Help Others to Improve Your Health

helping othersI have in quite a few bridal parties, and as much as I love being a part of my friends’ special days, that business is expensive. From showers, to dresses, and bachelorette parties, it’s a financial investment (albeit one I am happy to make) in my friendships. Today, my most recent bridesmaid dress was dropped off for alterations, a little strap tweak in time for the ceremony just under two weeks. Now, this isn’t my first time in the alterations game, and typically tailors will charge a set amount for any small alteration (think shortening and adjusting straps), then up the price for more major jobs (like taking in or letting out globally for the garment). But this lovely women told my friend that for two dresses with just a small strap adjustment she would not accept any payment. She would not accept a gift card in thanks. What she wanted was only for us to pay her small kindness forward by either donating time or items to our favorite charity, or doing a good deed for another. I was bowled over by her generosity with her time to make a wedding a little bit less expensive for two complete strangers. It certainly made my day.

And, it probably made hers. There is something incredibly uplifting about doing something kind or generous for a stranger. Anyone who has donated to a thrift shop, or helped an elderly person cross the street knows that good feeling you get when you help someone else. In addition, the Huffington Post reported it can have real health benefits for do-gooders. Doing a random act of kindness for a stranger can improve heart health, contribute to lower blood pressure by triggering a release of oxytocin which opens blood vessels and protects the heart, and as an added side effect is can boost your mood to make you an overall happier person. So, keep it up! Doing good for others is good for them, good for your mood, and good for your health.

Has a stranger ever given you a random act of kindness? Have you given one to someone else?

6 Ways Optimism is Good for Your Health


If you haven’t already noticed, looking on the bright side (or at least making crappy situations seem a little less crappy) is kind of my thing. So, imagine how happy I was when I read this article on the Huffington Post that was dedicated to describing how this state of mind – seeing the glass as half full— is good for your health. It discusses recent findings published in The Journal of Personality which indicate that most people tend to view their future through rose-colored glasses across national boundaries and high vs. low income nations. Read: the ability to take a positive stance isn’t limited to those who live in the lap of luxury. And it’s not limited by your age, education, gender or total income either. The results showed that hopefulness that tomorrow will be better than today extended through all of these groups as a universally attainable belief, which is great news because studies show that optimism is associated with overall well-being, good physical condition, and has 6 definite impacts on health. In general, optimists have:

  1. Healthier Hearts: Psychological well-being (or being happier as a person) decreases risk of cardiovascular problems
  2. Better Cholesterol: More good cholesterol, lower levels of bad cholesterol are found people who expect more good to come their way than bad
  3. Enhanced Stress Management: Looking for the silver lining in bad situations makes optimists overall more able to manage stressful situations, and recover physically more quickly
  4. Stronger Immunity: Staying positive during cold season may make it easier to fight off those germs
  5. Lower Stroke Risk: Possibly attributed to the idea that people who are positive in nature take more steps to maintain their physical health
  6. Superior Emotional Regulation: Optimists seem more able to bounce back more easily from emotional trauma, and take upsetting feelings in stride

While you can’t control what happens to you in life, you can control the attitude you adopt after that bad hair day, break up, or cavity at the dentist ruins your day. And now, it looks like you can affect how your whole body functions as a result, some pretty good motivation to try out some positive thinking now and again, no?

Eggs- Good or Evil?


In the constant back and forth about whether eggs are good for you or bad for you, we’ve heard it all. They are bad for your cholesterol! They are good for your cholesterol! They’re a healthy source of protein! They’re an unhealthy source of protein! Eat the whites! Eat the whole egg! The scientific community has taken both sides. And now, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (that I read on The Scoop) is back on the anti-egg campaign with new research showing that eating excessive quantities of eggs (I’m looking at you Paleo dieters) may increase your risk of heart disease and stroke even if you don’t have any of the other more traditional risk factors. Here’s why!

In the past, eggs were demonized because we thought the cholesterol they contained directly impacted our cholesterol levels, driving them up the more eggs we ate. However, it looks like the real culprit may be the lecithin contained in the egg yolk. When the body breaks down lecithin, it becomes choline (the vitamin you get from your bacon egg and cheese that some say reduces hangover symptoms) in the intestine which releases a substance the liver converts into the compound trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO for short). This TMAO can make plaque and cholesterol build up more quickly in coronary arteries which ups risk of heart attack and stroke. However, avoiding the yolk where the lecithin lives, can reduce your risk. Looks like it’s back to egg white omelets at brunch until the researchers say otherwise!