Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.

Mark's Daily Apple

2 Nov

7 Tips to Beat Stress Right Now

chairThere are hundreds of positive things you can do to help alleviate or banish stress. Here are some of our current favorites:

1. Own your stress.

Sometimes we stress about our stress. Seriously! If, like most, you’re a sensitive and thoughtful person trying to make the best choices in your life, you may have to guard against the all-too-easy habit of judging yourself and beating yourself up over the negative feelings that come with stress. I find that the judgment of a stressful situation or emotion is often more upsetting than the original issue. This can create a spiral of negativity. If you’re stressed, own it! You are allowed to experience all your feelings, including the stressful, negative ones. Accept them and find a way to channel them in a positive direction, such as outcome-based thinking. This is where you say “I don’t like this situation. I feel awful. What do I want it to be like instead? How do I want to feel instead?” rather than “I don’t like this situation. I feel awful! It’s hopeless!”. At the risk of taking us all back to the 1970s, be your own best friend; be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to have your feelings. And if that’s hard for you to do, no problem: I give you permission! icon wink

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2 Nov

Does Stress Cause a Different Type of Skin Damage?

humanhamsterwheelStress is often blamed for wrinkles, dark shadows, and tired-looking skin. But a new study suggests that psychological stress make actually impair our skin’s ability to resist infectious germs. The skin is the first line of defense for our bodies against bacteria and viruses. It’s a naturally antimicrobial surface. When researchers reporting in the Journal of Clinical Investigation exposed mice to severe psychological stress and subsequent streptococcus, the mice developed worse infections and had higher stress hormone measures than mice who were not exposed to any stress. Though it’s only a murine study, it’s worth noting!

Later today, we’ll bring you some helpful stress-reducing tips just in time for the weekend.

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1 Nov

Is Banked Blood Bad?

blooddonationBlood transfusions save millions of lives every year, and I happen to think giving blood is one of the simplest and best acts of love for your fellow humans. But banked blood may also be causing unintended harm.

In an interesting piece I caught in this week’s Time, writer Alice Park details a difficult question health experts have been pondering for some time now: whether banked blood is causing deaths in some patients. Heart attacks and deaths jump significantly – as much as 25% – in patients who receive blood transfusions. It’s not due to allergies or infections or mistakes. Even accounting for these factors, heart attacks still happen more often and without warning in those who get transfusions. What gives?

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1 Nov

This Antioxidant Powerhouse Is in Season

cranberriesCranberries. We’re not talking about the aluminum can hunk of gel on your grandmother’s Thanksgiving table. We’re talking about fresh cranberries, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant sources! Fresh, tart cranberries are in season right now and can be found at great prices in many stores.

Cranberries promote urinary tract health, but they are also good for the gastrointestinal tract and the mouth. Recent studies have shown they may play a role in helping to reduce the risk of kidney stones, as well as lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Not too shabby for this sour little fruit!

Cranberries contain anthocyanadins, potent antioxidants also found in blueberries and pomegranates. As you know, antioxidants fight inflammation and free radical oxidation in your body. Translation: they help prevent aging, disease, and health problems! Cranberries also contain plenty of vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. You can stew fresh berries, or pit them and dice them up into salads, or reduce them into a delicious topping for pork, duck, turkey or other meats. Aaron will be bringing you a cranberry recipe later today, so stay tuned!

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