Unusual Health Tips That Work
They may sound a little odd, but they’re backed by science. In the name of health, give them a go!
LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE WITH SUNLIGHT
When UV rays hit the skin, they trigger the production of a chemical called nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to expand, lowering blood pressure. “This could explain why blood pressure tends to be higher in populations who live further away from the equator,” says Professor Martin Feelisch from the University of Southampton. The good news is that you don’t need to put your skin at risk to see benefits. Short exposure add up and all you need is 15 minutes of exposure each day to get results.
FIGHT BAD BREATH AND GUM DISEASE WITH SESAME OIL
So say two trials at India’s Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, which found that by swishing a mouthful of the oil round the mouth for 10 to 20 minutes (a technique called oil pulling), reduced levels of disease and odour-causing bacteria in the mouth to the same levels as chlorhexidine, a mouthwash ingredient. Don’t believe internet hype about the effects of oil pulling on teeth whitening though, as that hasn’t been proven in trials.
STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART WITH A POWERPLATE WORKOUT
You might see why this vibrating platform now found in many gyms, helps build strength and muscle, but a healthier heart? Well, according to research by Professor Arturo Figueroa from Florida State University, the vibration of the machine helps decrease stiffness in the arteries. “In turn, this reduces blood pressure and the cardiac workload,” says Professor Figueroa. “If you can find a gym or studio with a whole body vibration machine, I’d highly recommend incorporating it into your workout two to three times a week.”
QUIT SMOKING WITH SCRABBLE
This works not just because playing Scrabble distracts you from your cravings – US researchers have found that doing what they called “self-expansive” activities (of which Scrabble is one of them), activates the same part of the brain that gets pleasure from nicotine. “‘Self-expansive’ activities are those that make us feel like we’re learning or growing as a person, and they activate a part of the brain called the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, which nicotine also affects,” says Professor Xu Xiaomeng from Idaho State University. She believes that doing more of such activities as you quit, may make it feel easier as you’re getting rewarded from something other than nicotine.
SAVE A LIFE WITH BEYONCE’S SONG
The Irish Heart Foundation has revealed that Beyonce’s track, Crazy in Love, is 100 beats per minutes – and that’s exactly the rate at which you should deliver chest compressions while doing CPR. Not a Beyonce fan? ABBA’s Dancing Queen and Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive also hit the right tempo.