Want to avoid temptation? Place treats near less-dominant hand

Desperate for a way to stop yourself from chomping on biscuits while sat at your office desk? A simple solution could be to move them away from your dominant hand, as scientists have found things appear more attractive when in easy reach.

So those who are right-handed will be more tempted by goodies on their right hand side, but when the same goods are placed on the left side the desire for them drops.

On top of this experts believe that how we perceive people is also affected by where they are stood or sat.

Researcher Dr Daniel Casasanto, of Chicago University, points out things close to the side of the body of the hand you use could be favored because there’s less effort.

“If you ask people to judge which of these two job applicants do you think you would hire, righties would on average choose the person on the right, lefties on average, the person on the left,” he explained.

“This become applicable to behaviors like voting where we are all being asked to judge candidates whose names are written on the right and left of the ballot paper. We found in a large simulated election that compared to lefties, righties will choose the candidate they see on the right of the ballot paper about 15 per cent more than lefties. So these kinds of invisible influences could have real impact.”

In addition to these findings, revealed during the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference, it was discovered that the brain is wired differently in left-handed and right-handed people. Emotional hubs are on different sides, which could play a big part in treating conditions like depression with electric shock therapies that stimulate one side of the brain.

“This discovery has urgent public health implications such treatments for depression and other mental health disorder that affect millions of people were designed for right-handers, and may be detrimental to everyone else,” the expert said.

Dr. Casasanto also found that if a right-handed person wore a heavy glove to make them feel clumsy, they thought more like a left-handed person.

Hair’s to Aloe Vera

Aloe vera can be found in many beauty products – from off-the-counter brands to luxury items, this much-used ingredient is clearly beneficial for your beauty routine. The aloe vera plant contained many natural ingredients that are good for your body, including Vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as a crucial element, a complex carbohydrate called acemannan. This allows nutrients to reach the cells in your skin, nourishing them and relieving them of toxins at the same time.

While aloe vera can be found in many skin products, it can also be used for your dry or damaged hair as well. Just as it affects your skin, aloe vera can nourish, cleanse and protect your tresses, and has a host of benefits when used on your locks regularly. Since aloe vera is a natural plant and not man-made, it’s been around for centuries, even dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who used the plant to cure hair loss, according to research conducted by the University of Hawaii. Aloe vera contains enzymes that can get rid of dead skins cells on the scalp which could be clogging the hair follicle, thus not allowing the nutrients to properly penetrate into your hair. When aloe vera is applied, it breaks down the dead scalp cells, allowing for further hair growth. It can also bring your scalp and hair back to a normal pH balance, which allows your hair to retain more water and moisture and therefore promote hair growth.

Relatedly, the same enzymes in get rid of dead skin cells also help with reducing dandruff. For a simple dandruff treatment, add a few drops of tea tree oil to aloe vera gel. Mix in a few drops of rose water to get a serum-type consistency. Then cover your scalp with the serum, let it sit for about an hour, and rinse out normally.

Aloe vera also contains anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties to help get rid of an itchy scalp. Just like putting aloe vera on a sunburn, it gives your scalp a calming and cooling sensation, as well as reducing the scaling, inflammation and itching of the scalp.

Essentials oils for anti-ageing

As we get older, we start to get more nitpicky and aware of the lines popping up on our face and our skin in general. There are plenty of different creams and serums and treatments to help curb aging, but if you want to start off with a much simpler and more frugal way of getting rid of those wrinkles, essential oils might be the way to go.

When our age increases, the natural oil production in our skin decreases, subsequently creating dry skin and wrinkles. Thus, a way to prevent that from happening is to simply replace the lost oils with new, essential oils.

Essential oils are concentrated aromatic oils extracted from parts of trees and plants, and are full of nutrients and proteins which help cell-regeneration and maintain the bounciness of collagen. And because essential oils are all natural, they can be absorbed into the skin safely and effectively, as opposed to company-made creams and products.

Moreover, essential oils tend to be much cheaper than anti-aging products, and when mixed together can create some super effective serums. Here are just some essential oils that contain great anti-aging properties to rejuvenate your skin.

Frankincense Oil

You’ve probably heard of frankincense before, perhaps around Christmas time in various carols and stories, but what is it exactly? Frankincense itself is an aromatic resin from Boswellia trees, and often used in incense and perfumes. In essential oils, frankincense helps regenerate skin cells, therefore reducing wrinkles and tightening skin. It’s also a natural toner, helping to balance skin’s pH balance and decrease the appearance of pores.

Myrrh Oil

Myrrh is mentioned as much as frankincense in your holiday season, and like frankincense, it also greatly benefits aging skin. Myrrh has anti-inflammatory properties which help improve firmness and skin elasticity. It is typically used to smooth out aging skin and prevents under eye wrinkles from forming.

Sandalwood Oil

The natural astringent properties of sandalwood helps soothe skin, reduce wrinkles and help scars to fade away. It also contains nutrients which help improve circulation and promote smoother skin.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has skin regenerative properties in it, helping to delay sun spots, fine lines, age spots and scarring. Not to mention, it smells great and helps you and your body relax and adapt to stress.

Rose Oil

Rose oil is helpful in maintaining skin elasticity by stopping the breakdown of collagen, which prevents wrinkles from popping up. It also is great for dry skin, refining skin texture and tone, and aids in managing conditions such as psoriasis and dermatitis.

Nine in 10 toddlers aren’t active enough

New figures have revealed more than nine out of 10 toddlers are not doing enough exercise to stay healthy.

Just nine per cent of children aged between two and four are getting the advisable three hours of physical activity per day. The benefits of being active include improving bone health and supporting brain development, while also helping social and mental skills to develop.

Now experts are asking the Government to come up with new ways of supporting more exercise for children.

The British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health (BHFNC), based at Loughborough University, are asking politicians to include stipulations for more exercise in policies – encouraging young children at nursery and in their communities to be given more opportunities to stay active.

“This manifesto outlines how we can create an environment for our children that encourages them and stimulates them to be active,” Elaine McNish, director of the BHFNC, said. “This manifesto is a call to policy makers to ensure that early years settings are supported to create active environments.

“We know that active children are more likely to become active adults so it’s vitally important to get it right at the beginning to give children opportunities to play from a young age and develop a lifelong love of being active.”

With obesity proving an increasingly difficult problem to solve among adults, it is believed that encouraging activity from a very young age may help prevent weight problems as the children get older.

“We know that physical activity is an important component of a healthy lifestyle for everyone and the under-fives are no different,” Lisa Young, project manager for prevention and behaviour change at the British Heart Foundation, added.

“Developing a love of being active from a young age is important as we know active children become active adults, and active adults are healthier adults.”

Feel-good foods for winter

Getting up during the week to dark, frosty mornings isn’t the best way to ease yourself into the day. If your mood still doesn’t pick up as it gets lighter and the hours pass, you may want to incorporate these foods into your diet.

We begin with humble oatmeal, which is guaranteed to lift your spirits with its warm and creamy texture. Carbohydrates are known to boost the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain, but you need to do it the right way, so choose porridge over a pastry or toast first thing. It will boost your energy levels too and if you fancy jazzing it up a bit add banana for potassium which helps control your blood pressure, or maple syrup which has previously linked to cleansing the body – only in small doses though!

Or, why not push the boat out and add a sprinkling of dark chocolate. This may sound too naughty for an average Tuesday morning, but chocolate really does make you feel better thanks to, again, boosting serotonin levels. A previous study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that people who drank a chocolate drink once a day, equalling 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate, were calmer than those who didn’t. Calm = relaxed, which hopefully leads to happiness!

And what better to go with chocolate than nuts – Brazil nuts in particular in this case. They’re packed full of selenium, a mineral that can lead to depression, anxiety and irritability if the body lacks it. Snack on them throughout the day, or add them to your porridge, salad or yogurt – they’re so diverse there’s no excuse to avoid them (unless you’re allergenic of course).

If the last case applies to you, try out chickpeas. You can get them dried, have them in a curry or scoop up some hummus – any of these choices will see you reap the benefits of its vitamin B and magnesium content. These two components keep the nervous system at bay and ward off stress, leaving you feeling easy and breezy even during hectic times.

5 warning signs you’ve picked the wrong diet

When it comes to dieting, the choices appear to be endless; from Atkins to 5:2, paleo to Weight Watchers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of picking one at random.

But selecting any old meal plan could prove disastrous, setting off strange reactions in your body and making it more tempting than ever to quit and reach for that bar of chocolate.

Shaun T, host of American ABC show, ‘My Diet Is Better Than Yours’, has summed up the top five warning signs your diet isn’t right for you on Shape.com.

  1. You’re not enjoying it

Eating is supposed to be fun, and while eating kale might not be as exciting as crisps, you shouldn’t be dreading mealtimes. It’s important to find a diet that is sustainable in the long term, which means including at least some foods you look forward to eating.

  1. You’re bloated

This is a sure-fire sign the food your eating doesn’t agree with you. If you’re experiencing gut-related issues like pain and bloating, start cutting out certain foods to help eliminate the ones that set you off. If the symptoms don’t subside, see a doctor.

  1. You’re tired

Food is fuel! It should keep you energised and help you get through the day, including regular exercise. It’s normal to experience some tiredness after cutting our sugar and/or caffeine, but if the sluggishness persists, you haven’t found the right diet.

  1. You’re moody/hangry

If you’re constantly hungry and/or experiencing mood swings, it could be that the food or portions aren’t quite right for you. Diets should positively impact your life, not mean you snap at everyone around you!

  1. You aren’t losing weight

If you’ve stuck to the diet properly and been working out regularly for 10 days, you should start to see results. If you haven’t lost any weight in this timeframe, you need to reassess.

The most important thing is not to feel rushed when picking a diet. You might feel the pressure is on, but it’s much more effective to find a meal plan you can stick to long term than a crash diet that will end in failure. If you need help, seek the advice of a nutritionist.

Breakthrough for back pain sufferers

Whether it’s just a twinge or so severe you can’t move, back pain is one of the biggest health issues going. Most of us have suffered with it at one point in our lives and it’s a big cause of sick leave, which is why a new study is being hailed as one of the most important in years.

It’s been found that regular exercise is the best way to help with back pain, whether that’s stretching, working on stamina or completing easy exercises to strength the muscles. In fact, people who followed an exercise regime were 35 per cent less likely to complain of the pain when tested over a year.

When people were also taught how to do things like lift heavy objects safely, the number rose to 45 per cent. That result is so staggering that experts have suggested if there was a drug which produced the same outcome, it would be pushed around the world.

Lower back pain effects four out of five people at some point, with most cases caused by wrenching the area while lifting something without bending the knees properly. Although the discomfort usually clears within a matter of weeks, some find it returns within a year.

A team at the University of Sydney investigated by checking out the findings of 23 surveys involving over 30,000 people. It was discovered that people who’d exercised managed to cut the likelihood of the pain hitting again within 12 months.

“The current evidence suggests that exercise alone or in combination with education is effective for preventing low back pain,” the authors of the study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, stated.

“Other interventions, including education alone, back belts, and shoe insoles, do not appear to prevent low back pain.”

It was found that maintaining a level of exercise was also important, so you can’t just do some stretches when you feel a twinge and leave it at that. A concerted effort to exercise the back is needed – if you’re in doubt about what you should be doing, consult an expert at your gym.