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Friday's Top 5 Tips and Trends

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Friday's Top 5 Tips and Trends

Is the winter weather getting you down? Stay motivated and energized with these good-news stories.

Is the winter weather getting you down? Stay motivated and energized with these good-news stories.

1. Exercise boosts work-life balance

It may seem contrary, but according to new research, adding exercise to your day might be just the thing to get your work-life balance in check. Turns out, regular exercise leads to less stressed, more confident workers by making exercisers feel good about themselves, and giving them a way to chill out and have some “me-time.”

2. Plastic beads in cosmetics may get the boot

You may have heard that many conventional exfoliant products contain tiny plastic beads to provide abrasion. These pesky pollutants make their way down the drain and into waterways, where they can become contaminated with harmful chemicals and be ingested by creatures at the very bottom of the food chain, such as plankton. Now New York state is proposing a ban on these microbeads, much to the applause of environmental groups.

Whether or not you live in the Big Apple, you can avoid microbeads by reading product labels, and choosing natural scrubs that use ingredients such as sugar, salt, jojoba beads, or oatmeal for abrasion.

3. Talking to kids makes a big difference

Talking to babies—even when they’re too young to talk back—can make all the difference, according to new research. Babies who were spoken to often and directly learn new words more quickly and become more efficient at processing language. The key here is talking to children directly—rather than them solely overhearing adults speak. If you have a little one at home or know someone who does, why not share the good news?

4. It’s true—dogs really do understand us!

If you think your dog understands you, you’re not alone. And there might be some truth to it, according to a new study that measured the brain waves of dogs. The dogs listened to sounds made by us humans, such as laughter, crying, and voices, as well as environmental sounds such as cars, and dog vocalizations such as whimpering.

Their brain waves in reaction to the sounds were very similar to those of humans, explaining why dogs appear so attuned to our emotions. Interestingly, the researchers were very surprised to see that the location of activity in the dogs’ brains were in areas they never knew existed, and were believed to exist only in humans and other primates. Next up: the researchers want to study how dogs respond to specific words.

5. Strawberries may lower cholesterol

As far as health advice goes, eating more strawberries is hard to beat! This loveable berry has been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides when consumed daily for a month in a new study. Strawberries were also documented to improve general lipid profile, antioxidant status, and platelet function.

Looking for a new way to eat your strawberries? Try them in these Fish Tacos with Strawberry Salsa, a refreshing Strawberry Banana Iced Green Tea Smoothie, or a sweet treat such as Creamy Strawberry Matcha Pops.

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