The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

In Japan, soaking in natural hot springs is a treasured pastime that’s steeped in thousands of years of tradition, and during my stay there, I visited a few. The experience opened my eyes (and pores) to a world of good-feeling benefits, many of which (but not all) are backed by a plethora of research.

Source: The Surprising Health Benefits of Hot Springs and Mineral Baths

I think heat is part of the stress relief.  It doesn’t have to be a hot spring – a warm blanket/etc can do wonders.  Wrapping up in one, insulating ourselves from what’s around – it’s a physical barrier.

Sorry, but These Popular Cold and Flu Remedies Don’t Actually Work

There’s something about “natural” medicine that makes us want to believe it works, even if there’s very little evidence to support it. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of trying every single one of the natural remedies in this gallery. And, with cold and flu season around the corner, I’ll likely give each of these a try again. Sometimes science is wrong, right?

Click through the gallery above to see if your natural cold and flu fighter actually works – or if it’s all in your head.

Source: Sorry, but these popular cold and flu remedies don’t actually work

I’ve covered vitamin C and the common cold in the past.

One approach I’ve used when faced with severe nasal congestion is spicy food.  Maybe not the best idea if you’re running a fever already, but can provide the ability to breathe through your nose (if not briefly).

Beef Jerky: How Much Vitamin K?

Per 1 piece, assuming 20 grams?  0.5 mcg.  While the value is low, eating 10 pieces means you’d have consumed 5 mcg of vitamin K – that’s roughly 6% of the recommended Daily Value (DV).  It’s not an issue if you eat that much consistently – your dose would already compensate.  But if you binge now and then, I’d recommend doing so after a blood test so there’s time for your INR to adjust.

Beef jerky is a good source of protein and zinc.  While fat you ingest is no longer associated with arterial plaque, beef jerky contains anywhere from 15 to 23 % cholesterol.  And it is a low-carbohydrate snack food for type 2 diabetics.

What Vitamins to Take, What to Skip, and How to Know the Difference

Wandering into any conversation about vitamins and other health supplements is wandering into a thicket of hyperbole and half-truths. We’re here to cut through some of the bullshit in the $28 billion supplements industry.

The biggest fallacy we need to let go of is that all vitamins are good, and more vitamins is always better. Vitamins are potent chemicals packed in potent pills.

…It’s also worth noting, the quality of supplement products varies greatly from brand to brand. Not only can the amount of active ingredient differ from the label, but adulterants can also be sneaked in. If you’re wondering if your (expensive) brand is up to snuff, Consumer Labs regularly publishes tests comparing the quality of different brands. Pro tip: More expensive is not always better.

Source: What Vitamins to Take, What to Skip, and How to Know the Difference

The article doesn’t mention potassium or magnesium.  I prefer to source such things from plants/etc, rather than pills personally.

Maple Syrup: Good for You?

In addition to its natural caramel-y sweetness, there’s one more reason to pour on the maple syrup: it’s actually good for you. Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey.

Source: Pour it On! Maple Syrup is Good For You

Sadly, the article is short and shorter on details about why maple syrup is good for you.  It’s basically a fluff piece for the maple syrup industry…

But it reminded me of Untapped, a competitor gel product based on maple syrup.

The Surprising Health Benefits of Beans

Beans are a super healthy, super versatile and super affordable food. Beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc. Eating beans regularly may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, colorectal cancer, and helps with weight management. Beans are hearty, helping you feel full so you will tend to eat less.

As we get older, we need fewer calories and beans are a great way to boost the nutrition power of your meal without boosting the calories. A half-cup of beans has only about 100 calories.

Source: After-40 Nutrition: The Surprising Health Benefits of Beans

They missed something you can do with beans – make vegan brownies (recipe).  I’m conflicted about eating them – it’s way too healthy for a brownie.  I also like to add salsa to my navy beans.

Fall Foods that Benefit Your Skin and Hair

You may want to pause before gulping down that pumpkin spice latte. While everyone from Starbucks to Oreo wants you craving all pumpkin everything, there’s actually a healthy way to utilize the seasonal orange squash—the real stuff, not the sugar-high inducing, cinnamon spiked puree in a can.

You may have noticed pumpkin face masks and cranberry hair treatments flooding the beauty aisles, and while some are gimmicks capitalizing on your fall nostalgia, dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum says there are a few fall foods that can truly help your hair and skin when applied topically.

Source: Fall Foods that Benefit Your Skin and Hair