 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Fight Chronic Disease

 Inflammation is a buzzword attached to almost everything we eat these days, whether it’s about avoiding a food that causes it or eating a food that reduces it. Why? Inflammation has a reputation as the “bad guy” when it comes to your health.


In part, it's true: Chronic inflammation can lead to serious—and sometimes deadly—conditions down the road, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and dementia. Think of inflammation like a war going on within your body. Whenever your body takes in food or experiences some kind of ‘invasion,’ your immune system carries out an inflammatory response to tamp down that invasion.


Then, a second process called anti-inflammation begins, which is fueled by the nutrients and minerals that already exist in your body. This process is completely normal and ultimately brings your body back to its natural, equalized, pre-invasion state, says Zhaoping Li, M.D., director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.


Inflammation becomes a bad thing, however, when that second response—the anti-inflammatory one—doesn’t do its job of bringing your body back to center. “This very low-grade inflammation on a persistent basis is believed to be the platform for chronic diseases,” says Dr. Li.


Despite the stigma attached to the word itself, inflammation is still a natural process. “Inflammation’s good for fighting any invasions to the body,” says Dr. Li.


So, what can you do to avoid the chronic (a.k.a. "bad") form of inflammation? First, avoid overeating. “To deal with the excess is always an extra burden for the body,” says Dr. Li. Then, pack your diet with the following anti-inflammatory foods.


1

Leafy greens 

Rich in vitamin K and offering powerful anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects, greens such as kale, collards, bok choy, and broccoli should be mainstays of your diet, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Andrew Weil Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and a member of Prevention's Medical Advisory Board.


Fight inflammation: If you’re not already a big spinach eater, buy one bag from the grocery store with the goal to add it into all of your meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner, says Leah Groppo, M.S., R.D., a clinical dietician at Stanford Health Care.


2

Berries 

All varieties are healthful, but one study found that black raspberries reduced the incidence of certain cancers in animals by 50%, according to Dr. Weil.


"Berries have antioxidant compounds known as polyphenols, which help neutralize your body’s inflammatory response, adds Gerard Mullin, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Polyphenols are the body’s natural antioxidants,” he says.


Fight inflammation: “Blueberries can be enjoyed as a stand-alone fruit or mixed with yogurt or cottage or in a smoothie,” says Gans. “They also add the perfect amount of sweetness to a bowl of oatmeal with a drizzle of honey.”


3

Salmon 

When it comes to fatty fish and their anti-inflammatory response properties, it all comes down to omega-3 fatty acids. “Omega-3s are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that may help to decrease risk for heart disease, joint pain, and depression,” says Gans.


Fight inflammation: “Salmon can easily be enjoyed for lunch or dinner simply rubbed in olive oil, salt and pepper, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and then grilled or broiled,” says Gans. Try this honey-spiced salmon with quinoa if you’re in need of a super simple recipe. If you can't find salmon, black cod has even more inflammation-taming omega-3 fatty acids, says Dr. Weil.


4

Ginger 

Along with having potent anti-inflammatory action, ginger helps reduce intestinal gas and nausea, says Dr. Weil.


Fight inflammation: “Make a fresh ginger tea by cutting up ginger root and letting it soak in a cup of hot water,” says Keri Glassman M.S., R.D.N. and founder of Nutritious Life. Add lemon and honey if you'd like to enhance the flavor.


5

Avocado 

If you’re already spreading avocado on your toast every morning, you’re doing your body a favor. “Avocado is a good source of monounsaturated fats,” says Keri Gans, M.S., R.D., a New York-based nutrition consultant and author of The Small Change Diet. Avocados also contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants, says Gans. This includes vitamins C, A, and E, all of which have been associated with a strengthened immune system, as well as a decreased risk for certain cancers and heart disease.


Plus, says Dr. Li, who has done a study on how avocados affect inflammation, they can actually balance out some of the more inflammatory foods you might eat, like hot wings or hamburgers.


Fight inflammation: “Avocado is delicious served on 100% whole-grain bread with poached eggs and red pepper flakes,” says Gans. Into guac? Try this smoky guacamole recipe.


Halt chronic inflammation and heal more than 45 diseases with The Whole Body Cure from Prevention.


6

Almonds 

One of the keys to avoiding inflammation is avoiding foods that contain saturated fats. Instead, look for foods that are composed of monounsaturated fats, like almonds, which are also a good source of vitamin E and manganese.


“Monounsaturated fats specifically have been associated with a decrease in inflammation in the body,” says Gans. But another important thing to remember here is that the calories in nuts can add up more quickly than you might realize, so try to stick to a 1-oz. serving when you’re eating them, says Gans.


Fight inflammation: “Almonds make the perfect on-the-go snack or crunchy topping for a salad instead of croutons,” says Gans.


7

Black Beans 

Like berries, black beans also contain anti-inflammatory polyphenols, says Gans, but they even take it one step further by packing 8 grams of gut-filling fiber per 1/2 cup serving. “Fiber may help lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugars, and aid in digestion,” says Gans.


Fight inflammation: “Black beans can easily be tossed in salads, pasta sauces, or soups to increase their nutritional benefit,” says Gans. This spicy black bean soup is perfect for a cozy night in.


8

Pistachios 

One major marker of chronic inflammation is high blood sugar levels, says Dr. Li, but research shows that pistachios can actually help keep that in check. One 2015 study in particular observed the inflammatory effects of eating white bread alone versus eating white bread with pistachios. In spite of the actual calories, adding pistachio to the bread prevented glucose levels from spiking as much as they normally would, says Dr. Li.


Fight inflammation: Eat natural, raw, shelled pistachios as opposed to roasted, salted ones. One recent study found natural pistachios have double the concentration of antioxidants compared to roasted ones.


If you want to get creative, sprinkle 1 cup of watermelon with crushed pistachios and top with torn basil, suggests Lorraine Kearney, C.D.N., N.D.T.R., adjunct professor at the City University of New York.


9

Pomegranate 

In a study that Dr. Li and her team are currently working on, they’ve found that natural pomegranate juice—as opposed to water with the same amount of sugar in it—has much less of an impact on your blood glucose. “Even though there’s the same amount of sugar, your body responds differently,” says Dr. Li.But this doesn’t mean you should glug all the fruity drinks in sight. In fact, sugar—next to saturated fats—is one of the primary causes of chronic inflammation. “Particularly those two in combination, we’re more likely to have a higher degree of inflammation,” says Dr. Li. The key is to have anything naturally sugary in moderation, including pomegranate juice.


Fight inflammation: Pomegranate seeds are actually more nutritious and have a higher bioavailability of antioxidants, meaning your body will have an easier time absorbing them, explains Kearney. Simply add the seeds to a Greek Yogurt or toss them onto your salad, she says.


10

Asparagus 

Another buzz term we’ve all heard lately is “gut health.” And just like it influences most everything else in your body, gut health can also impact inflammation and your body’s response to it.


Prebiotics (a fermentable fiber that we can’t digest in our stomach) are ultimately what feed the good bacteria in our bodies, says Dr. Li. They come in lots of different forms, but anti-inflammatory vegetables like asparagus or leeks are your best bet. Challenge yourself to get as much color on your plate as possible when it comes to vegetables, since those are ultimately what keep your inflammatory response and your gut microbiomes healthy, says Dr. Li.


Fight inflammation: Eat a combination of cooked and raw prebiotic vegetables. “Because a lot of nutrients are not available to humans if you just eat it raw,” says Dr. Li. “But meanwhile, as we cook, we miss some vitamins. So the best is combination.”


11

Egg whites 

If you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory food that’s more animal-based, try incorporating egg whites into your diet, which have plenty of immunity-protecting properties to aid in anti-inflammation, according to a review of research published in Nutrients. Plus, they don’t cause much damage during digestion themselves. “Egg whites, in particular, are pretty neutral, so they will not cause a huge inflammation,” says Dr. Li. 

Here’s How Much Sugar You Should Eat in a Day, According to Experts

 We know, we know, already!

Americans consume far too much sugar, and overdoing it on the sweet stuff puts you at greater risk for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. No bueno! Experts emphasize that there’s nothing wrong with foods in which sugar occurs naturally (think, fruits and milk) but getting too much added sugar (that would be in sodas and other drinks, cookies, and cakes, and even random places like ketchup and salad dressing) is what has Americans taking in more than the roughly 200 calories worth of sugar that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers a healthy limit. (That’s based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so if you eat more like 1,600 calories, up to 160 of those calories can come from added sugar.)

Other medical groups believe you should aim for even less: The American Heart Association, for example, advises women to get no more than around 100 calories a day (6 teaspoons) from added sugars, while men should aim for no more than 150 calories (9 teaspoons).


But while the need for Americans in general to cut back is clear, there are other confusing fictions about sugar. Here’s what you need to know.

Myth #1: Some sugars are healthier than others.

Not so much. Agave, maple syrup, organic raw sugar, and table sugar are all similar when it comes to health effects, says Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D.N., an associate professor of nutrition at Central Washington University. On the glycemic index, which measures a carb’s impact on blood sugar, maple syrup hits 54—close to table sugar’s 65. Agave is lower, at 19, but it’s high in fructose, which is tied to metabolic syndrome and hypertension.

Research suggests that fructose (also in high-fructose corn syrup) is responsible for most of the negative health effects of sugar, says Kimber Stanhope, Ph.D., R.D., a researcher at the University of California, Davis. “Organic” simply means the sugarcane or sugar beets were grown without pesticides. “Raw” signifies that naturally occurring molasses has not been extracted—so raw sugar, while technically “less processed,” has the same nutrient profile as the regular kind.

Myth #2: Sugar should be avoided at all costs.

Not necessary, thank goodness. Sugar should not be a huge part of your diet, but you don’t have to cut it out completely, says Marion Nestle, Ph.D., a nutrition professor at New York University. The USDA’s guidelines recommend that you get less than 10% of your calories from the sweet stuff, which is tricky, as sugar sneaks into surprising items like salad dressings, pasta sauces, and yogurts.


Too much can increase your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and possibly cancer. A 2017 study in Clinical Science showed that just three months on a high-sugar diet raised healthy people’s risk of heart disease. Instead of going cold turkey, take things slowly to wean your body from excessive added sugar, says the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Stefani Sassos. You’ll retrain your taste buds to be satisfied with less sweetness after a few weeks.

Myth #3: It’s a good idea to swap in juice for soda.

Not so much. Ounce for ounce, fruit juice contains about the same amount of sugar as Mountain Dew. In fact, experts say no one should be drinking more than
8 ounces of juice daily. A study in the journal BMJ showed that all sugary drinks, including 100% fruit juice, significantly increased the risk of cancer. Another study, published in JAMA Network Open, showed that fruit juice, like soda, increased overall mortality risk. Your healthiest pour is definitely water. To jazz it up, try adding a few slices of orange or lemon for a fruity taste without sugar. If you must have juice, “make it orange juice—at least there are nutrients in it,” says Stanhope. But stick to one small glass.

Myth #4: Eating too much sugar gives you diabetes.


Sugar may affect the management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but it doesn’t directly cause either form of the disease. “Being overweight is the biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes, and sugar encourages overeating,” says Nestle. In other words, a diet high in calories from any source—not just sugar—contributes to weight gain, which increases your chances of metabolic dysfunction and type 2 diabetes. This form of the disease accounts for about 90% of the 463 million adult cases worldwide in 2019, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body mistakenly destroys its own insulin-producing cells. Someone with this form of diabetes needs to work closely with a physician to manage their medications and make the lifestyle changes needed to regulate blood sugar levels (one of which may be eating less sugar).

Myth #5: A big sweet treat means a major sugar rush.

The opposite seems to be true: A 2019 review by researchers at Humboldt University in Germany found that rather than providing a quick boost, sugar made people more lethargic and less focused in the hour after they ate it. “The myth of the ‘sugar rush’ can be traced to studies suggesting that consumption of carbohydrates could make children hyperactive, an idea that has been debunked many times,” explains Konstantinos Mantantzis, a postdoctoral research fellow at Humboldt. In other words, if your kid seems wound up post-party, it’s probably the excitement—not the cupcakes—that is to blame.

14 Best and Worst Foods for Your Liver

Oatmeal


Food with lots of fiber can help your liver work at its best. Want one that's a great way to start your day? Try oatmeal. Research shows it can help you shed some extra pounds and belly fat, which is a good way to keep away liver disease.  


Stay Away From Fatty Foods 

French fries and burgers are a poor choice to keep your liver healthy. Eat too many foods that are high in saturated fat and it can make it harder for your liver to do its job. Over time it may lead to inflammation, which in turn could cause scarring of the liver that's known as cirrhosis. So next time you're in the drive-thru line, think about ordering a healthier option.


Broccoli 

Add lots of veggies to your diet if you want to keep your liver healthy. Broccoli can be part of this strategy. Some studies suggest this crunchy food can help protect you from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. If steamed broccoli sounds a little too blah, shred it into a slaw and toss it with sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and a tangy vinaigrette. It's also delicious roasted with garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar.


Coffee 

If you can't make it through the day without it, you'll be glad to hear that it may have some benefits for your liver. Studies show that drinking two to three cups a day can protect your liver from damage caused by too much alcohol or an unhealthy diet. Some research suggests it may lower your risk of liver cancer.


Ease Up on Sugar 

Too much of the sweet stuff can take a toll on your liver. That's because part of its job is to convert sugar into fat. If you overdo it, your liver makes too much fat, which ends up hanging around where it doesn't belong. In the long run, you could get a condition like fatty liver disease. So do your liver a favor and make sweets an occasional treat.


Green Tea

It's brimming with a type of antioxidant called catechins. Research suggests it may protect against some forms of cancer, including liver. You'll get more catechins if you brew tea yourself and drink it hot. Iced tea and ready-to-drink green teas have much lower levels.


Water

One of the best things you can do for your liver is keep a healthy weight. Get in the habit of drinking water instead of sweetened drinks like sodas or sports drinks. You'd be amazed at how many calories it will save you each day.


Almonds

Nuts -- especially these -- are good sources of vitamin E, a nutrient that research suggests may help protect against fatty liver disease. Almonds are good for your heart, too, so grab a handful the next time you feel like snacking. Or try them in salads, where they add a nice crunch.


Spinach

Leafy greens have a powerful antioxidant called glutathione, which can help keep your liver working right. And spinach couldn't be easier to prepare. It makes a great base for a dinner salad, and it's also delicious sauteed with garlic and olive oil. When it's wilted, top it with a dusting of fresh parmesan.


Blueberries

They've got nutrients in them called polyphenols that may help protect you against nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which often goes hand in hand with obesity and high cholesterol. If blueberries aren't your thing, other foods rich in polyphenols include dark chocolate, olives, and plums.


Be Moderate With Alcohol

Drinking too much can wreak havoc on your liver. Over time it can lead to cirrhosis. Even occasional binge drinking -- four drinks in one sitting for women and five for men -- can be harmful, too. Try to limit yourself to one drink a day if you're a woman or two a day if you're a man.


Herbs and Spices

Want to protect your liver and your heart at the same time? Sprinkle on some oregano, sage, or rosemary. They're a good source of healthy polyphenols. An extra benefit: they help you cut back on salt in many recipes. Cinnamon, curry powder, and cumin are good ones to try, too.


Limit Packaged Snack Foods

Next time you feel the call of the vending machine, reach for a healthy snack instead. The problem with chips and baked goods is that they're usually loaded with sugar, salt, and fat. Cutting back is a relatively easy diet tweak with a little planning. One good strategy: Bring a stash of healthy snacks with you to work. Try an apple with a single-serve packet of nut butter, or sugar snap peas with a mini-cup of hummus.

What You've Heard About Olive Oil May Be Wrong

 When you’re shopping for cooking oil, reaching for olive oil is a no-brainer. Loaded with good-for-you monounsaturated fat, it’s a cornerstone of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. But knowing which olive oil to pick -- and how to use it once you get home -- is where things get a little murkier. Turns out, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about olive oil. Time to clear it up!


You’ve heard: “Pure” olive oil is the best quality.

The term “pure” sounds promising. But it merely means there aren’t other ingredients or oils in the product. Pure olive oil is actually a lower grade than extra-virgin, considered the healthiest because it has the highest concentration of polyphenols, a natural plant compound in olives that acts like an antioxidant in the body. “Pure” olive oil has fewer polyphenols but still has potential health benefits. It also has a more neutral flavor.

You’ve heard: “Light” olive oil has less fat and fewer calories.

“Light” on food packages can mean the product is lower in fat and calories. But in the case of olive oil, the word just refers to its flavor. All olive oils have the same number of calories and fat grams per tablespoon. One perk of light olive oil: It tends to be less expensive than other grades.

You’ve heard: You can’t cook with extra virgin olive oil.

Some people say that extra virgin olive oil is too delicate to cook with -- that it’s best used for dressings and sauces. It’s true that it has a lower smoke point than some cooking oils like canola, but it is stable enough for everyday home cooking. Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil tends to have more flavor than other grades of olives oil. So if you’re looking for a neutral flavor, pick light or pure olive oil or one simply labeled "olive oil"(or use another oil like canola). If you’ve got an expensive, flavor-packed olive oil, save it for dressings, dipping, and drizzling on top of finished dishes.

You’ve heard: Cooking destroys olive oil’s benefits.

You won’t cancel out the health benefits of olive oil while heating it. It may lose some flavor, but you’re still getting most of the polyphenols that occur naturally in the oil.

You’ve heard: Most olive oil is fake.

There are rumors that a lot of olive oil on store shelves isn’t real olive oil at all, but spiked with other, cheaper oils -- and that you’ve got to spring for the pricey stuff to get the real deal. But according to an analysis of extra virgin olive oils by the FDA, only three of the 88 oils tested failed to meet purity standards (and researchers acknowledged those may have been "false positives"). So unless the label states it’s mixed with another oil, know you’re getting the real thing and buy the kind of olive oil you can afford and that has the flavor you like. (Here’s a list of olive oils, including some low-cost varieties, that have the North American Olive Oil Association's About Olive Oil Quality Seal, so they’re certified for purity and quality).

Also, if you can, choose a darker bottle, since that protects the oil from light that can degrade it. Once you get your olive oil home, keep it in a cool, dark place (like a cabinet) and use it within 1-3 months once opened.

Hormesis: Meet The Stress That Makes You Physically & Mentally Stronger

You know the old saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? Science has revealed that (at least in some situations) it's surprisingly accurate—even down to the cellular level. 

We're talking about hormesis, or the idea that short, intermittent bursts of certain stressors ("hormetic stressors") can actually trigger a cascade of cellular processes that enhance overall health, slow aging, and make you more resilient to future stress (both physical and mental). It's weird and fascinating stuff, and one of the hottest areas of longevity research right now.

But how is putting your body through "hormetic stress" good when you've been told for years that stress is straight-up toxic? It's all about the specific stressor and the dose. (Spoiler: Intermittent fasting is a hormetic stressor.) Let's dive into the science (it's really cool, we promise!); plus ways to strategically stress yourself out.



What is hormesis? The health-enhancing stress you need in your life.
There's no question that chronic stress caused by things like an unsustainable workload, poor relationships, lack of sleep, or financial hardships can wreak havoc on your health. 

Hormetic stressors, on the other hand, are controlled, acute stressors that trigger healthy adaptive responses. Hormesis has a dose-response relationship and represents how "high doses of certain substances or exposures can have a toxic effect, while low doses can be beneficial," says integrative physician Robert Rountree, M.D. "It's the periodic nature of the stressor that defines hormesis—short-lived doses of stress activate positive response patterns."

What does this look like in real life? Researchers have found that hormesis is a common thread underlying many of the health benefits associated with intermittent fasting, cold exposure, heat exposure, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), intermittent hypoxia, and even certain phytonutrients found in plant food, like the glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables.

High or prolonged doses of any of these behaviors or substances aren't sustainable or healthy (spend too much time in cold water, and you're gonna get hypothermia). But in short bursts, the little bit of irritation that these stressors cause is just enough to knock you out of comfortable homeostasis and activate a variety of cellular mechanisms and signaling pathways that promote stress resilience, repair cellular damage (via processes like autophagy), repair DNA, combat oxidative stress, produce new mitochondria, reduce inflammation, support elimination of toxins, improve blood sugar regulation, reduce risk of cancer, and more, explains Rountree.

In fact, some experts believe that if you don't expose yourself to enough hormetic stress, it's hard to achieve optimal health and well-being. In a 2020 research review, Elissa Epel, Ph.D., director of the University of California–San Francisco Aging, Metabolism and Emotion Center, writes that "biologically, the lack of acute stressors prevents the intermittent episodes of cellular 'housecleaning' activities that slow aging."

There's also increasing evidence that the stress resilience we obtain from one hormetic stressor may help the body adapt to other stressors—even to psychological stressors like depression and anxiety—which is called "cross-adaptation," according to Jenna Macciochi, Ph.D., author of Immunity: The Science of Staying Well.

But how does it actually work?
A range of very different habits and substances fall under the umbrella of "hormetic stressors," but they activate similar processes. "Some of the same systems are turned on whether you're taking a cold plunge or eating broccoli sprouts," says Rountree. Pretty cool, but how does it work? Surprisingly, oxidative stress seems to be one of the big underlying mechanisms. 

Most of the hormetic stressors mentioned above—from HIIT exercise to certain phytonutrients—actually generate low levels of free radicals in the body. This may sound bad, but here's why it's not: Our mitochondria, which are responsible for producing the energy our cells require to function, actually generate more copies of themselves in the presence of some free radicals, says Rountree. As you get older, you tend to lose mitochondria (in fact, it's a hallmark of aging), which can leave you tired and without the energy to optimally fuel cellular processes. So, by stimulating mitochondrial biogenesis, you can enhance both short- and long-term health. 

The bursts of oxidative stress generated by hormesis also influence a variety of cellular signaling pathways, including one involving the transcription factor Nrf-2. (Transcription factors are proteins that bind to DNA to activate genes.) The presence of free radicals prevents Nrf-2 proteins from breaking down as quickly. This means more Nrf-2 can travel into the nucleus of cells, where it binds to DNA and triggers the production of powerful antioxidant enzymes like glutathione (the body's "master antioxidant") and phase II detoxification enzymes. These enzymes, in turn, make the body more efficient at neutralizing toxins and high levels of oxidative stress. So, oddly enough, by triggering a little oxidative stress now, hormetic stressors can help you neutralize more oxidative stress later.

Nrf-2 is just one example of how hormesis boosts health. Other hormetic cellular pathways include AMPK, FOXO3, SIRT1, and mTOR—many of which are activated simultaneously and have overlapping effects (some of which are described here). 

6 ways to strategically stress your body and reap the health benefits.
Don't worry, you don't have to go on a multiday fast or start doing cryotherapy. There are a bunch of small, sustainable habit changes that can help you reap the benefits of hormesis:

1. Do workouts that challenge you.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT)—characterized by intermittent bursts of all-out effort for about 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest—is one of the most efficient ways to experience hormesis. During these intense bursts, your muscles are briefly starved for oxygen (hypoxia), which stimulates the production of mitochondria. You're also activating fast-twitch muscles, which may be beneficial for longevity. Any exercise that challenges you, whether it's an intense spin class or a boxing workout, is also a good choice, says Macciochi. Keep yourself balanced by alternating them with slower, restorative workouts like yoga.

2. Incorporate breathwork into your routine.
While we need more research to flesh out the perks, holding your breath for as long as is comfortable from time to time may be a good way to experience intermittent hypoxia and improve lung capacity, says Rountree. You can do this when you're sitting at your desk or lying in bed. For a more subtle approach, you can try box breathing, which involves inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding it for four seconds, exhaling through your mouth for four seconds, then holding the exhalation for another four seconds. 

3. Get out of your temperature comfort zone. 
Saunas, hot baths, working out on a warm day, or even taking a hot yoga class are all ways to reap the benefits of heat. Sauna use, specifically, has been associated with reduced all-cause mortality risk; and periodic heat exposure, in general, can boost the expression of "heat shock" proteins in the body, which may help strengthen the immune system and promote longevity. 

Ice baths, cold showers, or even spending time outside when it's cold can be beneficial, too. Regular cold exposure has been shown to boost levels of certain immune cells, including cytotoxic T-cells, which play a role in killing virally infected cells and cancer cells, and it can significantly boost the life span of certain animals. Both heat and cold exposure have also been associated with mitochondrial biogenesis.

4. Eat lots of colorful plant foods.
Even phytonutrient-rich plant foods can activate your healthy hormetic stress response—the term for this is xenohormesis. The glucosinolates in broccoli sprouts, for example, are thought to activate beneficial phase II detoxification enzymes by way of the Nrf-2 pathway, says Rountree. Other xenohormetic nutrients include curcumin from turmeric, resveratrol from berries and wine, allicin from garlic, quercetin from a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even green tea, says Rountree. Typically, plants exposed to more stress in their environment will produce the highest levels of these beneficial compounds. A good general rule: Look for bright colors. 

5. Experiment with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting puts your body into a perceived state of stress due to temporary nutrient deprivation. Fasting inhibits a cellular process called mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin), thus triggering a cellular cleanup process known as autophagy, which may contribute to better cellular health and longevity. The type of fasting you choose depends on a variety of factors, but you don't necessarily have to do anything too intense to reap the benefits. Consider confining your eating to an eight- or 10-hour window, or try a fasting-mimicking diet. 

6. Engage in mentally stimulating and challenging activities. 
Learning new skills, engaging in challenging mental work, and having a lot on your plate can also constitute hormetic stress. We often equate psychological or mental stress with being bad, but according to Rountree, these challenges can stimulate some of the same cellular pathways mentioned above—and even generate brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes neuroplasticity. There's one big caveat, though—in order for you to reap the benefits from psychological stress, you need to feel like the stressor is manageable and that you're in control. If you feel helpless, the stressor becomes toxic. 

Beware, you can have too much of a good stressor.
While you may be psyched to incorporate all of these hormetic stressors into your life, know that it's possible to overdo it. Certain things like eating a colorful, nutrient-rich diet are always a great idea. But before you engage in some of these more intense activities, such as intermittent fasting or HIIT, assess your current stress levels. 

"We all have a certain capacity for stress, and some people have a smaller cup than others," says Macciochi. "When your stress cup is already overflowing, it may not be appropriate to then enter more acutely stressful hormetic situations. Hormesis should be a thing we do to future-proof us against stressful situations and be done when we feel relaxed, not when our stress cup is already full."

Consider taking it easy the week before your period, too. This is when your estrogen levels experience a steep drop, which leads to cortisol sensitivity (our stress hormone)—so your body is much more susceptible to the effects of additional stressors.

Bottom line.
Hormesis is proof that healthy stress does exist. Intermittent doses of "hormetic stressors" like cold exposure, intermittent fasting, and HIIT exercise can stimulate powerful cellular pathways that support overall health. These practices may help you become more resilient to life's physical and mental challenges—which is more important than ever.

Both parties are bad!!! (Picture)

 

r/PoliticalHumor - Both parties are bad!!!

Kevin McCarthy says 'he'd wager his house on GOP taking back the House' during CPAC panel, Kristi Noem slams critics of her COVID policy and Rep. Lauren Boebert calls Democrats the party of 'no'

 Republicans went on the offensive during day three of Conservative Political Action Conference, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asserting that the GOP would get the majority back in the House while Rep. Lauren declared that Democrats were the party of 'no' and Gov. Kristi Noem slammed Dr. Fauci as being wrong 'a lot.'

Speaking with American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), McCarthy claimed that there was 'no chance' of Democrats keeping control of the majority of the House next year.  

'We're going to get the majority back. We're five seats away,' he said, according to Newsweek. 'I would bet my house. My personal house. Don't tell my wife, but I will bet it. This is the smallest majority the Democrats have had in 100 years.'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (center) claimed Saturday that there was 'no chance' of Democrats keeping control of the majority of the House next year

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (center) claimed Saturday that there was 'no chance' of Democrats keeping control of the majority of the House next year

The Trump loyalist then turned to praising the former president as being responsible for helping the GOP gain seats in the House during the Nov. 2020 election.  

'You know why we won that? President Trump worked on all these races, let me give you a little secret and some facts, this is the first time since 1994 that no incumbent Republicans lost, we beat 15 Democrats,' he said. 

'You know who the 15 Democrats lost to? Conservative women and conservative minorities. Each and every one of them.' 

The California representative added: 'Even when President Trump was sick with COVID. He called me this night in the hospital, he said, "Kevin I've gotta keep doing this." Because we couldn't do the rallies [so] he would do the rallies over the phone for each district and he'd have the candidate on and then he would talk. It would turn out the votes and that's what shocked cause all the polls said we'd lose but on Election Day the voters said, "No there's a new path,"' McCarthy added.

The Trump loyalist then turned to praising the former president as being responsible for helping the GOP gain seats in the House

The Trump loyalist then turned to praising the former president as being responsible for helping the GOP gain seats in the House

Lauren Boebert calls out the Democratic Party as the 'party of no'
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Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) declared that the GOP was dubbed the 'Party of No' simply from stopping the Democratic Party from taking their freedoms

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) declared that the GOP was dubbed the 'Party of No' simply from stopping the Democratic Party from taking their freedoms


Lambasting Democrats was high on the agenda as gun lover Rep. Lauren Boebert declared that the GOP was dubbed the 'Party of No' simply from stopping the Democratic Party from supposedly taking their freedoms. 

'The funny thing is that Republicans are called the party of no, but we are saying no to all of their [Democrats] nos,' she said during an impassioned moment. 

'They don't want you to be able to protect yourself, they don't want you to have freedom of speech, they don't want you to have freedom of religion, in Colorado they don't want you to our public lands. They are the party of no.' 

She asserted: 'We are saying no, we are saying a big HELL NO to all of their nos.

South Dakota Goc. Kristi Noem turned her attention to chastising critics to her handling of the coronavirus. The governor has not issued any stay-at-home orders or made businesses close. More than 112,000 people have tested positive with the virus in the state and 1886 people have died.

'The funny thing is that Republicans are called the party of no, but we are saying no to all of their [Democrats] nos,' she said during an impassioned moment

'The funny thing is that Republicans are called the party of no, but we are saying no to all of their [Democrats] nos,' she said during an impassioned moment

South Dakota Goc. Kristi Noem turned her attention to chastising critics to her handling of the coronavirus

South Dakota Goc. Kristi Noem turned her attention to chastising critics to her handling of the coronavirus

'We never focused on case numbers. Instead, we kept our eye on hospital capacity. Dr. Fauci told me that I would have 10,000 COVID patients in the hospital on our worst day,' Noem said, the Argus Leader reports. 'On our worst day, we had a little over 600. I don't know if you agree but, Fauci is wrong a lot!'

Noem then turned her attention to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been slammed over his handling of COVID-19 deaths in the state's nursing homes. He signed a March order that allowed nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients back to their facilities. 

Earlier this month, Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo's secretary, unleashed a political firestorm when she admitted to state Democrats that the administration had deliberately hid data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. 

'That’s the media’s COVID hero. By the way, he also earned an Emmy and wrote a book on his COVID response. So, who really needed the advice?,' Noem chided.