When racism cuts, Michelle Obama helps us heal

(CNN)Three weeks ago, my house was pelted with watermelon rinds. No other garbage. Just watermelons. As soon as I heard the noise, I ran outside. When I saw the mess, I was enraged. I wanted to confront the culprit.

My anger was caused by something much deeper than watermelons. You see, growing up in the United States, I’ve been culturally conditioned to see the world always through the suffocating prism of race. And it’s not just me. This is a basic instinct for Americans of every race. No matter how much we say “everyone is equal,” our government policies, our history and our daily social interactions betray this lie.
Without a second thought, I freeze with terror when I see a police officer — in any country — or wake up in a panic when I know that my son is driving home late. It often feels like there’s no escape from this nightmare.

      Michelle Obama called ‘ape in heels’

    So when I saw watermelon slices scattered all over my patio, I took it as a form of racist intimidation. The problem was, I wasn’t in the United States. I was in Costa Rica, where watermelon is just a delicious fruit enjoyed by all. There’s no racial stigma attached, no lingering racist Reconstruction Era cultural stereotypes about lazy blacks and watermelons.
    Calm down and breathe is what I told myself as I cleaned up those watermelon rinds. It’s nothing. But generations of toxic cultural indoctrination do not die easily and even now, weeks later, I’m still trying to get over it and my suspicions about some of my expat neighbors, many of whom like me are from the United States and travel around the world towing their own racial baggage as white Americans.
    This is what racism does to you. It scars you and dehumanizes us all. It makes us mistrust one another. And if you don’t fight it every day, the hate will defeat you.
    And this is exactly why a trailblazing woman like Michelle Obama is so inspiring. As the nation’s first black First Lady, Michelle was the object of equal parts adulation and scorn for eight years. And she still is. Recently, she spoke at a women’s empowerment conference in Colorado. She told the crowd that the racism she faced as First Lady was extremely painful, specifically one incident where a woman called her “an ape in heels.”
    That remark cut as it was intended, she said. But Michelle urges us to acknowledge our pain, work to heal our wounds and hold on to our power at the same time.
    “Women, we endure those cuts in so many ways that we don’t even notice we’re cut,” she said. “We are living with small tiny cuts, and we are bleeding every single day. And we’re still getting up.”
    She knows the path is not easy. The moment the Obamas stepped onto the national stage it was apparent that America just couldn’t resist the ugly racial jabs, whether done in jest or with malice. And it’s not just Twitter-crazed private citizens who’ve attacked.
    Media outlets — liberal and conservative — have helped instigate this hate. Fox News anchors took to calling Michelle, “Obama’s baby mama.” Impossible to imagine Barbara Bush or Melania Trump ever being denigrated in this way.
    And back in 2008, a New Yorker magazine cover depicted Michelle as a machine-gun toting, afro-wearing terrorist standing with Barack dressed in Muslim attire.

      Defining racial moments in Obama’s presidency

    The two were celebrating with a fist-bump standing beside a portrait of Osama bin Laden. As if black folks winning the White House was more horrifying than terrorists taking over our nation. The magazine called it satire, humor meant to make a mockery of all the racist stereotypes aimed at the Obamas. No black people I knew were laughing, though. We weren’t liberal enough to get that joke.
    The First Lady would have to be made of stone not to be hurt by these attacks. But she is not sidetracked. She has used her platform to improve the lives of girls, military families and young people around the world.
    In 2010, she launched Let’s Move!, a project to fight childhood obesity by making school lunch programs healthier, encouraging exercise and promoting community gardening. Her Joining Forces project, launched with Jill Biden, supports veterans and their families with mental health, education and employment services.
    Her Reach Higher Initiative helps students to expand their educational horizons beyond high school. And just two years ago, Michelle and President Obama together started the Let Girls Learn, a federal program that helps educate girls around the globe. (President Trump has already talked of eliminating some of Michelle’s programs.)
    Michelle understands that these days it’s easy for young people, for all of us, to get discouraged by life — especially people who look like her. And that our problems are much larger than name-calling or racist cartoons.
    According to the Washington Post database on police shootings, as of July 2017, 122 black and 90 Hispanics people have been killed by police this year. Yearly totals for 2016 were 233 blacks and 160 Hispanics killed, and, in 2015, 258 blacks and 172 Hispanics.
    Still, like the former First Lady, I believe we have the power change lives. Michelle’s refusal to let her humanity be stripped down by hatred is really the only hope for all of us. Because literally the chronic stress of racism is cutting our lives short.
    For years, psychologists have known the stress of racism — both perceived and real — is the cause of shorter lifespans in communities of color. African Americans, Native Hawaiians and Latin Americans have been impacted greatly by hypertension and diabetes due, in part, to chronic stress resulting from discrimination, according to the American Psychological Association.
    And Psychoneuroendocrinology journal published a 2015 study that showed how merely feeling like we’ve been discriminated against or thinking that we will be in the future is enough to trigger chronic stress ailments including high blood pressure, infant mortality, heart disease and mental disorders.

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    I need look no further than my own family over the past three generations. Black women and men stood strong because they were never allowed to be weak. I’ve watched my relatives sacrifice their mental and physical health, internalizing their pain day after day. Those sacrifices cannot be in vain. But it’s time we found a better way to manage our pain. We can practice self-care and still fight passionately for the full equality that has forever evaded us.
    Michelle’s ability to continuously rise above hate, to speak with love and compassion for all people is her true power — it is not her Harvard degree, her title or her husband. She has found a way to acknowledge her pain without sacrificing her dignity or robbing others of their own.
    She inspires me to join her on this journey.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/30/opinions/michelle-obama-overcoming-racism-opinion-jones/index.html

    A brief guide to eternal youth get a dog, avoid tax and inject teenage blood

    Recent studies suggest that being neurotic and drinking coffee could help you live longer. But theres no shortage of other theories about how to stay young

    You know what never gets old? Nothing. We are all slowly decaying and eventually we will all die. With any luck, this reminder of your mortality has prompted you to anxiously down an espresso and triple-check how many steps you took today. You see, according to a recent study, which analysed data from more than 500,000 people in the UK, neurotic tendencies can help you live longer. This news comes shortly after another study found regularly drinking coffee might add years to your life.

    If youre not lucky enough to have been born aneurotic caffeine-addict, dont worry, theres still hope. Ive put together a brief guide that outlines some quick and easy ways to extend your life, should that be something you wish to do, given the imminent possibility of nuclear war and the present popularity ofmale rompers.

    Get a transfusion of teenage blood

    Nobody is entirely sure what goes on in the minds of teenagers but, apparently, the elixir of youth is swirling around in their blood. Studies have found that injecting elderly mice with plasma (the liquid part of blood) from 18-year-old humans is ridiculously rejuvenating: the mice suddenly have more of a spring in their step and increased cognitive abilities. Scientists and speculators have now moved from mice to men, and are injecting young blood into old people to see if it can help reverse Alzheimers or other serious medical conditions, such as wrinkles. Last year, a California startup called Ambrosia launched adubious private clinical trial to inject blood from 16 to 25-year-olds into any over-35s who wanted to shell out $8,000 (6,120) for the privilege. According to Jesse Karmazin, the founder of Ambrosia, the trial worked wonders. Whatever is in young blood is causing changes that appear to make the ageing process reverse, Karmazin told New Scientist. I dont want to say the word panacea, but theres something about teenagers. Honestly, I dont want to say the word creepy, but theres something about Karmazin.

    Evade death by avoiding taxes

    Its a truth universally repeated that nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes. However, it turns out avoiding your taxes might help you dodge death a little longer. According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the highest life expectancy in the world at 89.5 years. This might be down to the temperate climate or it might be due to the fact that Monaco is almost exclusively populated by the mega-wealthy because it is a notorious tax haven. Funnily enough, tax havens appear to have some of the highest life expectancies in the world. Residents of Macau can expect to live to 84.5; in Andorra the average is 82.8; in Guernsey its 82.5. Avoiding taxes may well be the financial equivalent of teenage blood transfusions: an elderly elite greedily sucking sustenance from the young.

    Ask your doctor to prescribe a puppy

    Numerous studies have linked pet ownership to better physical and mental health. But not all pets are created equal and, as any right-thinking person knows, the best sort of pet to get if youre looking for a longer, happier life is a dog. Dogs need to be walked and walking is good for you; dog-ownership has been associated with areduced risk of heart disease. Cats, on the other hand, have an innate evil that has never been domesticated out of them. If they get achance, theyll kill you, and then theyll eat you. Granted, Idont have an actual scientific study to back that up, but Im fairly certain its true.

    Avoid the US unless yourerich

    At 78.8, US life expectancy is among the lowest in the wealthy world. This is largely thanks to its abysmal healthcare system, which, if Donald Trump and the GOP were to get their way, could soon become even more abysmal. And if youre poor in the US, you cant expect very much at all: the life-expectancy gap between Americas rich and poor is more than 20 years. A study published last month by the University of Washington found residents of affluent areas of central Colorado have the highest life expectancy, at 87 years, while people in poorer regions particularly Native American reservations in North and South Dakota have a life expectancy of just 66. Thats on a par with Yemen. But, hey, lets remember that dying early from inadequate health care is a small price to pay for the benefits afforded by the free market.

    Work yourself to a later grave

    According to a recent study from Oregon State University, youre likely to live longer if you retire after 65. The researchers found that when people retired at 66 instead of 65, their mortality rates dropped by 11%. So the fact the Tories are now planning to raise the state pension age doesnt mean the government doesnt care about young people. On the contrary: they are benevolently looking out for everyones best interests!

    Approach advice from centenarians with caution

    When you turn 100, you get a message from the Queen and a licence to mercilessly troll the media. Whenever super-old people are interviewed by the press they always seem to say the secret to their long life is something extremely dubious. For example, according to 110-year-old Grace Jones, the key to a long life is drinking whisky. A107-year-old Spanish man who died last year credited his advanced age to drinking four bottles of wine a day and never drinking water. And before she died at age 109, Scotlands oldest woman, Jessie Gallan, said her secret to a long life was eating porridge and staying away from men. Actually, you know what, she might have a point.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/30/a-brief-guide-to-eternal-youth-get-a-dog-avoid-tax-and-inject-teenage-blood

    Drinking a few times a week ‘reduces diabetes risk’ – BBC News

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Raising a glass to the findings of the Danish study?

    People who drink three to four times a week are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who never drink, Danish researchers suggest.

    Wine appears to be particularly beneficial, probably as it plays a role in helping to manage blood sugar, the study, published in Diabetologia, says.

    They surveyed more than 70,000 people on their alcohol intake – how much and how often they drank.

    But experts said this wasn’t a “green light” to drink more than recommended.

    And Public Health England warned that consuming alcohol contributed to a vast number of other serious diseases, including some cancers, heart and liver disease.

    “People should keep this in mind when thinking about how much they drink,” a spokeswoman said.

    ‘Better effect’

    Prof Janne Tolstrup, from the National Institute of Public Health of the University of Southern Denmark, who led the research, said: “We found that drinking frequency has an independent effect from the amount of alcohol taken.

    “We can see it’s a better effect to drink the alcohol in four portions rather than all at once.”

    After around five years, study participants were followed up and a total of 859 men and 887 women group had developed diabetes – either type 1 or the more common type 2.

    The researchers concluded that drinking moderately three to four times a week reduced a woman’s risk of diabetes by 32% while it lowered a man’s by 27%, compared with people drinking on less than one day a week.

    Image copyright Getty Images
    Image caption Red wine is thought to help with the management of blood sugar

    Findings also suggest that not all types of alcohol had the same effect.

    Wine appeared to be particularly beneficial because polyphenols, particularly in red wine, play a role in helping to manage blood sugar.

    When it came to drinking beer, men having one to six beers a week lowered their risk of diabetes by 21%, compared to men who drank less than one beer a week – but there was no impact on women’s risk.

    Meanwhile, a high intake of spirits among women seemed to significantly increase their risk of diabetes – but there was no effect in men.

    Unlike other studies, this research did not find a link between binge drinking and diabetes.

    Prof Tolstrup said this could be down to the small number of participants that reported binge drinking, which was defined as drinking five drinks or more on one occasion.

    Dr Emily Burns, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, said people needed to be wary as “the impact of regular alcohol consumption on the risk of type 2 will be different from one person to the next”.

    While the findings were interesting she said they “wouldn’t recommend people see them as a green light to drink in excess of the existing NHS guidelines”.

    That advice suggests that men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week – equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine – over the course of three days or more, with some days being alcohol-free.

    ‘Not helpful’

    Rosanna O’Connor, director of drugs, alcohol and tobacco at Public Health England, said: “It is not helpful to talk about the effect of alcohol consumption on diabetes alone.

    “Consuming alcohol contributes to a vast number of other serious diseases, including some cancers, heart disease and liver disease, so people should keep this in mind when thinking about how much they drink.”

    Prof Tolstrup and her team have used the same survey to research the effect of alcohol on other conditions.

    They found that drinking moderately a few times a week was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disorders, such as heart attack and stroke.

    But consuming any amount of alcohol increased the risk of developing gastrointestinal diseases, such as alcohol liver disease and pancreatitis.

    Prof Tolstrup added: “Alcohol is associated with 50 different conditions, so we’re not saying ‘go ahead and drink alcohol’.”

    Related Topics

    Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40740247

    Oklahoma sheriff, 5 others indicted in prisoner’s death

    (CNN)An Oklahoma sheriff and five other people have been indicted in the death of a prisoner who was held in a restraint chair more than 48 hours without adequate food, water or medical care, authorities said.

    He was placed in a restraint chair June 6, found unresponsive in the chair June 8 and pronounced dead at the jail that day, the release said. During his time in the chair, Huff was not given “proper amounts of food, water or medical treatment for illnesses he was suffering from,” the release said.
    In documents released this week, state authorities announced that second-degree manslaughter charges had been filed against Jerry Niles, 53, sheriff of Garfield County since 2013. Enid, the Garfield County seat, is about 115 miles west of Tulsa.
      Others charged with second-degree manslaughter were jail administrator Jennifer Niles, 34; assistant jail administrator John Markus, 29; detention officer Shawn Galusha, 37; nurse practitioner Lela Goatley, 57; and licensed practical nurse Vanisa Gay, 38.
      CNN reached out to the lawyer representing Jerry Niles and a lawyer representing three of the other defendants for comment, but has not received a reply.
      Court documents do not detail what roles they played in Huff’s death. The charge can be punished by two to four years in prison, up to one year in a county jail or $1,000 fine, the attorney general’s office said.
      An autopsy performed June 9, 2016, said Huff died of natural causes, with the probable cause of death being chronic alcoholism due to a compulsive condition from a prior disease.
      Through their lawyer, the Huff family issued a statement saying they appreciate the time prosecutors and the grand jury “have devoted to fully understand the horrific circumstances surrounding the death of their loved one, and their willingness to hold those who are responsible accountable for their actions.”
      In a federal lawsuit filed June 6, 2017, lawyers allege jail employees were negligent because they should have known about Huff’s medical conditions from previous incarcerations and been aware that he took medications for heart disease, hypertension, depression and other conditions.
      Huff started hallucinating and exhibiting delusions at some point during his incarceration and was placed in the restraint chair, the lawsuit says.
      Jail personnel didn’t receive a medical recommendation to use the chair, the lawsuit says, and jail employees didn’t check his blood pressure regularly, didn’t give him blood pressure medication and didn’t offer him hydration every two hours.
      Jail policy required the employees to check on Huff every 15 minutes but they didn’t do so, the lawsuit says.
      A response filed by Jerry Niles’ lawyer denies most of the allegations in the civil complaint, says the jail staff was property trained and says Huff’s constitutional rights were not violated.
      The defendants in the lawsuit are Jerry Niles, Jennifer Niles, Lela Goatley, three John Does (individuals who will be named later), the Garfield County Detention Center, the Garfield County Board of Commissioners and Turn Key Health Clinics, a company that provides health care to the jail.

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/26/us/oklahoma-prisoner-death/index.html

      A New Federal Court Judge Compared Abortion To Slavery. He’s Not Alone.

      HUNTSVILLE, Ala. Last week, the Senate confirmeda judge with a track record of making inflammatory statements to the federal bench. John Bush, newly appointed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has joked about gagging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), questioned the existence of climate change, and compared abortion to slavery.

      This last stance that allowing women to control their own bodies is analogous to an economic system that depended on stripping women and men of control of their own bodies may strike many as an absurd reach that makes Bush an offensive outlier.

      In reality, the abortion-is-like-slavery analogy is common among anti-abortion activists.

      Outside an abortion clinic in Huntsville, Alabama, last month, protesters held signs reading Babies are murdered here and I stand against Planned Parenthood. They also held signs featuring a photo of a black toddler they claimed to have helped save from an abortion provider by talking the childs mother out of having an abortion.

      Among the protesters at the Huntsville clinic, the abortion-slavery analogy was popular. It used to be legal for me to own people, but we know thats wrong now, one protester told HuffPost. Its like slavery but worse, another said.

      People think its okay because its legal and because [a fetus] is not a person, but they said that about slaves, too.

      This is a common refrain among abortion opponents. The day before, outside a clinic in Tuscaloosa, another protester made the same argument equating fetuses to slaves. Its unclear where black women, the ones bearing those fetuses and deciding whether or not to carry them to term, fit into this analogy.

      All of the protesters at both clinics were white.

      Chloe Angyal
      Protesters claim to have helped “save” this child from abortion. They hand out laminated cards at the clinic and at a private OB/GYN practice nearby where an abortion provider sees patients. The back side of the card claims the child was “saved” from the abortion provider.

      The comparison of abortion to slavery is part of a larger anti-choice project: to convince black communities that legal abortion is a genocidal plot against them, and that true black liberation depends on eliminating abortion rights.

      By taking advantage of recent liberal outspokenness about the ills of slavery and persistence of systemic racism and police violence against black people, the anti-choice movement is using a well-worn playbook. Opponents of reproductive justice have previously appropriated rights movements as they became popular and powerful,similarlyattempting to frameabortion as violence against women and therefore at odds with feminist goals. In this view, those who seek to deny women abortions are the true feminists.

      Bushs blog post about abortion and slavery was written to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2008; in the post, Bush claims that had King lived until 1973, he would have opposed the Supreme Courts ruling in Roe v. Wade. The two greatest tragedies in our country slavery and abortion relied on similar reasoning and activist justices at the U.S. Supreme Court, first in the Dred Scott decision, and later in Roe, Bush wrote.

      In reality, King was a proponent of family planning. He, too, saw the connection between birth control and slavery: He argued that, being descended from people who were subjected to rape, forced reproduction and destruction of families under slavery, African-Americans were natural allies of those who seek to inject any form of planning in our society that enriches life and guarantees the right to exist in freedom and dignity.

      To buttress their claims that King would oppose abortion, anti-choicers turn to his niece, Alveda King, a fervent anti-abortion activist who serves as director of civil rights for the unborn at the anti-choice organization Priests for Life. Bush quotes her in his blog post, and the protesters at the Alabama clinics mentioned her often.

      Chloe Angyal
      Excerpts from an anti-choice pamphlet called “Do You Know?”

      At the Tuscaloosa clinic, a devout Catholic protester told HuffPost that abortion providers set up clinics in majority-black neighborhoods as a part of a genocidal effort. She noted that black women are more likely to have abortions than white women are, and claimed that abortion is in the black culture now. Theyre using it as birth control.

      Outside the Huntsville clinic, a protester told HuffPost that black women have been duped into thinking that abortion is acceptable. He, too, accused abortion providers of opening clinics in places where black people live to prey on the black population. He acknowledged that black communities in the Huntsville area struggle with joblessness and poverty, but denied that economic constraints are the real reason that black women choose abortions.

      The argument that reproductive justice is at odds with racial justice is at the core of the anti-choice push to appropriate the newly energized Movement for Black Lives. In recent years, the anti-abortion movement has targeted black women, arguing that the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.

      One billboard, put up in New York City and Atlanta, featured a picture of former President Barack Obama and read, Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted. The Radiance Foundation, an anti-abortion organization that was co-founded by a black man and that targets black communities, claims as one of itscore values the idea that Civil Rights matter.

      Chloe Angyal
      Excerpts from an anti-choice pamphlet called “Do You Know?”

      The appropriation of the civil rights and Black Lives Matter movements is widespreadand consistent.In a pamphlet distributed to black women by protesters at the Tuscaloosa clinic, Alveda King and others perpetuate the myth that abortion is genocidal eugenics and decry reproductive racism. King calls on pastors to set the captives free and proclaims that we shall overcome abortion. King makes an allusion to the activism of Rosa Parks, arguing that the expansion of abortion rights was a punitive response to civil rights activism: When we said we would no longer sit on the back of the bus, a place was being reserved for us down at the abortion mill.

      Borrowing from abolitionist language, the literature proclaims that anti-abortion activists must break the chains of injustice. Borrowing from Martin Luther King Jr., it calls the effort to roll back abortion rights part of the fierce urgency of now. Borrowing from anti-police violence and anti-mass incarceration activists, it claims that the U.S. government is targeting our children, with a picture of a black child in gun cross hairs.

      Abortion provider Dr. Willie Parker, who is black and performs abortions in the Alabama clinics the protesters were picketing, finds the co-opting of Dr. King and the allusions to slavery deeply objectionable. The Black genocide movement is a trumped-up play to gain political advantage, Parker writes in his book, Lifes Work: A Moral Argument for Choice. Cynically disguised as civil rights, it targets the most vulnerable women and pits their pregnancy against their own self-interest.

      Parker is convinced that the people who advance the black genocide argument do not care about black babies and black women, arguing that theyoppose public housing and state-sponsored child care.Theirs is a feigned concern, he writes. They are using women of color as pawns.

      Chloe Angyal
      Dr. Willie Parker in the Huntsville, Alabama, abortion clinic.

      Renee Bracey Sherman, a black reproductive justice advocate, agrees with Parkers analysis.

      Activism that targets black women, she argues, means they can say, Im not racist because Im trying to save black babies, and at the same time deny that black lives matter and doing nothing about the murder of black children thats actually happening.

      Focusing on preventing black women from having abortions, Bracey Sherman tells HuffPost, allows anti-choicers to claim that theyre not racist when all the other policies they support are hurting communities of color.

      They say, Well, Im saving black babies, so I cant possibly be racist, and in that same breath, theyre denying the humanity of black women, she added. They say they care about black babies. At no point do they ever say they care about black women.

      The pamphlet distributed at the Huntsville clinic dismisses concerns about health disparities and homicide rates in black communities and calls abortion the number one killer in the black community, claiming that reproductive rights kill more people than HIV/AIDS, homicide, diabetes and heart disease. It calls these abortions the deaths of black lives.

      Outside the Tuscaloosa clinic, the protesters were adamant that they were on the right side of history. The KKK would be happy with whats happening here today, one protester said. All these black babies being murdered. Black babies lives matter.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/judge-abortion-slavery_us_5978ce3fe4b0c95f3760fc00

      Science Says These 11 Foods Can Reduce Stress, So Go Add Them To Your Grocery List

      Comfort food pretty much does it all, from mending a broken heart, to nursing a period-induced sugar craving, and everything in between. Seriously, nothing feels better than providing your body with the nourishment it needs, and deserves. And oftentimes, those changes in your mood after a tasty snack aren’t just in your head many foods have been scientifically shown to reduce stress.

      The key, however, is to know what you should and shouldn’t be eating when you’re looking for a little stress relief.

      Nutritionist and founder ofPure ChangeDr. Charles Passlertells Elite Daily processed foods, no matter how satisfying they are to munch on, won’t make you feel better in the long run.

      He explains,

      Chemicals and processed foods stress the liver and high-carb foods stress the pancreas. Both situations force the body to work harder and can cause an increased production of the stress hormone cortisol.

      High cortisol decreases cognitive function and energy. Eating healthy balanced snacks allows the hormones, energy, and cognition to remain stable.

      Greasy french fries and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s may sound like a great idea at the time, but delicious quick-fixes typically only yield short-term benefits.

      Rather than over-indulging in sugar-loaded snacks that can actually make you feel pretty gross after the fact, opt for any one of these healthy alternatives to snack your stress away.

      1. Warm Milk

      Stress can often affect your sleeping pattern, so if you’re struggling to get some shut-eye, you may want to consider drinking a warm glass of milk before bed.

      The amino acid tryptophan in milk relaxes your body, allowing you to drift off to sleep more easily.

      For a non-dairy alternative, golden mylk would also suffice.

      2. Dark Chocolate

      Kelly Spring, MS, RD, CDN, and owner of Kelly’s Choice Nutrition Company, tells Elite Daily dark chocolate is a great stress-reliever, asit works to decrease cortisol levels and brighten your mood.

      So the next time work has you worried, skip happy hour and get chocolate-wasted instead!

      3. Avocado

      Avocado is literally life and, it turns out, an edible stress-reliever.

      This Insta-worthy toast-topper is loaded with glutathione, a natural substance that blocks intestinal absorption of harmful fats and vitamin E. Avocados also boast a generous serving of folate, which helps relax your entire body.

      4. Black Tea

      My mother has convinced me there’s nothing a cup of tea can’t solve.

      And, if you don’t believe my mom (ahem, how dare you), according to a study performed by University College London, participants who drank four cups of black tea every day for six weeks had lower levels of cortisolin their blood.

      Pinkies up!

      5. Berries

      These summery fruits keep you cool, calm, and collected. Vitamin C combats stress, so you’ll definitely want to top your oatmeal, smoothie bowls, salads, and yogurt with a handful (or two) of your favorite variety.

      6. White Bean Dip

      Nutrition Coach and Carrots N’ Cake blogger Tina Haupert says her go-to stress-buster is a bowl of her signature white bean dip, made with canned white beans, almond butter, honey, cinnamon, salt, and a dash of vanilla extract.

      She tells Elite Daily,

      The white beans and honey mix makes for a winning combination that provides plenty of nutrients and staying power from protein, fiber, and healthy fats that can lower stress levels.

      The honey adds natural flavor to the spread, so you don’t taste the beans at all!

      7. Salmon

      You don’t typically see people casually snacking on salmon, but maybe it’s high time someone starts the trend.

      High in omega-3 fatty acids, once slice of salmon could be the difference between brain fog and salary bonus. Take a bite when you feel like you’re lackingmotivation, and you’ll be well-equipped to deal with anystress that comes your way.

      8. Nuts

      Recognizedby the FDA as an excellent food source to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, macadamia nuts are also a stress-relieving snack.

      Spring recommendssnacking on macadamia nuts from Royal Hawaiian Orchards, ravingthey even have dark chocolate blueberry acai macadamia nuts for an even bigger stress-relieving punch!

      9. Greens

      You don’t have to wait for lunch or dinner to snack on produce.

      Veggies like spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli are allloaded with folate whichhelps regulate your mood. So if you’re feeling the emotional munchies, steam some greens and snack on, baby.

      10. Coconut

      I’ll slice, dice, and put coconut on everything, but did you know just one whiff of the tropical fruit is enough to reduce stress levels?

      According to a pilot study performed by Columbia University, those who breathed in a coconut scent after a challenging task saw their blood pressure regulatemore quickly than those who did not.

      My advice? Buy the coconut, cut it in half, and sniff the stress away.

      11. Turmeric

      OK you add the spice to food, but curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, boosts DHA levels in the brain, in addition to helping your body maintain a healthy gut.

      There’s a reason turmeric is considered a super, friends.

      The next time you’re feeling stressed to the point of mindless indulgence, do yourself (and your body) a favor by snacking smart.

      You’ll feel better, faster, and your body will thank you.

      Read more: http://elitedaily.com/envision/food/science-says-11-foods-can-reduce-stress-go-add-grocery-list/2026976/

      8 Unexpected Ways To Decrease Your Risk Of Alzheimers

      As we age, our brains can begin to get less sharp, making it harder to learn new things or remember key events.

      For some people, that cognitive decline could be significant in some rarer cases leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

      When it comes to Alzheimer’s, there are more drug failures than successes. On average about 99% of all drugs in clinical trials never actually make it to approval.

      But there are other ways to decrease your risk of getting the disease. We spoke with Neurotrack CEO Elli Kaplan, whose company recently launched an online assessment that helps people understand the state of their memory health, to learn about some of the ways you can potentially decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline more broadly. And a recent report from the journal Lancent found that avoiding certain lifestyle risk factors could possibly delay or prevent one-third of dementia cases around the world.

      Here’s what the science has to say about the best ways to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.

      Pay attention to the food you eat.

      Flickr / THOR

      The right diet can contribute to lowering your risk of cognitive decline in particular a diet called the MIND diet, short for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay”

      It’s a hybrid version of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, focusing on the aspects of those diets that have to do with the brain. Berries, olive oil, nuts, and dark, leafy greens are staples of the diet, which was designed based on large-scale studies of cognitive decline and ranked third on US News and World Report’s annual best diet list.

      A study of almost 1,000 seniors found the diet appeared to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by 35% for those who followed it moderately and by 53% in people who followed it closely.

      Plus, it fits in with what Dr. Maria Carrillo, chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Association told Business Insider in July 2016: “Have fun, eat healthy meals that are good for you, and you may end up helping your brain as well as your heart.”

      Maintain your hearing.

      Doppler

      According to a new report in the journal Lancet, losing your hearing can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. While the reason for this isn’t entirely clear, the researchers suggested it could have to do with the social isolation that comes from losing your hearing and how that affects the brain when it’s not able to work at processing sound.

      Avoiding loud noises, and wearing protective earplugs could help stave off this hearing loss.

      Stay active.

      Women take part in an aerobics class at the gymnasium of a sports center in Cartago.AFP/Federica Narancio

      Citing intervention-based trials and epidemiological studies, the National Institute on Agingfound that exercise can also play a key role in reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s and general cognitive decline. Neurotrack’s program recommends strength training and cardiovascular exercises, said Kaplan.

      Exercise can have additional health benefits as well, adding to the idea that what’s good for your heart and body may also be good for your brain.

      Decrease your stress levels where possible.

      There is evidence to suggest a link between stress and anincreased risk of Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline.

      A small2009 study found thatof the 41 participants with mild cognitive impairment, those who had higher stress ratings also had faster rates of cognitive decline.

      Adam Berry /Getty Images

      The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to manage stress, such as breathing exercises, meditation and yoga.

      Maintain healthy sleep habits.

      Flickr/Ara Moleri Riva-Zucchelli

      Too little sleep can do a whole host of things to your body and brain.

      A 2014 review of observational studies found that poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Though the researcher said there needs to be more research into the exact mechanisms of why that is, they concluded that “healthy sleep appears to play an important role in maintaining brain health with age, and may play a key role in [Alzheimer’s disease] prevention.”

      Don’t smoke.

      Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

      According to the World Health Organization, smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Researchers think this has to do with the vessels that carry blood around our body and to our brains, which are also linked to things like stroke and heart disease.

      Stay socially active.

      Mario Tama / Getty Images

      Staying social can be a great way to lower your risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. According to the National Institute on Aging, staying cognitively active, either with intellectual stimulation or staying socially engaged, is linked with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s.

      That social component is something Neurotrack is working hard to address, said Kaplan. The company has plans to build an internal social network. Since the assessment launched in December 2016, she said she’d seen thousands join a private Facebook group to chat about their results. Kaplan said there’s even one group in New Zealand that has started meeting up for coffee after they took the assessment.

      Read, play games, or otherwise stimulate your mind.

      Along the lines of social engagement, staying stimulated intellectually has also been associated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s. That kind of stimulation can be anything from reading to crossword puzzles or attending lectures and playing memory-based games, according to theNational Institute on Aging.

      Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue/flickr

      Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2017.

      Read next: A Chinese energy company is building 100 solar farms shaped like panda bears

      Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/8-unexpected-ways-to-decrease-your-risk-of-alzheimers/

      John McCain had the chance to do the right thing on healthcare. He failed | Lucia Graves

      There are many reasons to respect the Arizona senator, but his remarkable stoicism and service cant excuse his yes vote in the Senate

      John McCain often gets cast as a truth-teller to Donald Trump, but his voting record says otherwise. And nowhere was that more clear than on Tuesday when, despite his own ill health, when it came to the decision of whether to take other peoples healthcare away, he cast a decisive vote in the wrong direction.

      Addressing his fellow lawmakers, McCain called passionately for a return to regular order, and for senators to work constructively across the aisle. Why dont we try the old way of legislating in the Senate, the way our rules and customs encourage us to act, he said in his Tuesday speech. If this process ends in failure, which seems likely, then lets return to regular order!

      Though he has often railed against Trump as if he cant actually affect what he is complaining about, McCain isnt a helpless observer hes an influential senator. And on Tuesday, as the country draws closer than ever before to the death of the Affordable Care Act, he was a pivotal one.

      Had McCain simply voted no to the question of whether the Senate should begin debate on a repeal or replacement of Obamacare, which squeaked by in the Senate with a vote of 51-50, the chambers leader Mitch McConnell might well have been forced to do the very thing McCain claimed to want: restore the chamber to order.

      Instead, McCain, who was recently and tragically diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and who returned to DC explicitly to help save the GOP healthcare bill, voted yes.

      To put it another way, faced with a rare opportunity to make a real tangible difference, he risked traveling amid failing health to make possible the very thing he decried.

      More damningly, he voted yes to take away healthcare from millions of Americans including an untold number of other cancer patients even as he continues to access benefits of the quality care afforded him as a senator, care subsidized by American taxpayers.

      Never mind that at this point in time Republicans have little idea what the bill they would replace Obamacare with will contain. Never mind that we have arrived at this point through a secretive process devoid of public hearings, or even that Republicans would have the healthcare of millions of American women dreamed up entirely by men.

      Politics appears to have triumphed over logic. Sadly, the politics that won out today are is not even a sort personally dear to John McCain that much was made clear in his floor speech. Its not even his own electoral politics that won out, either; after a tough re-election battle, he wont be up again until 2022, freeing him up as much as electorally possible to act solely with his moral compass as the guide.

      Instead, McCain did the very thing he had just railed against, acting out of partisan loyalty.

      There are many reasons to respect McCain, a former prisoner of war who endured torture in the five and a half years he spent captive in North Vietnam, and has campaigned against torture by the US. His 2008 campaign against Barack Obama now looks like the very model of civility in the wake of Trump.

      But even his remarkable stoicism and service cant excuse what he just did.

      The grim reality is that health insurance is of the utmost importance when it comes to surviving cancer, the second leading killer in America after heart disease. Put simply, the uninsured are much more likely to die than those with insurance and sooner.

      A recent study in the journal Cancer found the uninsured were 88% more likely to die of testicular cancer than those with insurance. For patients with Medicaid, the number dropped to a 58% greater chance of dying than privately insured patients like McCain.

      The study found the same trend held true for patients with glioblastoma, the malignant brain cancer McCain was recently diagnosed with. Its a terribly disease with a median life expectancy with his type of just 15 months, and thats as true for McCain as anyone, but the uninsured still die faster than anyone.

      Voting to subject any one of millions of Americans to go to meet such a fate without even the benefit of the best tools medicine has to fight it is cruel, given McCains new-found appreciation of the benefit.

      The estimated cost of McCains recent surgery to remove the cancer above his eye is a sum that would bankrupt many Americans, using the Medicare rates for which McCain qualifies.

      Theres a way to fix the fact that many Americans under the age of 65 dont have access to any such care: let everyone under it buy in, a scheme for which many on the left have argued. But on Tuesday, McCain helped move the country in precisely the opposite direction.

      We still dont know which of several bills Republicans will bring up for a vote, but all of them involve millions of Americans losing the very sort of health insurance upon which McCain depends.

      The only question is whether its a matter of 22, 32, or just 15 million people who will lose access. What we can say with confidence is whatever version moves forward, McCains lost more than his good health hes lost his decency.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/25/john-mccain-healthcare-senate-vote-republicans

      New Study Stomps Over Stigma By Showing Just About Anyone Can Develop A Mental Illness

      Whether you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, or an eating disorder, rest assured, you’re not alone. In fact, new research shows it’s more common to struggle with a mental illnessthan it is to never experience one. In a studypublished in the ,researchers followed a generation of New Zealanders from birth to middle age. After running diagnostics every several years in order to look for signs of mental illness, the results showedover 80 percent of participants had struggled at some point or another with mental health issues throughout the study.

      Meanwhile, a mere 17 percent of people remained mentally well throughout the course of this long-term study.

      Translation: Mental illness is more common than mental health.


      Basically, experiencing some sort of mental illness has become the norm.

      When I first opened up about my eating disorder to a group of friends, I found that starting the conversation led them to admit they, too, had beenstruggling with a mental illness of some kind. The more I discussed what I was going through, the more I realized I wasn’t alone.

      While it’s undoubtedly difficult at times to deal with any form of a mental illness, there is certainly comfort in knowing we’re not alone in ourcircumstances.


      The issue, then, is not that someone has a mental illness, but that stigma continues to persist anyway.

      The stigma around mental illness is not only unfair it’s unyielding.

      In 2014, RAND Corporation issueda California Well-Being Survey that studied how the stigma surrounding mental illness affects those suffering. The results showed that more than two-thirds of those surveyed chose to hide their mental health conditions from family, friends, and co-workers to avoid discrimination.

      Additionally, one in five admitted to delaying treatment out of fear of someone finding out about their condition.


      And this stigma likely won’t go away until we can talk aboutmental health the same way we discuss physical health.

      President of Mental Health America Paul Gionfriddo toldBusiness Insider

      At a time when we have recognized the importance of early intervention for cancer or for diabetes or heart disease, why would we say, OK, for mental illness we aren’t going to screen or do early intervention?

      This should be as common for adults as blood pressure screening. Putting our head in the sand and waiting for a catastrophe is not a health care plan.

      As diagnosable mental illness becomes more common, treatment for those mental illnesses need tofollow suit.


      At the very least, this new research brings us one step closer to breaking the stigma around mental illness.

      Though we clearly have a long way to go, mental illness has now been shown to be a common diagnosis, so it is even more crucial that we continue to normalize the conversation surrounding it.

      The truth is, big or small, we’ve all got something going on in our heads.

      There’s no shame in your suffering, and you should feel comfortable standing by and talking about your mental health.

      Don’t let the stigma stop you speak up, and speak often.

      Clearly, we’re all in this together.

      Read more: http://elitedaily.com/wellness/new-study-stomps-stigma-showing-just-anyone-can-develop-mental-illness/2026490/

      90 Percent Of U.S. Men Have This Problematic Health Condition

      Abdominal adiposity or, as its sometimes called, sporting a beer belly has become a global pandemic, according to a paper published this weekin the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

      In some developed countries including Iceland, New Zealand and the United States up to 90 percent of adult males and 80 percent of women were found to have the condition. In New Zealand and the U.S., more than 50 percent of children were found to have it as well.

      Being overfat, as researchers call it, is a condition where the circumference of your waist measures more than half your height. Its not the same thing as being overweight in fact, from a health perspective, its worse.

      Excess body fat, especially abdominal fat, is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases, increased morbidity and mortality, and reduced quality of life. Abdominal fat in particular is considered the unhealthiest form of excess body fat.

      Beer belly is a bit of a misnomer, since alcohol doesnt actually have anything to do with it the greatest risk factor for a protruding gut is age. Pronounced tummies tend to be more common among older people because as we age, our caloric needs go down, we frequently become less active, and gaining weight becomes easier. Also, as our hormone levels decline, we become more likely to store fat around the middle of our bodies.

      Earlier this year, researchers Philip Maffetone, Ivan Rivera-Dominguez and Paul Laursenreported that up to 76 percent of the worlds population may be overfat. In this latest report, theyve focused on some of the worlds wealthiest countries and found that the estimate of overfat in the worlds 30 top developed nations is substantially higher than the prevalence of overweight and obese adults and children worldwide a fact that they say stresses the seriousness of the overfat pandemic.

      Laursen, an adjunct professor at New Zealands Auckland University of Technology, said that people need to limit their intake of sugar and processed foods, and called for new government efforts regulations/policies/taxes, etc to address the problem. Clinicians also need to step up their game and encourage better lifestyle choices, he told HuffPost in an email.

      Regardless of whether theyre considered medically overweight or obese, overfat individuals have excess body fat, suggesting a high degree of cardiometabolic dysregulation that can increase the risk of chronic and even deadly conditions and diminish quality of life.

      Being overfat is linked to hypertension, heart disease,stroke, cancer, Type 2 diabetes,osteoarthritis and gout, pulmonary diseases, sleep apnea and many other conditions. Even people who are physically active may still be overfat, the study notes.

      The researchers said that the traditional ways of assessing weight-related issues arent effective when determining whether someone is overfat. They recommend measuring your waistline at the belly button and comparing it to your height. The waist measure should be less than half your height.

      Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/overfat-abdominal-adiposity_us_59760434e4b0e79ec19ac420