Chocolate Milk, Moustaches, Apples

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We all know that you should eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day, exercise regularly and cut down on saturated fat. But in recent years scientists have discovered a host of new – and rather more surprising – health tips and remedies.

Here, we reveal some of the more unusual advice for your well-being, including the virtues of chocolate milk and why high heels are good for you…

DITCH THE WHISKERS TO BEAT SNEEZES

If you’re prone to allergies, you might want to reconsider that moustache.

One study suggests that men who washed their moustaches twice a day with liquid soap used fewer antihistamines and decongestants. The reason?

Cleaning got rid of stuck pollen grains.

Dr. Rob Hicks, GP and author of Beat Your Allergy, says: ‘Like clothing, skin and hair, a moustache will trap pollen throughout the day.

‘A man with hay fever might consider shaving off his moustache to see whether it makes a difference.

‘That would probably be easier and more effective than remembering to wash it twice a day.’

SNIFF AN APPLE TO STOP A MIGRAINE

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it turns out they may have health benefits beyond that.

A recent study of 50 people by The Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation of Chicago found that the odour of green apple helped to reduce the severity of their migraines.

‘This may have something to do with the ability of pleasant fragrances to relax us and reduce tension,’ says Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Somerville College, Oxford. ‘The odour may also help to distract people from thinking about the pain of the migraine.’

Another study found that apple aroma could help to relieve claustrophobia, by making a room seem bigger.

Apples, in particular, are thought to help because people associate them with being outside.

WEAR HIGH HEELS TO SAVE YOUR KNEES

It’s advice that will have women across the country rejoicing – high heels can be good for you.

Researchers at Warwick and Oxford Brookes universities discovered that wearing high heels may make women less likely to develop arthritic changes in the knee joint in later life.

At the very least, they were no worse off than women opting for low footwear.

The study, published earlier this year, comprised 111 women aged 50 to 70.

It’s thought that by exercising the muscles of the leg, heel-wearers may build up better support for their knees as they age.

Professor Margaret Thorogood, from the Medical School at Warwick University, says: ‘Women who wear stiletto heels will be reassured to learn that their choice of fashion-before-comfort footwear will not lead to joint problems and may even prevent them.’

A separate study suggests that wearing heels can do wonders for a woman’s sex life. Italian urologist Dr Maria Cerruto discovered that a pair of ‘moderately high-heeled shoes’ had beneficial effects, toning the legs and strengthening the pelvic muscles.

‘They directly work the pleasure muscles which are linked to an orgasm,’ she says.

KEEP TABLETS IN THE LINEN CLOSET

The worst place you can store your medication is the bathroom. If medication is constantly exposed to light, heat or humidity – exactly the climate in a steamy bathroom – it could degrade faster than it should, reducing its potency and efficacy.

Instead, choose a dry, dark spot and you could help to preserve the potency of your pills.

Neal Patel, pharmacist at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society says: ‘A cool dry, dark area such as the linen closet is ideal.’

RETUNE THE RADIO TO LOSE WEIGHT

Perhaps it’s about time you skipped The Archers. Doing something different every day – even just switching radio stations – shakes us out of our daily routine and can help us kick bad habits, according to Professor Ben Fletcher, a psychologist at Hertfordshire University.

‘Deeply engrained habits of thinking and behaviour keep us doing things that are bad for us, like smoking, eating and drinking too much or becoming stuck in negative thought patterns, all of which impacts on our health,’ he says. ‘We can make our lives so much better by making very small changes.’

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