Friday, March 23, 2007

Interesing Real Age Tips

All About YOU: The Ultimate Mood Booster?

Great sex -- if it is within a mutually monogamous relationship -- may be one of the ultimate mood boosters. In fact, semen contains powerful -- and potentially addictive -- mood-altering chemicals, including testosterone, estrogen, prolactin, luteinizing hormone, and prostaglandins. So although sex won't cure depression, it may boost mood if some of these chemicals are absorbed through the walls of the vagina.

Sex is only a mood booster if it's safe, mutually monogamous sex. Although women who do not use condoms during sex are less depressed, according to research, that doesn't mean they should practice unsafe sex. Studies have found no correlation between high-risk sexual behavior and lower rates of depression.

And good sex isn't the only recipe for happy days and contented nights. Feel free to explore other options, like volunteering, exercising regularly, spending time with good friends, laughing with loved ones, writing in a journal, and otherwise engaging in activities that you find fulfilling. Taking good care of your health can also make you happy. After all, nothing can put a smile on your face like a good report from your doctor.

Invest In a Tape Measure

Love handles hurt, even if the rest of you is perfectly healthy. Why? As your weight creeps up, so does your blood pressure (BP). That's no surprise. But now it turns out that waist size matters, too. Love handles will nudge BP higher, even if you're young (under 44), have a healthy overall weight, and currently have a blood pressure reading under 130/85 mm Hg. There's never been a better reason to watch your waist instead of your scale.

Excess weight sets you up for a host of health woes. But more and more, waist size is linked to poor health, too. Whatever you call it -- muffin top, spare tire, love handles, or beer gut -- that extra padding pushes BP higher, even in young, normal-weight people who do not have high blood pressure. The reason? When belly fat presses on your kidneys, the bean-shaped organs feel smothered and they panic. In response, they flood your bloodstream with hormones that raise your BP. Think of abdominal obesity as your early warning system for high BP. A thick middle and pants that feel too tight signal that this health risk may not be too far behind. Here's the trouble zone for unhealthy waist sizes:

Optimal waist size: under 33 inches
Danger zone: 37 inches or more

Optimal waist size: 35 inches or less
Danger zone: 40 inches or more

Time for a Tea Party

It's time to resurrect the age-old tradition of afternoon tea parties. But in modern times, it is as much a health act as it is a social act -- especially for women. Each daily cup of green or black tea helps beat down ovarian cancer risk. Two or more cups per day helped cut risk almost in half in a recent study. The likely good guys in this scenario are the tea polyphenols, which are potent cancer fighters in both men and women.

Tea has anticancer powers -- at least in test tubes and animals. But just because something works in the lab doesn't mean it will work in humans, so researchers recently tested tea's powers in a group of women. Those who drank green and black tea had lower rates of ovarian cancer compared to those who rarely or never did. And the more they drank, the further their disease risk plummeted. What's the tea-anticancer connection? Right now, no one knows for sure, but researchers have some theories. Tea's polyphenols (powerful antioxidants) may prevent cancer-cell growth, hinder blood supply to the tumor, or encourage cancer cells to commit suicide. More studies are needed to confirm the results of the ovarian cancer study. In the meantime, tea still boasts many other powerful health benefits -- for men and women.

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