Oprah's show might be off the air, but her website is still churning out advice. And there's an interesting article right now about small changes in your life that can make you a lot happier and healthier. Here are the top four:
#1.) Brush Your Teeth With Your Other Hand. Using your non-dominant hand stimulates the production of a protein called BDNF that can improve your long-term memory, and even put you in a better mood. (--BDNF stands for "brain-derived neurotrophic factor.") According to Professor Moses Chao from the New York University School of Medicine, quote, "When you're depressed or under stress, your brain's production of BDNF plummets." One of the things antidepressants do is raise your BDNF level. Obviously, using your opposite hand to brush your teeth won't raise it THAT much, but it can help.
#2.) Don't Drink Unfiltered Coffee. More and more studies are finding that unfiltered coffee . . . like the kind you get from an espresso machine or a French press . . . can raise your cholesterol level. Researchers think it's because unfiltered coffee has more terpenes, which are compounds found in coffee bean oil. Just so you know, a regular cup of coffee at a place like McDonald's or Starbucks is filtered.
#3.) Eat an Apple 15 Minutes Before Lunch. Researchers at Penn State had one group of people eat apples, while a second group got the same number of calories, but in the form of applesauce and apple juice. And the ones who ate the apples consumed an average of almost 190 fewer calories at lunch. It's because a whole apple has more fiber and more nutrients. Plus it just FEELS like you're eating more. To make the study fair, they even had to take the peels off the apples, because otherwise the apple-eaters would have gotten WAY more fiber.
#4.) Eat an Ounce of Walnuts a Day. The average American's diet has a lot of fat and a lot of carbs. And most people don't realize it, but a bad enough diet can damage your liver and lead to cirrhosis . . . even if you've never had a drink. So in a perfect world, you should be eating more fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. But one of the easiest ways to improve liver function is to eat an ounce of walnuts a day. They help protect your liver because they contain omega-3s.