Blog Posts by Reader s Digest Magazine

  • 9 Body Parts that Are Younger Than You Think

    Birthday candles may define your real age, but much of your body-from taste buds to bones to eyelashes-is renewing at shockingly faster rates.

    Your Stomach Lining Is: 5 days old
    Also known as the mucosa, your stomach lining plays a key role in helping you digest food. Special cells produce the acid and enzymes responsible for your stomach's low pH, which promotes the chemical breakdown of, say, your lunch. In a work of genius, the same cells also secrete protective mucus that safeguard the stomach lining from the wear and tear of all that acid. All that and less than a week on the job!

    Your Taste Buds Are: 10 days old
    Small, but hard-working, your body's 10,000-odd taste buds contain microscopic hairs called microvilli that convey facts about food to your brain-that Ben & Jerry's scoop of Chunky Monkey is sweet, that hot pretzel is salty. Your taste buds are replaced often, but this process slows down (and some taste buds stop being replaced) with age. So older adults may only have

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  • Popular Old Wives' Tales: Fiction or Fact?

    Chocolate.Chocolate.Will you a catch a cold with wet hair? Will your potato salad go bad in the heat? Does a drink help a hangover? We've got the answers.

    1. Don't go outside with wet hair. You'll catch a cold.

    False. Getting chilled does not cause a cold-at least not under laboratory conditions. In one study reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, two groups of people were exposed to viruses that cause the common cold. One group was exposed to the germs in a chilly 5°C room; the other group, in a balmy 30°C room. The result? Both groups caught colds at about the same rate.

    2. Foods with mayonnaise spoil faster.
    False. Turns out this is an old wives' tale. When you turn your leftover chicken into chicken salad, the mayonnaise actually helps prevent spoilage. Why? Because commercial mayonnaise is somewhat acidic. The upshot: when you're heading out for a picnic or setting out a buffet, you don't have to avoid mayonnaise-just be conscious of keeping the food cold. And if you know that there will

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  • Just How Bad is Tanning?

    Summer sun.Summer sun.So your skin is freckled and worn from a childhood full of sunshine, or you still risk a sunburn a few times each summer. Here, the truth about the damage done, and the repair plan to follow now.

    What's the Damage? Unquestionably some, potentially a lot. If you love (or used to love) maintaining a golden-bronze tan, you've unwittingly contributed to the aging of your skin. Sunbathing destroys the fibers that keep your skin looking firm and smooth, which leads to earlier wrinkles, blotches, and freckles. More important, tanning and sunburn contribute significantly to skin cancer.

    Your odds of developing skin cancer are higher if you have pale skin, blonde or red hair, and/or blue eyes: all signs that your skin has low levels of protective melanin. If you endured three or more blistering sunburns before age 15, you're at higher risk for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

    Trips to the tanning salon are particularly bad. Tanning beds, which may emit even more UV rays than

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  • Quiz: Can You Pass These 10 Secret Fitness Tests?

    You may not need a gym membership if you can pass these everyday health tests-like being able to clip your toes while standing. See how many you can answer "yes" to.

    #1 Do you: Feel energized 14 hours after waking up? (If you woke up at 7 a.m., you should still feel awake and active at 9 p.m.).
    Exercise is a known energy booster, and if you feel completely zonked at the end of the day, chances are an overly sedentary lifestyle is at least partly to blame. One large study, which analyzed 70 papers on exercise and fatigue that involved more than 6,800 people, found that sedentary people who followed a regular exercise program had less fatigue than people who didn't work out, according to WebMD.
    More: 20 cancer symptoms women are likely to ignore »

    #2 Can you: Carry large containers of milk or water in each hand, without feeling strain?
    Being able to tote a gallon (which weighs about 8 pounds) isn't just about the size of your biceps. That strength also comes from your shoulders, back,

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  • 13 Things Ticks Won't Tell You

    With Lyme disease and other tick-spread illnesses predicted to spike this year, protect yourself with these tips on everything from how to remove a tick to where they love to hide.

    1. Expect to see more of me in 2012.
    My black-legged tick relatives (also known as deer ticks) and I will be out in full force this spring, especially in the Northeast. We're the kind of ticks that can transmit Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that can cause chronic fatigue, joint pain, and other problems if left untreated.
    More than before, we're looking for humans to feast on. That's because our usual meal of choice-white-footed mice-is not as available this year, thanks to phenomenally poor acorn growth in the fall of 2011. (The mice eat the acorns, and ticks feed on the mice; it's very Circle of Life.)
    2. I'm smaller than you think.
    I may look pretty large and in charge in a photo, but in real life I am very tricky to spot, especially when I'm still a baby. Ticks go through four developmental

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  • Superfoods that Prevent Sunburn

    Bell peppersBell peppersNew research suggests some foods have the power to guard skin from the damage caused by the sun's UV radiation. While a salad is no substitute for sunblock, these healthy foods could add inner protection against sunburn and wrinkles at the cellular level.

    1. Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits have the potent ingredient limonene, associated with a whopping 34 percent lower risk of skin cancer in one University of Arizona study of 470 women and men.

    2. Green tea: This delicately flavored tea is full of antioxidants called EGCGs. Among their health-promoting capabilities: EGCGs stopped genetic damage in human skin cells exposed to UV light in one University of Wisconsin study.

    3.Carrots: Carrots-or any other red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables-are packed with carotenoids, and studies show they reduce sunburn intensity.

    4. Red Peppers: Like carrots, red peppers are also especially helpful in reducing sunburn intensity.

    5. Spinach: Leafy greens, like dark green lettuce, spinach,

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  • Skip the Sunburn: 4 Myths, Debunked

    Sunscreen1. I can get sunburned through a window.

    Myth, but you still need sunscreen. Window glass in cars, homes, and buildings blocks the sun's UVB rays, the ultraviolet light responsible for sunburn - but it doesn't stop UVA rays. These penetrate deep into the skin, damaging the collagen fibers that keep skin looking firm and increasing risk for skin cancer. If you spend a lot of time close to a sunny window or driving in the car, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

    2. SPF-80 sunscreen is better than an SPF-50

    Fact, but only by a tiny bit. Protection doesn't increase in proportion to the SPF number; the higher you go, the less the added benefit. An SPF-15 protects against about 93 percent of UVB rays; an SPF-30, 97 percent; an SPF-50, about 98 percent; and SPF 100, about 99 percent. More important than what SPF you use (assuming you use at least 30) is how much sunscreen you use, how often you reapply it, and whether the sunscreen is broad-spectrum - that is, in addition to

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  • Tweeter's Digest: 2012 Commencement Speeches, Condensed

    Oprah Winfrey shared wisdom at Spelman College's 2012 commencementReader's Digest: Curates and condenses the best reads in America right now. Tweeter's Digest: Does it in 140 characters or less.

    Here, skip the four-year degree and get wise from this year's top commencement speakers.

    Oprah Winfrey

    Where: Spelman College
    When: May 20, 2012
    What we learned: Oprah Winfrey, TV legend and CEO of Harpo Productions, told graduates to dream big and "always do the right thing."
    Tweet to repeat: "You want to be in the driver's seat of your own life because if you are not, life will drive you." Retweet it »

    Colin Powell
    Where: Northeastern University
    When: May 4, 2012
    What we learned: Colin Powell, former secretary of state, encouraged graduates to become active voters and to explore new cultures, ideas and possibilities.
    Tweet to repeat: "Let your dreams be your only limitation." Retweet it »

    Michael Bloomberg
    Where: University of North Carolina
    When: May 13, 2012
    What we learned: New York City's 108th mayor shared secrets to his success-and told grads how to

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  • Weird Tricks to Clean Your Car

    We found simple, cheap, unexpected tips on how to wash your car to keep it cleaner for longer.

    Hair conditioner for shine

    Wash your car with a hair conditioner containing lanolin. You'll become a believer when you see the freshly waxed look, and when you find that the surface will repel rain.

    Fizz windshields clean with cola

    When it rains after a long dry spell, a dirty windshield turns into one big mess. Get rid of streaks and blotches by pouring cola over the glass. (Stretch a towel along the bottom of the windshield to protect hood paint.) The bubbles in the cola will fizz away the grime. Just be sure to wash the sticky cola off thoroughly or your cleaning efforts will end up attracting dust and dirt.

    Vodka on the job

    When your windshield-washer reservoir needs filling, raid the liquor cabinet to make your own washing fluid. In a screw-top gallon jug, mix 3 cups vodka (the cheapest you can find) with 4 cups water and 2 teaspoons liquid dishwashing detergent. Screw on the

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  • 100 Easy Ways to Cut 50 Calories from Your Plate

    Use these simple tricks to cut calories from your plate, for health benefits and fast weight loss.

    Easy Tweaks: Breakfast

    1. Choose fresh fruit instead of juice. One orange has 60 calories, while a cup of orange juice contains 110. Calories saved: 50
    2. Swap a cup of whole milk for a cup of skim. Calories saved: 65
    3. Prefer the taste of 2% milk? Use a ½ cup of 2% in your morning cereal instead of a cup of whole milk. Calories saved: 90
    4. Enjoy a large red, white, or pink grapefruit topped with artificial sweetener; forget the sugar. Calories saved: 15 per teaspoon of sugar omitted
    5. Instead of 1 ½ cups of plain oatmeal for breakfast, try ¾ cup, add 2 tablespoons of low-fat granola with raisins, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Calories saved: 65

    6. Substitute an 8-ounce low-fat yogurt for classic or custard-style yogurt. Calories saved: 100

    7. Trade 2 French toast sticks for 1 whole-grain waffle. Calories saved: 70
    8. Need a topping for pancakes or waffles? Try 1 cup of sliced, ripe

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