the OSI team
Scientists cannot explain why every person on the planet yawns—in most cases, several times a day. Even babies in the womb do it. So do hedgehogs, ostriches, snakes, and fish. There are lots of theories, often contradictory, but none satisfy all the researchers. Many scientists have proposed that an explanation for this gulp of air, lasting six seconds on average, is to augment the brain’s oxygen supply. Yet “so far, researchers haven’t found evidence supporting this suspicion,” says Science News. New studies on rats seem to suggest that “a yawn may be a thermostat, cooling an overheated brain.” But no one really knows.
the OSI team
RUSTAM, who lives in Russia, leads a busy life. In the past, he had some unhealthful habits but came to realize that he was paying a price for them. He stopped smoking and overindulging in alcohol. Still, long days in front of his computer left him feeling lethargic.
Although Rustam started work at eight o’clock in the morning, he rarely felt fully awake until ten, and he was often sick. So he made an adjustment to his routine. The result? “In the last seven years, I haven’t taken more than two sick days a year,” he reports. “I feel great—awake and alert—and I enjoy life!”
Ram, his wife, and their two small children live in Nepal. Sanitation is lacking in their neighborhood, and the area swarms with mosquitoes and flies. In the past, Ram and his family frequently suffered from respiratory problems as well as eye infections. They too made changes that greatly improved their health.
Take Control of Your Health! Whether they are rich or poor, many people fail to see the link between their habits and their health. They may regard enjoying good health as a matter of chance or as something over which they have little control. Such a fatalistic view holds many back from improving their health and leading a more productive life.
In reality, whatever your financial circumstances, there are basic steps you can take to protect and greatly improve your own health and that of your family. Is doing so worth the effort? By all means! You can increase the quality of your life and avoid needlessly shortening it.
By word and example, parents can teach their children to form good habits, resulting in better health. The extra time and expense involved will be repaid in reduced suffering, less time lost to illness, and less money spent on medical bills. As the saying goes, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Thanks to Annelli Monk who shared this article.
“Some think, ‘Why run around outside in the hot sun until you’re sweaty and tired when you can play a video game that allows you to pretend you’re someone else doing that?’ ”—Ruth, 22.
If you feel similarly, consider three payoffs to having a good exercise program.
Payoff 1. Exercise boosts your immune system. “My father always said, ‘If you can’t find time to exercise, you’d better find time to be sick,’ ” says 19-year-old Rachel.
Payoff 2. Exercise releases chemicals into the brain that calm you. “Running is a good release when I have a lot on my mind,” says Emily, aged 16. “Physically I feel refreshed, and emotionally it’s a great relief.”
Payoff 3. Exercise can increase your fun. “I love the outdoors,” says Ruth, “so my exercise includes hiking, swimming, snowboarding, and biking.”
Secret to Success: Devote at least 20 minutes three times a week to a vigorous physical activity that you enjoy.
Remember this: While genetics play a role, your physical condition is often determined by the lifestyle you choose. So when you say “I need to exercise,” the choice is yours; you can do something about it!
the OSI team
IMAGINE a product that can be used as medicine, a cleaning agent, a disinfectant, and a beauty treatment. You can eat it, drink its juice, and extract essential oil from it. It comes attractively packaged, is available all over the world, and is inexpensive. You may even have one in your kitchen right now. What is it? The lemon!
It is thought that lemons originated in Southeast Asia. From there they were gradually carried westward, toward the Mediterranean. Lemon trees thrive in mild climates, which is why they grow so well in places like Argentina, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and even parts of Africa and Asia. A mature tree, depending on the variety and location, can produce anywhere from 200 to a staggering 1,500 lemons a year. The cultivated varieties bloom in different periods, making it possible to harvest lemons year-round.
Lemons Take Root in ItalyWhether the ancient Romans grew lemons is a hotly debated subject. There is written evidence that the Romans knew about the citron, another member of the citrus family, which strongly resembles a large lemon. In his work Natural History,Roman historian Pliny the Elder specifically mentions the citron tree and its fruit. However, leading experts believe that the Romans knew about lemons too. Why? Because numerous frescoes and mosaics apparently depict these fruits and not citrons. One such example is from a villa unearthed in Pompeii, appropriately called The Orchard House, as it is decorated with frescoes that depict various plants, including a lemon tree. Admittedly, at the time, it was likely considered an exotic tree and may have been used only as a medicinal plant. It is impossible to tell how easy lemons were to grow and how widespread they were.
The island of Sicily, with its long warm summers and mild winters, has become the leading producer of citrus fruit including lemons. But there are other areas, mainly along the coast, where good-quality lemons are cultivated.
The beautiful town of Sorrento is just south of Naples, and south of it is the Amalfi coast—just over 25 miles (40 km) of spectacular sprawling coastline. Tucked away in coves along the coast are the picturesque towns of Amalfi, Positano, and Vietri sul Mare, just to mention a few. Sorrento and the Amalfi coast produce lemons that have the Protection Authority certificate, a guarantee that they were actually cultivated there. The locals are rightly protective of their lemon trees, as these trees were cleverly planted on terraces on the side of the mountain, where they soak up the sun and produce wonderfully perfumed, juicy lemons.
You don’t need lots of space to grow a lemon tree. Even a sunny balcony is enough, as dwarf lemon trees can be grown in pots and are beautifully ornamental. They like sunny, wind-free spots where they can soak up the warmth, preferably against a wall. However, if the temperature drops a lot during the winter, they need to be covered or brought indoors.
Not Just for FlavorHow often do you use lemons? Some put a slice in a cup of tea; others use the zest or a few drops of the juice in cake recipes. Maybe you squeeze them to use the juice for lemonade. Chefs around the world always have lemons on hand for endless uses in cooking. But have you ever used lemon juice as a disinfectant or to help remove a stain?
Actually, some people clean up and disinfect their chopping boards by rubbing them with half a lemon. Instead of using bleach for stains or cleaning the sink, some use a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda. And half a lemon in the refrigerator or dishwasher is said to eliminate bad odors and keep the appliances smelling fresh.
Lemons are a source of citric acid, which is used as a natural preservative and to give a sour taste to food or drink. The lemon’s pith and peel yield pectin, which is used in the food industry as a thickener, emulsifier, and gelling agent. Additionally, there is an oil extracted from the peel that is used in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. The list of uses for lemons could go on and on. Lemons truly are a colorful, flavorful, versatile fruit.
the OSI team
Wellness is more than just a way of life, because it also depends on where you live.
How you choose to live your life has a direct bearing on the state of your health and well-being.
Let’s study the lives of two individuals living separate and distinct lives.
Sheila is a career woman who chose New York as her work base. Filled with dreams of making it big in the most challenging city of all, she bravely left the safe confines of Manila to go it alone.
Making her way up the corporate ladder, she faced every imaginable challenge, from racial discrimination to the usual office intrigue. On top of this, she managed to get married, raise a family, and eventually go through a bitter divorce.
Alone and unfazed by her emotional setbacks, one would never imagine the trials she faced, as this was belied by her peaceful countenance. In fact, she thought that she was superwoman, apart from being supermom.
One morning, however, she woke up and tried to jump out of bed, as was her usual style. She couldn’t move her legs.
Overcome by panic, Sheila felt helpless for the very first time in her life. She was rushed to the hospital. The diagnosis: hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is often called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, sometimes hypothyreosis. It is a common endocrine disorder in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms are tiredness, difficulty tolerating cold temperatures and weight gain.
Hypothyroidism upsets the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. It seldom causes symptoms in the early stages but, over time, can cause a number of health problems such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease if left untreated.
How crucial a role does the thyroid play in a woman’s life? Once it is out of balance, the natural production of thyroid hormones is in peril. But as any good physician will tell you, stress has a way of attacking the body in the most subtle ways.
Everyday stress chips off a little bit of one’s sense of well-being until suddenly, the body succumbs.
Thus, Sheila took stock of all this and drastically changed her life.
Her “Renewal List”
John was born in a big city but, as he grew up, the call of nature was overpowering. After being a success in the corporate world, he walked away from his high-adrenaline city life, giving in to his natural inclination to discover forest life (after all, his aptitude test in school said he could be a forest ranger). He found a new home in the foothills of Bali.
There, he set up a butterfly park and museum plus a haven for young and aspiring Balinese artists.
The pace of his life drastically changed from highly driven and ambitious to more laid-back and fulfilling.
Within a month of this newfound life he noticed several changes:
His “Renewal List"
The choices we make impact heavily on our lives. After all, one can hope not just to live longer, but to live better.
The choice is yours.
This week’s affirmation: “I choose life.”
Love and light!
the OSI team
Articles are prepared by the OSI community whose topic and background range from fields of psychology, education, and science.
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