On my last day of vacation in Italy, a chatty café owner in Rome introduced me to a tall, charming Italian man. He was a local artist, I learned; his name was Marco. Just a day earlier, my friend Lynn and I had sat in a piazza in Florence talking about how hard it is to meet nice guys. It had been two years since my last relationship, and, admittedly, I'd grown a little standoffish with the opposite sex. Lynn and I agreed that I could open up a little more. So when I met Marco, I figured...
It's creamy smooth, packed with flavor -- and just may be the wonder food you've been craving. Research suggests that that humble carton of yogurt may:
Help prevent osteoporosis
Reduce your risk of high blood pressure
Aid gastrointestinal conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and constipation
Ready to take home a few cartons of yummy yogurt? When buying think low-fat, make sure the yogurt contains active cultures and vitamin D, and keep tabs on sugar content.
2. Help Holiday Heartburn
Getting hit with heartburn over the holidays? Help is at hand! Try these hints and you can stop the burn before it starts:
Nibble: Enjoy your favorite foods -- but in moderation. No need to heap on the goodies (or go back for seconds and thirds!). Packing your stomach with food makes heartburn much more likely.
Know Your Triggers: Certain foods feed heartburn's flame. Typical triggers include foods full of sugar and fat -- think pumpkin pie slathered with whipped cream. Instead reach for complex carbs like veggies and whole-wheat breads -- or at least share that dessert!
Get Up: Stretching out for a nap post-meal is a great way to guarantee you'll get reflux. Instead, keep your head higher than your stomach -- or keep right on walking, away from the dinner table and out the door. Light exercise is a great way to prevent heartburn.
3. Kiss Holiday Cold Sores Good-bye
Holidays: That busy time for toasting the coming year, savoring seasonal sweets, staying up late -- and cold sores?
If you find you're more prone to cold sores (also called fever blisters) during the hectic holiday season, you may be your own worst enemy. That's because lack of sleep, too much alcohol or sugar, stress, and close physical contact (think auntie's smooches) can all contribute to outbreaks.
So, to help keep your kisser cold-sore-free this year -- or to keep from passing your cold sores to others -- try these tips:
Don't overdo the holiday goodies -- maintain a healthy diet.
Get plenty of rest.
Wash your hands.
Don't share food or drink containers.
Discard used tissues.
Don't kiss on or near anyone's cold sore -- and don't let them near yours!
4. De-Stress With Meditation
The bad weather, the seasonal pace, work: If this time of year has your stress meter spiking, it may be time to close your eyes, breathe ... and get a little repetitive.
Repetition is at the heart of meditation's soothing power. The act of banishing thoughts, focusing on your breathing, and repeating a single word or phrase, fires up your body's natural relaxation response.
And meditation can do more than soothe away stress. Research shows it may help lower blood pressure, boost immunity, reduce PMS symptoms, even aid in fertility and the delivery of a new mom's milk.