Blog Posts by Vitamin G, Glamour Magazine

  • The Houseplant Every Girl Needs

    Photo: Courtesy of guide-to-houseplants.comPhoto: Courtesy of guide-to-houseplants.comSarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    I recently went on a houseplant kick and bought a bunch of new plants for each room of my house with clean air in mind (I know, great, now I have to water them!). If you're going to buy just one plant, health experts say make it this one...


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    Houseplants are amazing to filter out toxins in your indoor air, especially for city girls where there aren't a lot of trees around and a lot of cars buzzing by on the streets below. But if you can only buy one plant this summer, consider making it an aloe plant.

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    Yes, it will do a good job to scrub your air, but it can also be wonderful for your skin in a pinch. As you've probably heard, aloe has amazing, skin-soothing qualities. So whether you burn yourself on the stove or just have a really annoying mosquito bite, you can turn to your trusty aloe plant for relief. Experts say just snip an inch or two from a leaf and

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  • Expert Sleep Tips for Insomniacs

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    Suddenly ... I can't sleep. I toss and turn. I stare at the clock. It's so frustrating! After years of sleeping like a baby, I'm puzzled. What's going on with me? I asked an expert for some tips so we can figure this out together...

    The diagnosis? Acute, sudden-onset insomnia. And, apparently I'm not alone. As many as 50 million Americans are up at night unable to get to sleep. I asked Dr. Catherine Darley, ND, founder of Institute of Naturopathic Sleep Medicine, for some advice, and here's what she had to say: "Acute insomnia can be a normal response to a life event such as getting married, losing a loved one, a job change. In this case usually as you adjust to the new situation your sleep will improve. Other times, sleep will worsen for no apparent reason. It may be an underlying change in stress hormones or for women a change in their reproductive hormones. Recently, with the heat wave this summer, people may find it more difficult to

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  • Diabetes-Causing Manicures?

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    If you haven't been to the nail salon in a while, here's something to feel good about...

    Eeks, not the best news for us girls: New research indicates that chemicals called phthalates, found in many beauty products, including nail polishes, hair sprays and perfume, may increase women's risk of diabetes.

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    As a part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers analyzed urine samples from 2,350 women. Those with the highest levels of two types of phthalates, mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate, were nearly two times more likely to have diabetes compared to women with lower amounts of these phthalates. And, worse, women with moderately high levels of two other types of phthalates were 70 percent more likely to have diabetes.

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    It's important to note that the researchers could not actually prove

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  • Drink Up! Turns Out, Wine Does the Body Good

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    Do I love an excuse to have a glass of wine? I'm not going to lie: yes. Alcohol, in moderation, has been linked with all kinds of health benefits, including this new one...

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    Say cheers!

    According to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, moderate alcohol consumption (about four drinks per week) is linked to a reduced risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

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    Over the course of the study, researchers followed women for 10 years and found that those who drank moderate amounts of alcohol had about a 50 percent reduced risk for the disease.

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    How many drinks do you have a week? More than four? Less? None at all?


    P.S. Is this calorie-counting wine glass a good idea? And, news to love: wine may help block fat cells.


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  • Can Overweight Friends Make You Gain Weight?

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    I don't like the flavor of this story at all. In fact, I almost didn't even want to cover it. And yet, I think it's worth discussing, and despite the unsavory (even somewhat discriminatory) findings, I still think there is an important message here...

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    Past research has hinted at a controversial hypothesis: If you're overweight, you're more likely to have overweight friends. This begs the question that a team of researchers at Loyola University tried to answer: Do obese friends contribute to weight gain?

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    Here's what they found: College students were 40 percent more likely to lower their BMI over the school year if they reported having a few "lean" pals. But get this: The students who said they only had overweight friends increased their BMIs by 56 percent. Eeks!

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    The takeaway, say the researchers, is

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  • Do Cranberries Really Help Ward Off UTIs?

    CN Digital StudioCN Digital StudioSarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    Every woman knows about cranberries' so-called UTI-zapping properties. But do they really work? Researchers put them to the test...

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    While past studies have flip-flopped on the subject, researchers in Taiwan say, yes, cranberries do help prevent urinary tract infections. And cranberry juice counts too! But, don't try to treat your infection with cranberries--it won't work. The berries work to keep the urinary tract free of harmful bacteria, but they don't treat a raging infection once it's begun. Best to go see your doc and drink lots of water.

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    One note: Beware of cranberry juice "cocktail," which is essential cranberry Kool-Aid. All the extra sugar could have a negative effect for your body. And, some docs believe that too much sugar actually feeds bacteria (not exactly the result you're after).

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    Do

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  • What Your Breathing Patterns Say About Your Emtional State

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    Stop for a sec and listen to your breathing. Is it deep? Slow? Shallow? The fascinating things you can learn from listening to your breath...

    Yoga lovers know well the importance of deep breathing. But you can focus on breath off the mat, too. Here's what you can learn by paying attention to your breathing from Yoga Journal's Erica Rodefer:

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    Shallow, chest breathing:
    This is the universal sign of stress, says Rodefer. "When I notice myself doing it, I know I need to take a deep breath and really access the situation and put it into perspective."

    Held breath:
    "When I'm holding my breath I'm usually trying too hard at something-sometimes it's a yoga pose, sometimes I'm thinking a little too hard on the word I'm going to play next on Words with Friends," she writes. Either way, she says she knows this means she needs to relax a bit--pronto.

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    More

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  • Can Drinking Olive Oil Help You Lose Weight?

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    Maybe you've heard about the so-called Shangri-La Diet pioneered by author Seth Roberts, PhD. Sounds crazy, right? So why are people saying that it ... works!?

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    A decade after the release of The Shangri-La Diet, a book by Seth Roberts, PhD, a professor of psychology, experts are now wondering if there may actually be something to his weight loss principles.

    From Shape: "The Shangri-La Diet says you can lose weight by drinking 1-3 tablespoons of sugar water and/or 1-2 tablespoons of extra-light (not virgin) olive oil twice daily between meals. According to Roberts, the diet curbs your appetite and dramatically lowers your body's "set point" (the weight at which it naturally wants to settle)."

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    The verdict? Experts are still on the fence about the results, but some say that this method has merit and may actually trick the body into weight

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  • Why Summer Heat Make Us Grumpy

    Sarah Jio, Glamour magazine

    Got a case of grumpypants? Well, it is Monday, but experts say the nationwide heatwave could have something to do with it. Here's why...

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    Hot weather not only takes a toll on our bodies, it can make tempers flair, say experts. MSNBC asked Northwestern's Nancy Molitor about how and why this happens, and she says that hot weather does lead to hotheadedness. In fact, according to past research, hot, and especially humid, weather has been associated with bad moods, aggression and violence.

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    And, "trouble sleeping, dehydration and restrictions on our daily actives--such as being cooped up inside all day to avoid the sweltering heat--may all [also] contribute to a worsening mood in warm weather," MSNBC reports.

    Aha--so that explains my grumpy mood yesterday! It was almost 90 degrees in my bedroom upstairs.

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  • The Surprising Thing That's Making You Pack on Belly Fat

    Lexi Petronis, Glamour magazine

    If your problem area is your tummy, you may think you've tried every option to whittle away fat. But wait, have you considered this surprising advice?

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    "When stress is high, a hormone called cortisol shoots up," write the editors of Women's Health. "And high cortisol levels equal high belly fat." Here's the surprising advice that has nothing to do with exercise or diet: "Take at least 10 to 15 minutes a day to decompress and reduce your cortisol levels, and a flat stomach will be one less thing to worry about."

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    Some de-stress ideas:
    *Take a hot bubble bath with lavender
    *Stretch or do yoga poses in silence
    *Write each day in a journal
    *Sip herbal tea while listening to soothing music (my fave)
    *Spend a half hour in bed before falling asleep praying, meditating or just quietly daydreaming

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