The Salt for the People

via GIPHY

For the region of Uttar Pradesh anemia is a big problem and the solution is to be salted. At the University of Toronto they have developed a new kind of salt that has been proven to reduce amen rates and improve the health of the population. Called double-fortified salt the new kind of salt is iron rich which took 20 years of research to create. It’s been proven to work in India so maybe it can work in other parts the world too.

Diosady began testing the efficacy of his creation during a pilot project in 2004 in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where the government supplies impoverished school children with one hot meal each day.

Regular salt was replaced with double-fortified salt in the lunches of more than three million children, 85 per cent of whom were anemic.

“In eight months, we cured a million kids from anemia,” Diosady said. “At the end, only 50 per cent were anemic.”

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How to Boost Your Psychological Wellbeing in 2 Weeks

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Parents always tell their kids to eat more fruits and veggies, as adults we should do the same. A recent study has found that adding two extra servings of fruits or vegetables to your daily diet can improve your wellbeing in just two weeks. This is an easy way to improve your mood while also improving your health. Try setting an alert on your phone to remind you to eat that extra apple a day.

The researchers found that participants who personally received extra fruits and vegetables consumed the most of these products over the 2 weeks, at 3.7 servings daily, and it was this group that experienced improvements in psychological well-being. In particular, these participants demonstrated improvements in vitality, motivation, and flourishing.

This is the first study to show that providing high-quality FV to young adults can result in short-term improvements in vitality, flourishing, and motivation. Findings provide initial validation of a causal relationship between FV and well-being, suggesting that large-scale intervention studies are warranted.”

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Detroit’s Farms May Save the City

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Detroit is a city that has been witnessing a lot of change thanks to poor urban planning and bad economics. The past decade has been very rough for the people of Detroit and they are turning to old, but innovative, ways to revive the city. We have seen artists move to Detroit and even some tech companies. At the other end of the spectrum is a return to the land in the form of farming.

The low density neighbourhood design of the suburbs contributed to Detroit’s fall and now it might be saving the city by returning to arable land.

We were sitting at a picnic table nestled between his house and farm. Greg was in his early 40s, compact and wiry, with flecks of gray in his close-cropped black hair, his arms and face leathery from the sun. As he spoke, his leg jittered like a sewing-machine needle, and I got the impression that sitting still was torture for him. Most of our conversations occurred in moving vehicles, at his booth in the farmers’ market, or as we hacked at weeds or laid irrigation hose through fields.

Suburbia, Greg told me, was the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world: big, thin-walled houses that take loads of gas and electricity to heat and cool, acres of farmland and animal habitat bulldozed for useless lawns that guzzle water and gobble poisons, barrels of food scraps hauled across the county and buried in a landfill, sprawling subdivisions requiring cars and gasoline for the simplest of errands—mailing a package or buying a gallon of milk. What’s more, he said, suburbs encouraged isolation, cultivated a fear of strangers, and created enclaves that segregated the white middle class from poor people and brown people.

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You can Learn to be Luckier in Life

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Are you lucky? Do you want to be? Because you can increase your luck skills by practicing – seriously!

Christine Carter demystifies how luck works at the Greater Good Science Center where she is a sociologist and author of books on luck. In her efforts to examine luck she came across other research by Richard Wiseman who thinks luck comes down to observation and action. Over the last decade his research has revealed how we perceive luck and how we tend to miss out on “lucky” experiences due to anxious blindness.

Wiseman didn’t stop there. He turned these findings into a “luck school” where people could learn luck-inducing techniques based on four main principles of luck: maximizing chance opportunities, listening to your intuition, expecting good fortune, and turning bad luck to good. The strategies included using meditation to enhance intuition, relaxation, visualizing good fortune, and talking to at least one new person every week. A month later, he followed up with participants. Eighty percentsaid they were happier, luckier people.

“I thought if Wiseman can train people to be lucky, you can certainly teach those skills to our kids, and they have other really good side effects too,” says Carter, like better social skills and a stronger sense of gratitude. She came up with a few basic strategies for parents to teach their kids, including being open to new experiences, learning to relax, maintaining social connections, and (yes) talking to strangers. All of these techniques had one theme in common—being more open to your environment both physically and emotionally.

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Practicing Meditation Changes Your Brain and Sense of Self

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Achieving mindfulness through mediation can help you relax and even assist you in achieving a more fulfilling life. Recent fMRI studies have shown that this can be proven by looking at the brain itself; indeed, structures inside your brain tend to alter based on how much meditation one does! This is really neat stuff because it means you can change the way you think and process the world through a very simple practice!

What should the average person take away from your study?

Mindful self-awareness is a non-judgemental, present-moment awareness of body and contents of the mind. On the neural level, this form of awareness quietens regions related to inner speech, ​thinking about the self, and ruminating, while regions related to the perception of the body are activated. In our study we found that the neural pattern during mindful self and body awareness was stronger in less depressed, healthier individuals. Thus, mindful self-awareness seems to represent a particularly healthy mode of self-perception.

We also found – as expected – that neural activations related to mindful self-awareness were particularly strong in expert mindfulness meditators. More interestingly, we also show that when we instruct untrained participants to enter relatively short periods of mindful self-awareness in the MRI scanner, these patterns can also be seen in untrained participants.

This means, meditation training increases the ability to perceive the self in a more healthy, present-moment, body-centered way, but also that already in untrained individuals, short periods of mindful self-awareness are possible and offer the potential to enter a healthy self-perception state.​

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