ANTI-AGING YOGA: Fight Aging Without A Single Cream, Needle or Laser

 

One of my yoga mentors once said in class during a shoulder stand, “Do this every day for 30 minutes, and you will see that this is better than even the most expensive anti-aging cream out there. Truly.”

Mind you, this teacher looked half his age. Since this admonition, I’ve used the shoulder stand to end every one of my own classes. The shoulder stand increases your blood circulation to the face, which is a great way to prevent premature aging and encourage a youthful glow. Do the following three poses on a daily basis, along with your skin care regime, and you are on your way to a beautifully youthful and healthy look.

 


 

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Yoga Pose #1: Standing Forward Fold
Stand up straight with open shoulders, legs together, big toes touching. Inhale and stretch the hands up to the sky, gazing up. Exhale and fold over your legs, hands by the sides of your feet or arms behind the calves. Think about lifting the tailbone up higher as you drop the crown of the head lower. Stay for five to eight breaths.

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Yoga Pose #2: Seated Forward Fold
Sit with legs out in front of you, big toes touching. To ensure that your hip bones are rooted down evenly and firmly, lift up your right hip, shift the right butt cheek to the side, and repeat on the other side. (Yes, literally move your cheeks.) Inhale and stretch the arms up to the sky. Aim for a tall lengthy spine. Then exhale and, keeping the spine lengthened, lower down to touch the toes. It is OK to bend your knees as long as you are keeping the spine long and the head is completely dropped towards the knees. Breathe for five to eight breaths.

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Yoga Pose #3: Shoulder Stand
Lay on your back. With the strength of your core and with ener- getic legs, lift the legs up to the sky and place your hands on the lower back. Press the palms to push the back up straight. Lift the kneecaps up to keep your legs energized and straight up, feet flexed. Bear your weight on your shoulders, relaxing the neck and breathing. Stay for five to eight breaths. Eventually, work up to a 30-minute shoulder stand.

 

 

 

Sunina Young (sunina.com) is a yoga and SLT pilates instructor in New York City.
Photos courtesy of Ron Gejon.
This story was originally published in our Fall 2014 issue. Get your copy here

 

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NEW STUDY: Instant Ramen Linked With Heart Disease Risk

 

A recent American study is targeting one beloved South Korean food as a factor in one’s cardiometabolic risk for diabetes, heart disease or stroke: instant ramen noodles.

The Associated Press reports that the study was based on South Korean surveys (the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey IV) that looked at the overall diet patterns of more than 10,000 men and women ages 19 to 64. Two major dietary patterns were identified: the “traditional dietary pattern” (TP) of rice, fish, veggie, and fruit, and the “meat and fast-food pattern” (MP), rich in meat, soda and processed foods.

Those who followed the MP diet, which includes instant noodles on its food chart, were associated with an increase in abdominal obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels — all potential triggers for heart disease and diabetes.

 

Women, in particular, who ate instant noodles at least twice or more a week were associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome. This association was not found in men, and Dr. Frank B. Hu, a Harvard professor of nutrition and epidemiology as well as one of the researchers behind the U.S. study, says this might be because women keep a more accurate record of their diet or because postmenopausual women have higher sensitivity to carbohydrates, sodium and saturated fat, according to The New York Times.

Sodium is certainly one of the key ingredients in instant noodle packages and cups, and one serving of instant ramen exceeds South Korea’s recommended daily sodium intake by more than 90 percent, reports the Associated Press.

The results probably don’t come as a completely surprise to most instant ramen noodle-consuming folks. And it would take a superhuman amount of willpower to ban the comfort food from our diets completely.

 

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South Korean pitcher for the L.A. Dodgers, Ryu Hyun-jin in a commercial for a popular South Korean ramen. (Photo Credit)

For many South Koreans and Korean Americans, instant ramen noodles are a mainstay in their diets, and for myself in particular, the food is a nostalgic reminder of home and childhood. I distinctly remember the joy I felt every time I watched my mother crack an egg over bubbling ramen soup, mesmerized as it disappeared inside the broth, only to resurface in delicious clouds of creamy goodness. My brother and I would take advantage of those 10-for-$1 deals, crushing the noodles inside the packages, and coating the pieces with the seasoning for a delicious, crunchy snack. And, now much older, my brother will never leave California back to the East Coast without packages of ramen tucked snugly inside his suitcase, my mother’s gift symbolizing love and affection.

Needless to say, it may take more than a study to convince ramen-noodle lovers to join the noodle boycott.

Feature photo courtesy of Maangchi.

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com 

This New Type of Yoga Will Give You the Giggles

 

Your colleagues are mean to you, your boss keeps hinting that your work is not up to par and you’re so stressed out that all you want to do is go home and cry into your pillow. Cue Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day.” Sometimes, a good cry is just what you need to get out all the pent-up frustration.

Well, for those of you who may not be keen on crying your sorrows away, we’ve got some good news. We’re here to introduce you to a therapy that’s quite the opposite — “laughter yoga,” a new form of yoga that is sure to lift your spirits right back up.

This new form of yoga, a combination of the literal act of laughing and your typical yoga breathing techniques, was first founded by Indian cardiologist Madan Kataria in 1995, and it is now the latest form of therapy practiced all over the world. In Asia, Europe and the United States, there are more than 600 clubs that offer laughter yoga courses.

UK consultancy firm Inspire2Aspire, which now has a branch in Hong Kong, also offers laughter yoga courses corporations can enroll in, which is believed to “ease stress and increases productivity and creativity.” 

Veena Dansinghani, a partner at the firm, explains to CCTV in an interview, “The whole concept of laughter yoga is that you fake it until you make it,” he says. “Your body doesn’t recognize, or your mind doesn’t recognize if you’re laughing for a reason or not. Your entire body is being exercised. Your internal organs, your heart is being exercised. You’re getting a great cardio workout. Ten minutes of belly laughter is equivalent to 30 minutes of cardio.” 

Watch the interview below:

 

 

As the reporter says in the video, “Can’t touch your toes? No worries. Laughter Yoga just wants you to be happy.”

Though it may seem silly, it has proven to work for some employees. Euby Yu, the Learning and Development Manager at Ocean Park has said of his experience with laughter yoga, “We’ve seen remarkable results. We see many happy faces. The day after our session, one of our colleagues, the first thing she said to me, is ‘Ho! Ho! Hahaha!’ I can see the difference.”

Not buying it? Well, we hope we’ve at least made you chuckle for a few seconds. After all, laughter is the best medicine.


 

Top 7 Health Benefits of Coffee For Women

I picked up a lot of things from college. I got a more clear sense of the person I want to be, I gained experiences I’ll never forget and I earned a degree that will help me move forward in this world.

Oh, and I also got addicted to coffee. 

While trying to juggle the all-nighters, finals and early classes, it eventually became difficult not to grab a cup of joe to get through the day. At one point, I realized that I felt a very specific emotion whenever I drank coffee: guilt. Every time I felt I needed coffee to get through my day, I would feel as if I was doing something wrong.

Originally, I believed that this may have a thing or two to do with my Asian upbringing. My parents, grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles warned me that drinking coffee stunts a person’s growth and trust me, I needed all the extra growth I could get. In general, there seemed to be a stigma around the drink.

 

Then realized it wasn’t an “Asian thing” at all. Nearly everyone I met seemed to have that same sort of guilt when they had more than a single cup of coffee. Who could blame us? Afterall, how can something so addicting possibly be good for your health, right?

Well now we can all take a sigh of relief. Those whispered rumors that coffee may actually be good for you apparently have grounded evidence after all. Let’s all celebrate with a cup while we go through the Top 7 Health Benefits of Coffee for Women.

 

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1) ANTIOXIDANTS GALORE
According to a study from researches at the University of Scranton, coffee is one of the highest sources of antioxidants. In fact, it’s the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. A single cup of coffee offers 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants compared to 294 milligrams found in a cup of tea and 76 milligrams from a banana. What does this mean? A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reports women who drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day are 25% less likely to die of heart disease (for women and men, this percentage is still a hearty 18%). The antioxidants even help prevent diseases associated with the liver.

2) A CUP OF HAPPY 
Many women drink a cup of coffee as a pick me up. I’m guilty of dropping by Starbucks to get an energy boost or simply to feel more hyper. As it turns out, the long term effects are even better. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who regularly drink coffee have a 20% lower risk of depression. In fact, the more coffee regularly consumed (up to six cups), the less likely it was for the woman to gain depression.

3) HELPS YOUR SKIN 
A new study from Brigham and Women’s hospital discovered that women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily had a 20% lower risk for basal cell carcinoma/skin cancer (Men had a 9% decrease). Of course, this certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore our sunscreen.

4) BOOSTS PERFORMANCE
The New York Times reports that caffeine “has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream which enables people to run or pedal longer.” It is no surprise that athletes often consume coffee prior to a game/match/ etc. After all, coffee is a completely legal way of boosting one’s energy.

5) LOWERS RISK OF TYPE II DIABETES
According to Science Daily, the consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee a day was linked to a 25% decreased risk of developing Type II diabetes. The American Diabetes Association points out that this decreased risk is especially prominent with younger and middle-aged women. Of course, this is only when coffee is consumed in moderation.

6) LOWERS RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S AND PARKINSON’S
Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to 60% lowered risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia and a 32%-60% lowered risk of Parkinson’s. The lowered risk has been consistent in studies for years though researchers are still trying to pinpoint exactly why.

7) CUP OF SMART
Caffeine temporarily boosts cognition, especially when one lacks sleep. While we definitely don’t suggest swapping a couple of cups of coffee for a couple of hours of sleep before a test, caffeine will improve the performance of the sleep-deprived. CNN reports, “Reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning — most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence. And most Americans are sleep-deprived most of the time.”


(Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Don’t Distress: De-Stress

Story by Anna M. Park. 

Nagging headache? Can’t sleep? Not very productive at work? It could be stress. Left unchecked, chronic stress may play a part in up to 80 percent of diseases and illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — everything from insomnia to hypertension to premature aging to even death.

And boy, are we feeling it. According to the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey for 2013, 43 percent of women say their stress levels have increased in the last five years. In fact, the APA report showed that Millennials and Gen Xers experience the most stress and the least relief — they have higher stress levels than older generations and they are not managing it well. This is supported by a recent study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, which found that not only were women more stressed than men but 20-year-olds were more stressed than 30-somethings.

If that doesn’t scare you into de-stressing, how about these unsavory tidbits: Chronic stress leads to obesity, acne and infertility, and a recent study found that men found women with a high level of the stress hormone cortisol less attractive.

Stressing about de-stressing yet? Relaaaaaax. We’ve done the research for you and found a variety of experts to provide easy tips on how to take it down a notch in our everyday lives.

 


MEDITATE
According to Marilyn Tam, the author of the best-selling book The Happiness Choice, meditation is natural. If you’ve ever “been in the zone,” where “there is no other thought; you are fully present and immersed in whatever it is you are doing” — that, she says, is a key aspect of meditation.” Here, Tam’s step-by-step guide to meditating.

1. Find a quiet space where you will be undisturbed. Turn off all electronic devices.

2. Give yourself a window of open time; to start with, it can be as short as 15 or 20 minutes. You may want to set a timer so that you don’t have to keep checking on the time.

3. Relax your body, stretch, move your arms and legs and gently roll your head from side to side and front to back. Sigh. Move your face muscles. Loosen the tightness in your body and mind so that you are able to be fully present.

4. Sit comfortably with your back straight in a chair or on a cushion. Let your hands lay comfortably on your knees or rest your hands on your lap, right hand on top of left, with your thumbs touching each other — this is the Samadhi mudra, the hand gesture that promotes calmness. Close your eyes or keep them half open, focusing on an object like a lit candle. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly and gently. Repeat without using force in your inhale and exhale. Observe your breath as you breathe in and out. When thoughts come, mentally push them aside without judging them. Return to your breathing. Continue on this cycle of breathing, clearing away thoughts, breathing.

5. At the end of the meditation time, slowly bring your consciousness back to your surroundings; make note of any insights you may have glimpsed in your quiet time.

A former corporate executive, Marilyn Tam, Ph.D., is an author, speaker, consultant and certified coach. Her radio show, The Happiness Choice, on FMG Network is broadcast globally to more than 30 million listeners. Find out more at marilyntam.com. 


SCENT
With rampant stress, “our bodies have lost the balance between our sympathetic (fight or flight response) and parasympathetic (repair and restore response) nervous systems ,” says Marc Zollicoffer, director of Aveda Spa Education. “We are in a constant state of flight or fight and not spending enough time resting and regenerating.” Based on studies that show that aroma has an effect on the brain’s hypothalamus, which controls the stress cycle in the body, clinical aromaologist Pierre Franchomme and Aveda created the Stress Fix aroma. Clinical testing showed that the aroma, a combination of certified organic French lavender, clary sage and lavindin (a hybrid of true and spike lavender) essences, relieves feelings of stress, significantly increasing positive moods and feelings of relaxation.
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MASSAGE
Perhaps nothing is as stress relieving as a massage. At OleHenriksen Face/Body Spa, the Hot Stone massage uses volcanic basalt river rocks for their heat retention properties, combining thermotherapy with massage techniques. The treatment revs up the parasympathetic system, but it also has a metaphysical “earth energy component” for energy balancing — the masseuse literally bathes the stones in full moonlight every other month. You lay on a sheet, your spinal column nestled between two rows of river rocks, while the masseuse kneads your arms, feet and legs, placing warm stones on your chakras (along your torso, under the knees, even between the toes). According to the masseuse, the heat from the stones relaxes muscle groups and increases circulation and lymphatic drainage, allowing for deeper massage work due to increased blood flow. It’s like being kneaded with rounded, solidified silk, and afterwards the kink in our shoulder was almost gone and we drove home stress-free. Details Olehenriksen.com.

DIY MASSAGE
Can’t get to a spa? Treat yourself to a mini-facial massage at home to knead out tension, especially in the jaw and forehead. A luxurious massage milk with micro-collagens to plump skin. Massage on and go straight to bed — no rinsing necessary. Koh Gen Do Royal Massage Milk.

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SLEEP
According to the APA’s 2013 Stress in America survey, stress keeps 46 percent of women (and more than 52 percent of Millennials and 48 percent of Gen Xers) lying awake at night. And yet it’s sleep that we need to lower cortisol levels. Take steps to ensure you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep. Cut back on caffeine, stop screen time (TV, iPad, smartphone) at least one hour before bedtime and go to sleep at the same time each night to set circadian rhythms. Spray your sheets with calming lavender and get a cooling orthotic pillow (like Proper Pillow, proper- pillow.com) specially made to properly align your neck and spine for a truly restorative sleep.

 


 

YOGA
Yoga instructor Sunina Young shows us how these poses can help de-stress, even if you’ve never done a downward dog in your life.

Yoga helps you retrain your stress response by encouraging you to fully focus on your breath through poses. You can use this practical breathing technique in any life situation as well. As you go through each pose below, breathe and simply let it go. If a stressful thought sneaks into your mind, mentally say a calming affirmation like,“I now release all feelings of stress.”

Breathing Technique for Poses:
Inhale through your nose for seven counts, exhale through your nose for eight counts. Let whatever you are feeling pass naturally. Repeat this breathing pattern throughout your poses.

Calming Pose 1 (Moderate)
Hero pose (shown below, left) is great for improved digestion, better posture and knee, calf, ankle relief (calling all ladies in heels!). Start by standing on your knees so they are aligned with your hips. Press the tops of your feet down and into the ground. Open your calves out to the sides and sit your hips down to the ground, your behind between your heels. (If your butt doesn’t touch the ground, sit on a yoga block or a rolled up yoga mat.) Sit up tall, twist to the right, right hand placed behind you, left hand resting on top of the right thigh. Stay for seven to 10 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Affirmation: “All the tension in my muscles release freely.”

Calming Pose 2 (Dynamic)
Camel pose is a back-bending pose that creates space in your chest and lungs for better breathing. Be sure your body is warmed up before you get into this pose. Start with your knees hip width apart and hands at your lower back, spine lengthened and tall, crown of the head neutral, shoulders rolled back. With a deep breath in, lean back slowly with your chin tucked in. Thighs are spiraling inwards to maintain a strong foundation as you lean back further. Lift your chest as you lean further back. Only lean back where your body threshold permits. Reach your hands back to your heels and extend your head back slowly. Stay for seven to 10 breaths. Affirmation: “I am cool, calm and collected.”

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Sunina Young is a yoga instructor and blogger in New York City. Check out her blog at sunina.com.


If all else fails, just laugh. “The very act of moving your facial muscles to form a smile is already prompting your body to release endorphins,” says Tam. “Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and to increase feelings of euphoria, so we feel fewer negative effects of stress.” At the very least, we’ll look more attractive to the opposite sex.

 

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here.

Do You Love or Hate Her? Maria Kang Puts Up Yet Another Controversial Photo

Maria Kang, otherwise known as “fit mom,” is no stranger to controversy. The 32-year-old mother of three caused a social media uproar when she posted a photo of herself in a sports bra and short shorts, surrounded by her three young sons. A caption reading “Whats your excuse?” sparked a fire of online debates questioning whether or not the image was insulting to other women.

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Many of those who commented on her picture considered her an inspiration and applauded her for being proud of what she worked hard to achieve. Others felt like the caption rudely pointed a finger at overweight mothers by saying they make excuses even if there may be various reasons for their weight gain.

Of course, that was not the end of it. She decided to re-post the picture with an “apology,” but admits that it’s actually a “non-apology.”

I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way,” she wrote. “I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer,” she wrote, in part. “What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.

 

Kang then made an appearance on the Today show to voice her opinion that she shouldn’t apologize if people misunderstood her picture. As you can can expect, her actions were met with both praise and criticism. Simply put, people either loved Maria Kang or hated Maria Kang.

More recently, Kang was in the hotseat for publicizing her thoughts when she came across an online article which featured plus sized women posing in lingerie. She wrote:

The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation. While I think it’s important to love and accept your body, I was a little peeved because I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society.

 

Half the people said her words were a “hate speech” while the other half defended her and said everyone is entitled to their own opinion.Kang does not appear to be phased by all the comments. Yesterday she posted the following picture.

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Already, the photo been shared nearly 1,500 times and has gathered nearly 15,000 likes. Once again, her photo was flooded with love and hate. Is she a show-off or is she inspiring? Is she a bully or is she simply trying to show the importance of exercise? Kang seems to have heard it all. She has even set up a page which answers most of the questions thrown at her. She has also started the No Excuse Mom Group which encourages mothers to prioritize their health first.

So tell us what you think. Do you love or hate Maria Kang?

This May Be “The Best Anti-Smoking Ad” Ever

Avid smokers and anti-smokers disagree on quite a lot when it comes to cigarettes, but they can all agree on one thing: no matter how much people enjoy it, there is no doubt that smoking cigarettes can cause great deal of damage to your body. Regardless of the fine print on each package stating “Surgeon General’s Warning: Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy,” most continue to smoke and disregard the warning or cannot yet kick the habit. Whatever the reason may be, sometimes we all just need a little reminder as to how deadly cigarettes can be.

Just see for yourself below.

The campaign titled Smoking Kid was created for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation by Ogilvy & Mather. Although it was created over a year ago, it seems to have recently gone viral once again.

In the video, which won the Bronze Award at the 2012 Bronze Cannes Award, various adults are followed and are approached by a child with a cigarette asking for a light. Even more interesting than children asking for a light are the responses that the adults give to the children. Smoker after smoker, many with a cigarette still in hand, remind the children of how bad smoking is and tell the kids that they are too young.

A few moments later, the child responds with “If smoking is bad, why do you smoke?” They then give the adult a note which reads, “You worry about me. But why not about yourself? Reminding yourself is the most effective warning to help you quit.”

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The message that this video sends is definitely one that will not be forgotten. The filmmakers use of everyday life scenarios for this campaign contributes to the effectiveness of the video. It has opened up the eyes of many, including my own.

(Source: 1)

Get Ready to Party! Audrey Helps You Get Through the Holiday Season

’Tis the season to indulge, so go ahead — don’t let us be a wet blanket on the festivities. Just heed a bit of pre-party advice to minimize post-party fallout. And when you’ve binged to your heart’s content, we’ve got a few tips to help you recover.

PREGAME:

* Two weeks before, make sure your teeth are party-ready with Glo Science’s latest G-Vial whitening gel — just apply with a brush twice a day for 30 seconds.

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* Pregame like dermatologist extraordinaire Dr. Jessica Wu, who says in her book, Feed Your Face, that she like to have a snack (try almonds!) before a big dinner to avoid overeating.

* An hour out, before you slip on that special dress, maximize your hotness with a Wei Beauty Décolletage Treatment Pad, a mask with coconut water, kelp and free radical-fighting gingko, specifically made for the delicate skin on your chest.

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PARTY TIME:

* In her book, Dr. Wu recommends a dry red wine like cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir for maximum antioxidants (chardonnay, if you prefer white). If you’re more a cocktail kind of girl, she says go for vodka with club soda or diet tonic water.

* Don’t forget to hydrate with a glass of water after every drink. That’ll also help you moderate your drinking.

* After all that rich, scrumptious food, chew gum with xylitol, like Vitacare Whitening Gum, to freshen breath.

POST-PARTY:

* Whatever you do, don’t forget to take off your makeup. Keep Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water and Pure Cotton on your nightstand to remove even waterproof makeup with mineral-rich water from Japan’s Yumura Hot Springs — no tugging and no rinsing required.

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* In the morning, apply cotton balls soaked in soy milk (squeeze out the excess) for five minutes to reduce swelling, hydrate skin and constrict veins in bloodshot eyes, says Dr. Wu.

Read more tips to get you through the holiday season in Audrey‘s Winter 2013-14 issue, out now!

 

This Will Shock You: Salary Difference Between Male and Female Doctors

As women, we’d like to think we can bridge every gender gap there is. There have been more women striving for executive positions and more women in careers which were, back in the day, deemed too physically rigorous for the female body.  More and more, women are demanding leading positions to prove that we are just as capable as anyone else.

Which is why its alarming to discover that on average, female doctors make about $50,000 less than male doctors. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association show that instead of moving forward, the gender pay gap in health-care fields have grown within the past decade.

The Washington Post notes, “In the late 1980s, male physicians earned $33,840, or 20 percent, more in annual salary than their female counterparts. By the late 2000s, that grew to a 25.3 percent gap, a difference of $56,019 per year. The same trends showed up among dentists and physician assistants, but not pharmacists or health insurance executives.”

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Although nearly 50% of US medical students are female, the difference in salary is far from equal. The study noted that one of the larger factors of salary was dependent on what type of doctor one became. For instance, specialists, such as surgeons, typically earn significantly more than primary care providers. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, more than half of the country’s pediatricians are women, but fewer than 10%of orthopedic surgeons are women. And even without taking specialities into account, women still earn significantly less than their male peers.

So what is it? Do women unknowingly choose lower-paying specialties? Are women groomed into choosing particular careers over others? (Similar to the lack of women engineers due to the fact that we never grew up with engineering as a career option.) Women certainly work just as hard as men and are just as deserving.

Tell us what you think below.

 

Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! 7 Health Benefits of Coffee For Women

I picked up a lot of things from college: a more clear sense of the person I want to be, experiences I’ll never forget, a degree to help me move forward in this world-

Oh, and an addiction to coffee of course. 

Between the all-nighters, finals, and early classes, it was difficult not to grab a cup of joe to get through the day. At one point, I was surprised to find a particular emotion associated with this habit: guilt. Every time I felt I needed coffee to get through my day, I would feel as if I was doing something wrong.

Originally, I had believed that this may be because of my Asian upbringing. I grew up with the rumor that drinking coffee will stunt your growth (trust me, I definitely don’t need any more of that) and a general stigma around the drink. My parents created this idea so early on that I can still recall my first sip as a young girl. I got a thrill thinking I was doing something all the adults did (as if it were somehow as dangerous and bold as alcohol).

I then realized it wasn’t an “Asian thing” at all. Nearly everyone I met seemed to have that same sort of guilt when they had more than a single cup of coffee. How could something so good and addicting possibly be good for your health, right?

Well now we can all take a sigh of relief. Those whispered rumors that coffee may actually be good for you apparently have grounded evidence after all. Let’s all celebrate with a cup of coffee while we go through the various health benefits of coffee for women:

 

coffee beans

1) ANTIOXIDANTS GALORE 
According to a study from researches at the University of Scranton, coffee is one of the highest sources of antioxidants. In fact, its the number one source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. A single cup of coffee offers 1,299 milligrams of antioxidants compared to 294 milligrams found in a cup of tea and 76 milligrams from a banana. What does this mean? A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine reports women who drink 2-3 cups of coffee a day are 25% less likely to die of heart disease (for women and men, this percentage is still a hearty 18%). The antioxidants even help prevent diseases associated with the liver.

2) A CUP OF HAPPY 
Many women drink a cup of coffee as a pick me up. I’m guilty of dropping by a Starbucks to get an energy boost or simply to feel more hyper. As it turns out, the long term effects are even better. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who regularly drink coffee have a 20% lower risk of depression. In fact, the more coffee regularly consumed (up to six cups), the less likely it was for the woman to gain depression.

3) HELPS YOUR SKIN 
A new study from Brigham and Women’s hospital discovered that women who drank more than three cups of coffee daily had a 20% lower risk for basal cell carcinoma/skin cancer (Men had a 9% decrease). If course this certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore our sunscreen.

4) BOOSTS PERFORMANCE
The New York Times reports that caffeine “has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream which enables people to run or pedal longer.” It is no surprise that athletes often consume coffee prior to a game/match/ etc. After all, coffee is a completely legal way of boosting one’s energy.

5) LOWERS RISK OF TYPE II DIABETES
According to Science Daily, the consumption of 3-4 cups of coffee a day was linked to a 25% decreased risk of developing Type II diabetes. The American Diabetes Association points out that this decreased risk is especially prominent with younger and middle-aged women. Of course, this is only when coffee is consumed in moderation.

6) LOWERS RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S AND PARKINSON’S
Studies show that coffee drinkers have up to 60% lowered risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia and a 32%-60% lowered risk of Parkinson’s. The lowered risk has been consistent in studies for years though researchers are still trying to pinpoint exactly why.

7) CUP OF SMART
Caffeine temporarily boosts cognition, especially when one lacks sleep. While we definitely don’t suggest swapping a couple of cups of coffee for a couple of hours of sleep before a test, caffeine will improve the performance of the sleep-deprived. CNN reports, “Reaction time, vigilance, attention, logical reasoning — most of the complex functions you associate with intelligence. And most Americans are sleep-deprived most of the time.”
(Source 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)