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The formation of an ‘ice finger of death’ caught live on camera.

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icy finger of death

In this day and age, it’s easy to think that we’ve seen everything nature could possibly have to offer- we’ve got blood moons, bioluminescent water, thundereggs, the Northern Lights, volcanic lightning– the list goes on and on.

Despite this, nature still manages to surprise and amaze us, and continues to produce natural phenomena that baffle the world’s top scientists. One such phenomenon has been known to scientists for decades, but is rarely seen: the brinicle.

The Brinicle: A Finger of Death

Scientists have been aware of the existence of brinicles since the 1960s, however catching them in action has proven to be extremely difficult [1]. 

These icy, finger-like projections found beneath the Antarctic ice shelf were first caught on camera nearly ten years ago by Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the Discovery Channel special series Frozen Planet.

The producer of the show Kathryn Jeffs described how the entire team was blown away by how beautiful these haunting structures were.

“We were exceptionally excited and we knew we had something that had never been filmed before, never been seen before,” she said. “No one has really seen the formation of a brinicle.” [2]

Now, for the first time ever, the formation of a brinicle has been caught live on camera by Sir David Attenborough and his team of BBC filmmakers.

What is a Brinnicle?

A brinicle, or brine-icicle, is often referred to as a “sea stalactite” because of its resemblance to stalactites that form inside caves. 

Brinicles develop when sea ice forms in the Arctic and Antarctic during the winter. Ice is made up of pure water, so in order for ice to form in the saltwater ocean, it must force the salt out. This is why ice made from seawater is not as salty as the water from which it was formed [3].

The saltier the water, the colder it needs to be for that water to freeze. As salt leaks out of the forming ice, it causes the water surrounding it to become more saline, which lowers its freezing temperature and increases its density. Because of this, the water is too salty to freeze, and dense enough to sink toward the ocean floor [3].

This creates highly saline brine channels within the ice block, which is very porous. As the salty, dense water sinks downward, it freezes the water around it, which is far less salty in comparison. This is what creates that finger-like shape and appearance [4].

Dr. Andrew Thurber is a Postdoctoral Fellow supported by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, and is one of the few scientists who has seen brinicle growth firsthand. He describes these icy, finger-like projections as a fantastical scene.

“They look like upside-down cacti that are blown from glass,” he said, “like something from Dr. Suess’s imagination. They’re incredibly delicate and can break with the slightest touch.” [4]

Beautiful, but Deadly

Occasionally brinicles will sink all the way to the ocean floor. As this super-cooled liquid spreads, it will freeze any bottom-dwelling creatures in its path, including sea urchins and starfish.

Thurber explains that in areas where brinicles were previously located, or underneath very active ones, small pools of brine form that he and his colleagues call “black pools of death”.

“They can be quite clear but have the skeletons of many marine animals that have haphazardly wandered into them,” [4].

The Origins of Life on Earth?

The study of brinicles is still relatively new, but scientists believe that life on Earth may have originated from these icy projections. If this is the case, it could mean that they may foster conditions that are suitable for life on other planets and moons, including Ganymede and Callisto, two of Jupiter’s moons [5].

As the study of these mysterious formations continues, we will hopefully gain further insight into how they are formed and what impact they may have on our planet.

Keep Reading: Scientists Are Hunting For A Mirror Universe And Attempting To Open Portals Into It

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16 Unusual Ways To Use Rosemary That Goes Way Beyond Cooking

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rosemary in a black bowl

When you think about rosemary, you may imagine those dried, spikey bits that you find in the spice aisle at your local grocery store. While not everyone loves the dried stuff, however, fresh rosemary makes a very aromatic and flavourful addition to many dishes and has been a popular herb in the kitchen for many years with many other uses.

You may be familiar with rosemary on your potatoes, but what you might not know is that this delicious herb has a number of uses, not just in the kitchen, but in your medicine cabinet, your skincare routine, and in your home.

Continue reading to learn unique ways that you can use this incredibly versatile herb.

Read: Study: 3g of Cinnamon is the Proper Daily Dosage for Maximum Benefits

Five Ways to Use Rosemary as Food

  1. In Vinegars and Oils. Making a vinegar or oil infusion with rosemary is a delicious and simple way to preserve the flavor of rosemary without the herb itself going bad. Both can be used in any recipe that requires oil or vinegar, and the oil can be used as a delicious dip for warm, crusty bread. For step-by-step instructions, try this recipe for vinegar, or this recipe for rosemary olive oil.
  2. Sauces and Soups. Whole sprigs of rosemary can easily be tossed into any soup, stew, sauce, or marinade to add a punch of flavor. Rosemary pairs well with many other ingredients like citrus, butter, oil, balsamic, garlic, and pepper, and is especially good in heartier soups with root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
  3. Herb butter. Flavored butter can add a whole new dimension to your cooking, and makes a delicious alternative to regular butter on a warm piece of bread. What’s more, it’s easy to make! This recipe for garlic and rosemary butter is just one example of a delicious butter infusion.
  4. Drinks. Rosemary can add a savory twist to some of your favorite drinks- alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike. Whether you’re trying to liven up your glass of water, or wanting to impress your guests with a unique cocktail, rosemary is a great addition to many beverages.
  5. Dessert. Rosemary pairs very well with fruits and sweeter flavors, including lemon and apple, and can even be combined with dark chocolate for a surprising and elegant dessert, such as in these rosemary and dark chocolate shortbread bars [1].

Read: 17 Medicinal Plants You Can Find in Your Backyard: Colds, Headaches, Bloating, Hypertension, and more

Five Ways to Use Rosemary Medicinally

  1. Relieve anxiety and stress. There have been some studies that have shown that inhaling rosemary oil decreases your pulse rate during stressful situations (like test writing). Since pulse rates reflect short-term stress, rosemary oil may help to reduce stress naturally [2].
    In another study, participants who sniffed rosemary oil for five minutes had 23 percent lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in their saliva than those who did not [3].
  2. Improve brain function. Although more research is needed to confirm this, there has been some research to show that inhaling rosemary oil helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, which is a chemical in your brain that is important for thinking, concentration, and memory [4].

    Additionally, there is some research to suggest that breathing rosemary oil may help improve brain function in patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease [5].

  3. High in antioxidants, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Rosemary tea contains rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid, which are polyphenolic compounds that demonstrate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity [6,7].
    These compounds also have antimicrobial properties to help fight infections and have even shown potential in slowing the growth of cancerous tumors [8,9].
  4. Pain relief. There has been one animal study to suggest that rosemary oil may be a slightly more effective pain reliever than acetaminophen [15]. Another study conducted on human stroke survivors with shoulder pain showed benefit as well. Participants experienced a 30 percent reduction in pain after combining rosemary aromatherapy with acupuncture. This was compared to 15 percent for those who only received acupuncture treatment only [10].
  5. Reduce joint inflammation. More research is needed on rosemary’s impact on joint inflammation, but there is some early evidence to suggest that rosemary oil may help reduce tissue inflammation associated with pain and swelling by stemming the migration of white blood cells to injured tissues to release inflammatory chemicals [11]. This could be potentially beneficial for individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. 

Read: Thyme Benefits: A Medicinal Herb and A Natural Antibiotic

Three Ways Rosemary can be used on the Body

  1. Stimulate hair growth. Rosemary oil can treat androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness) by preventing a byproduct of testosterone from attacking hair follicles, and massaging rosemary oil into the scalp twice daily has been shown to stimulate hair regrowth [12,16].
  2. Increase circulation. If you struggle with Raynaud’s disease (which impairs circulation), or simply find you always have cold hands and feet, massaging a rosemary oil blend into your hands may help warm them up. It is possible that rosemary oil helps expand your blood vessels, which warms your blood so that it reaches your fingers and toes more easily, but more research is needed [13,17].
  3. Fight acne. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of rosemary make it particularly beneficial in the treatment of many skin issues. Whole-plant rosemary extract has been shown to reduce the inflammation associated with acne, as well as fight bacteria that cause acne outbreaks [14].

Two Ways Rosemary can be Used in the Home

  1. Simmer pots. If you want to make your home smell amazing, a simple simmer pot as an easy, chemical-free way to do so. All you have to do is fill a pot with water, add your favorite aromatics, and let it simmer gently on the stove top, adding more water as it gradually evaporates. Rosemary, sliced oranges, cranberries, and cinnamon will give your home a holiday-inspired scent, while a simple lemon and rosemary pot will just make your home smell bright and fresh [1].
  2. Pest control. Rosemary acts as a deterrent for many pests and insects. You can place sprigs of rosemary by your doors and windows to prevent them from entering your home, or use a spray of ten drops of rosemary oil mixed with one cup of water.

    Rosemary can also be a deterrent for mice, and some suggest placing a few sprigs in the back of your cupboards, where mice typically like to hide [1].

An All-Natural, Multi-Purpose Herb

While many of the benefits of rosemary require more study, it is generally considered safe to use and has very few side effects. Remember when using rosemary extract or oil that it is highly concentrated, so you only need a few drops. Rosemary essential oil should not be used internally, and should typically be diluted in a solution or carrier oil when applying to the skin.

As always, check with your doctor before adding anything new to your health regime, and if you notice any negative side effects, discontinue use right away.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Keep Reading: 15 Medicinal Plants That Can Easily Be Grown In Your Yard

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Revamp Breakfast With This Vegan Avocado Garlic Butter

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vegan avocado garlic butter recipe

Avocados are among the most versatile of foods. They are delicious on their own, perhaps sprinkled with a bit of sea salt, but they pair perfectly with salads, eggs, toast, pasta, sushi, or used in sweet dishes like ice cream, fudge, frosting, and brownies.  Add this delicious recipe to the plethora of avocado creations. This Avocado Garlic Butter takes advantage of the naturally mild flavor and creaminess of the fruit to create a vegan butter for anyone to enjoy on toast in the morning.  

Fooddeco creator Colette Dike came up with the recipe for the creamy avocado butter while creating foods for her fifth avocado-centric cookbook, which is due to be out this fall.  

“I like it more than regular butter,” she says. “Avocado has such a creamy texture and since I’m lactose intolerant myself, I thought why not make a butter out of it? It resulted in a super creamy garlic butter. My test-panel [was] super enthusiastic and even thought it was the real butter.” 

Dike explains that she loves spreading the avocado butter on warm naan bread, toast, or as part of a healthy snack platter. This recipe is a first look of the new cookbook, and she has an insider tip to get the best results from this avocado butter: “You want it to be ice-cold and rolled up in your fridge to set,” she says. Otherwise, the butter may not keep its proper shape and can fall apart. 

Health Benefits of Avocados 

Avocados are known as superfoods and for good reason. They are rich in nutrients like vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, and magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. They are known for being dense in healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids. Although fat has been given a bad name in the past, it’s essential for the body. It supports skin health and enhances the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients. They also help a person feel satisfied after a meal and slow the process of breaking down carbohydrates, which can keep blood sugar levels stable. 

“Avocados have great anti-inflammatory properties,” said San Diego-based nutritionist Laura Flores. She listed avocados’ “phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols” as being able to “help both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.” 

Additionally, avocados are extremely beneficial for the heart, they protect the eyes, and, as mentioned, they can support bone health.  

“Avocados are high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease risk for heart disease,” said Anne Mauney, a dietitian based in Washington, D.C. 

Foods containing high levels of folate, like avocados, may help decrease the risk of depression, support a healthy pregnancy, has the potential to protect against certain cancers. [1] 

“Avocados have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the mouth, skin, and prostate,” said Flores. This is “due to the unusual mix of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory characteristics.” [2] 

Best of all, you can enjoy all of these great health benefits in almost any form, whether it’s adding cubes of avocado into a salad, placing slices onto toast, mashing them into guacamole, or baking cake or brownies. For this recipe, ensure the avocados are ripe by gently pressing against their skin. If the skin doesn’t budge, allow it to ripen for a few more days, or place it in a paper bag with a banana to speed up the process. 

Avocado Garlic Butter 

Recipe by Colette Dike 

Ingredients 

  • 2 ripe avocados, pit and skin removed 
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, grated 
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted 
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice 
  • Small bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped 
  • Sea salt, to taste 

Instructions 

  1. Cut the avocados in half. Peel the skins and remove the pits. 
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor until the mixture becomes super smooth. Scrape down the sides as you blend to ensure the texture is consistent. Season to taste with sea salt.  
  1. Spread a rectangular piece of aluminum foil onto a cutting board, and put a piece of plastic wrap on top. Ensure it is the same size of the aluminum foil. Scoop the avocado mixture onto the plastic wrap and fold the plastic wrap lengthwise, rolling it up a bit, like a yule cake. Then, fold the aluminum foil and twist it in the opposite direction until it resembles a firm log. 
  1. Refrigerate (or freeze for a quicker result) for at least three hours to allow the flavors infuse and the mixture to set and firm up. 

If you like this recipe, here are some others with this superfood: 

[1] “Why is avocado good for you?” Megan Ware, RDN, L.D. Medical News Today. September 12, 2017 

[2] “Avocados: Health Benefits, Risks & Nutrition Facts.” Jessie Szalay. Live Science. October 24, 2014 

The post Revamp Breakfast With This Vegan Avocado Garlic Butter appeared first on The Hearty Soul.

Where and when you’ll be able to see the July 4 lunar eclipse in the US

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July 4 lunar eclipse

This year, Independence Day is going to give people more than just a fireworks show. July 4th is also bringing a lunar eclipse with it. It’s being dubbed the ‘buck moon’ lunar eclipse, and this is everything you need to know about when and how to see it.

July 4th Lunar Eclipse

During the night of July 4th, the full moon will pass through a portion of the Earth’s shadow, creating a lunar eclipse. This specific eclipse will be visible primarily in North and South America, but those living in some parts of Africa and Western Europe may also be able to get in on the show. As long as it’s a clear night, anyone up a bit later for Independence Day will have something to entertain them after the fireworks are over. (1)

The Details

The eclipse is set to begin at 11:07 pm eastern on July 4th and continue until 1:52 am eastern on July 5th. The best time to view it is right in the middle of the eclipse, so around 12:30 am. You don’t need a telescope or any fancy equipment, all you have to do is look up at the moon. (1)

Read: 13 Full Moons, 2 Super Moons, And One Blue Moon Coming Up this 2020

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

There are three types of lunar eclipse (2):

  • Total
  • Partial
  • Penumbral

Of the three, penumbral is the most challenging to see because it is more subtle. This is because the moon passes through only the Earth’s outer shadow, the penumbra, and doesn’t cover up the umbra, or the Earth’s darkest inner shadow. (2)

A penumbral lunar eclipse typically appears as a dark shading on the face of the moon. This is very unlike total lunar eclipses, where the moon is entirely dark and turns a dark red or even orange-like color. (2)

Who Can See It

North and South Americans will have the best view of the July 4th lunar eclipse. If you live in the Western U.S., the lower Midwest, certain parts of Texas, and the Canadian Prairies, you’ve got the best chance of spotting it. (1)

The eclipse may be viewable in other parts of the U.S. as well, however, the current weather forecast is not promising the clear skies necessary to see it. Some parts of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, however, should have enough cloud breaks that people living in those regions should be able to get a peek at the shadowy, eclipsed moon. (1)

The next time there will be a lunar eclipse in this region of the world will be November 30th. Also a penumbral eclipse, the November 30th version will be visible over most of the Americas, Australia, and Eastern Asia. The next total lunar eclipse will be May 26, 2021, and will be visible in the same areas as the November 30th penumbral eclipse. (1)

Other Celestial Sightings this Weekend

On Sunday night, July 5th, if you look to the southeasterly sky, the moon will be shining extremely close to Saturn and Jupiter. This means that the two planets will be close together and highly visible all night long, starting at about 10 pm local time. (1)

Keep Reading: Photographer ‘Accidentally’ Captures Incredible Photos of a Brilliant Green Meteor

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There’s A Theme Park That Allows Kids To Operate Construction Machinery

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diggerland

Whether you were a kid who was star-struck by construction equipment or have a child who is, Diggerland is the place for you. That’s right, there is a theme park where instead of roller coasters and thrill rides, kids get to operate construction equipment.

Diggerland: A Construction Lover’s Dream Park

In West Berlin, New Jersey, kids are going crazy for construction. Though many kids enjoy playing with miniature backhoes, dump trucks, and excavators, here they get to play with the real thing. Created to be as realistic as possible, visitors to Diggerland have the opportunity to operate this machinery all on their own. (1)

With 25 different attractions over 21 acres of land to explore, there is much for children to do at Diggerland. The machines, of course, have been modified to fit their much smaller operators and are adjusted to be suitable and safe for every guest. (1)

Day passes are just $30 and a season’s pass only $50. This also gives you access to the parks’ military truck adventures and the rope course. (1)

Diggerland also offers birthday parties, adult activities and corporate party packages, and an annual family camp-out night. Visit their website for more information. (1)

Read: 21 Unbelievable Places That Look Like They’re From Another Planet

Other Interesting Theme Parks in the U.S.

Diggerland isn’t the only slightly out-there theme park that the United States has to offer. Check out the list below to find the oddest theme-park near you:

Would you check out any of these interesting and off-the-wall theme parks?

Keep Reading: Stunning Living Sculpture Changes Its Appearance With The Seasons

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A scientific study claims that your age affects how you see this famous optical illusion

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optical illusion

There are many different optical illusions that have stumped people for decades- the Impossible Trident, the Cafe Wall Illusion, and the Impossible Elephant are just a few examples of how easily your eyes can be tricked.

One of the most famous of these illusions is “My Wife and Mother-in-Law”, also known as the Boring Figure, which has been making people look twice (or three or four times) since 1915 [1]. The famous brain teaser was created by British Cartoonist William Elly Hill, and includes two images in one. Depending on the way you look at it, you see a young woman with her face turned away from you, or you see the profile of an old woman.

A study conducted a couple of years ago in Australia used the image as an example of how age-bias affects subconscious face perception.

my wife and my mother in law optical illusion
“My Wife and My Mother-in-Law” from 1915.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Your Age Affect What You See

The 2018 study was conducted by researchers at Flinders University in Australia. Since you can only see one of the figures at a time, the researchers concluded that which image you see first depends on your age [2].

The participants in the study, which included 242 males and 141 females (393 participants in total), ranged in age from 18 to 68, with a median age of 32. They were shown the image for half a second, then were asked the gender and the age of the person they saw [2].

In short, the researchers found that a younger person will see the younger woman first, and older people will see the older woman first [3].

Not only was a younger person more likely to see the younger woman first, but they tended to guess the age of the woman in the image to be younger as well. On average, younger participants guessed the age of the woman to be 6.3 years younger than the older participants [3].

Read: If You Have These 10+ Characteristics, You Belong to the World’s Rarest Personality Type

What Does this Mean?

The consistency between the age of the participant and the perceived age of the woman in the image demonstrated what psychologists call “own-age bias” in face recognition. Basically, this means that younger people recognize younger people’s faces more accurately than older people, and older people recognize older people’s faces more accurately than younger people [4].

According to the researchers, younger people are more significantly affected by own-age bias than those who are older [3]. Basically, we are better at recognizing people who are within our own age group.

An adult’s ability to recognize a face is shaped by experience. Younger people, who have less life experience, not only recognize faces of their own age more accurately but also faces of people from the same race.

This can be explained by differences in the way in-group and out-group faces are processed. In-groups faces are processed at an individual level, while out-group faces are processed at the categorical level, making it harder to recognize them at an individual level [5].

All of this offers an explanation as to why a child thinks their sixty-year-old grandmother “must be a hundred”, or why someone who has not had significant exposure to people of a different culture may have a harder time differentiating between individuals of that culture.

Read: Who’s the Biggest Fool? Your Choice Reveals a Lot About Your Personality

Your Experience Shapes Your Reality

All of this is to say that your experience can have a significant impact on your initial interpretation of an image at a subconscious level. The more people you meet and interact with, the better you will become at differentiating between faces of people from different age groups, cultures, and even genders.

This study pointed out, however, that even older adults still had an easier time seeing the older face, which shows that even with more life experience and exposure to different people, you’re still likely going to have an easier time recognizing faces that are similar to yours.

Keep Reading: How Fast Can You Find The Odd Turtle In This Picture?

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What pandemic? Carnival Cruise bookings soar 600% for August trips

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cruise ship

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit North America in February, cruise ships became a case-study for the rest of the world of how quickly and easily the virus could spread through a group of people in a confined space. The Diamond Princess, operated by Carnival Cruises, was a topic of national conversation when more than seven hundred of its passengers tested positive for the virus, and over a dozen people died.

Not surprisingly, the cruise ship industry sustained a significant blow as travel bans and lockdown orders were put in place. After months of entire cruise ship fleets were docked indefinitely, some companies, including Carnival Cruises, are preparing to hit the seas again- and passengers are clamoring to get on board.

Read: Black light experiment shows how quickly a virus like Covid-19 can spread at a restaurant

Carnival Cruise Bookings Soar

It seems that the possibility of being stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean with hundreds of infected passengers is not a concern to many Americans. At the beginning of May, Carnival Cruise announced that some of its ships would be resuming in August, and within days of the announcement the number of bookings increased by six hundred percent [1].

What may come as even more of a shock to some, is that the number of bookings for August 2020 is up two hundred percent from the previous year, despite the fact that in 2019 no one had ever heard of the coronavirus or social distancing; the deadly pandemic was far from anyone’s minds [1].

Starting August first, eight ships will be departing from Port Canaveral and Miami in Florida, as well as from Galveston, Texas. In a news release, the cruise line stated that they are committed to supporting public health experts to help manage the COVID-19 situation.

“We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service on a select number of home ports where we have more significant operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our guests.” [2]

Bookings for 2021 cruises have also increased forty percent over bookings from 2019 [3].

Read: Carnival Executives Knew They Had a Virus Problem, But Kept the Party Going

Cruisers are Not Deterred

A poll conducted by the review site CruiseCritic.com determined that 75 percent of the 4600 cruise customers who were questioned said that they planned to continue booking cruises at the same rate as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic began [3].

Another survey conducted by The Harris Poll also found that only 22 percent of respondents said it would be “a year or longer” before they would get on another cruise ship [3].

As for the current surge in bookings, according to a Cruise Planners representative, people who are booking cruises are generally younger and healthier and thus are not concerned about travelling despite rising case numbers.

The representative also noted that other contributing factors for the increase in bookings could be the pent-up desire to travel after spending months in lockdown, and of course the low price tag, since you can now book a Carnival Cruise for as little as 28 dollars per night [1].

How Unsafe are Cruises?

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the CDC ordered that all cruise ships be docked for more than three months before resuming business. The hope, at the time, was that three months would be enough to get over the worst of the pandemic [4].

Over the last couple of weeks, however, coronavirus cases in the United States have been increasing at an alarming rate, with over 52 thousand new cases reported on July 2 [5].

Cruise ships are the perfect place for a deadly virus to circulate easily and quickly. Hundreds- or sometimes thousands- of guests are all confined to a relatively small space, making social distancing a near-impossible task.

Activities on the ships focus on groups and bringing passengers together in places like pools, casinos, bars, showrooms, and buffets, where people crowd around tables and other small places. This creates a perfect opportunity for a virus to spread.

Claire Panosian Dunavan, professor of medicine emeritus in the infectious diseases division of UCLA’s School of Medicine, says that cruise ships are an inherently high-risk setting.

 “A lot of people crammed together touching the same surfaces… I think this is the virus that is revealing the inherent vulnerability of this popular form of travel.” [5]

The CDC has classified cruise travel as “Warning- Level Three”, and recommends that all cruise travel be deferred worldwide while the pandemic continues, stating that cruise passengers are at an increased risk for person-to-person spread of infectious diseases [6].

A Cheap Trip- But What’s the Cost?

The cruise line industry has lost billions of dollars of revenue as a result of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such are eager to fill their rooms and get back out to sea. For this reason, prices are slashed and cruise travel is now more affordable than ever before.

The question is- as the novel coronvirus continues to threaten public health and safety, is the cheap price tag really worth the risk?

Keep Reading: Carnival Cruise Caught Dumping Food and Plastic Waste into the Ocean

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Science Says Your Younger Sister May Be Making You Fat

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sister hugging

Having a younger sister can be a wonderful thing. She can be like a built-in best friend, someone to share a wardrobe with, and can often act as an easy scapegoat to blame when you get in trouble.

If you have a younger sister, science says you may have something else you can blame her for: she might be making you fat.

Your Younger Sister Might be Making You Fat

There have been a number of studies that have shown differences in body type between first-born and later-born men, mainly that the older sibling tended to have a higher BMI than his younger brother [1]. 

In 2015, a group of scientists from Sweden set out to determine if the same is true for women by conducting a study. They started by collecting clinic records from the Swedish National Birth Register from 1991 to 2009 and assessed 13 406 pairs of sisters, measured their weight and height, and collected data on their current health, lifestyle, and family history [2].

The researchers found that firstborns were actually lighter than their younger sisters at birth, but were 29 percent more likely to be overweight and 40 percent more likely to be obese as they got older.

The number of children in a family was not associated with an increase in body mass index (BMI), however having more siblings was associated with shorter height. This is possibly due to what researchers call the “resource dilution hypothesis”, which suggests that the more children in a family, the less resources there are for any one child [3].

Read: Having a Sister Is Beneficial To Your Mental Health, Studies Show

How Can this Be?

Science says that there is growing evidence that firstborns may be at a higher risk for health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure in adulthood, but the cause of this still remains somewhat of a mystery.

One possible reason is that a mother is more likely to overfeed her first baby, and that overfeeding continues. Another is that the firstborn competes with their younger sibling for food, or that more money gets spent on the firstborn child [4].

Whatever the reason, it is important to note that all of this data is observational, and more research needs to be done to determine exactly why older siblings seem to be more at risk for being overweight.

Read: The Pros and Cons of Being a Second-Born or Middle Child

Family Size and Obesity

One interesting observation made by the researchers is the possible link between the reduction in family size and the overall increase in obesity around the world.

“The steady reduction in family size may be a contributing factor to the observed increase in adult BMI worldwide, not only among men, but also among women,” they concluded [2].

So if you’re an older sister (or brother), it may be tempting to blame your younger sibling on your weight gain, but in reality it is not so much because they are younger that you are more prone to being overweight, but rather because you were born before them.

Keep Reading: Evidence Your Older Sibling Is Probably Smarter Than You

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8 of the Best Anti-Cancer Foods. It’s Time to Start Adding them to Your Diet

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wakame salad

According to the American Cancer Society, the average adult in the United States has about a forty percent chance of developing cancer during their lifetime [1]. Because it is such a prevalent disease, doctors and scientists are constantly searching for treatments and cures.

When it comes to cancer research, one of the main focuses is prevention. While most experts agree that there is nothing you can do to guarantee that you will not develop cancer, there are many lifestyle factors that can help decrease your risk significantly. One of these is diet.

“Research tells us that making healthy food choices consistently over time can reduce your risk of getting cancer, but you can’t say with absolute certainty that food can prevent cancer,” says wellness dietitian Lindsey Wohlford. “There are no guarantees.” [2]

The dietary habits that affect cancer risk can be attributed to having too much of some things, and too little of others. Too much red & processed meats, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, and sugars, can increase your cancer risk. So too can too little exercise and too few phytochemical-rich foods [3].

You may have heard the term “cancer-fighting foods” before. To be clear, there are no foods that can actually fight against cancer, however there are some foods that, when consumed regularly, provide your body with certain nutrients that it needs in order to effectively prevent cancer from developing.

“Cancer-fighting foods” are usually plant foods that contain phytochemicals (mentioned above). Also referred to as phytonutrients, these chemicals are compounds found in plants that can help prevent a number of chronic diseases, including cancer [2].

In order to decrease your risk of developing cancer, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and other health care practitioners recommend that you eat a variety of phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

Read: 9 Foods That Could Make Eczema Worse (And Many That Can Help)

8 Foods to Help Lower Cancer Risk

Wohlford says that the best way to get the most protection from cancer is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and the easiest way to do this is to “eat the rainbow”- that is, choose a wide variety of colors when you’re at the grocery store.

“Keep in mind that there are more than 4,000 phytochemicals that have been discovered and researched,” she says. “There’s not any one super-food that contains all of them. They all offer different functions and benefits.” [2]

The following foods are known as cancer-fighting powerhouses. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but including them in your diet is a good start to lowering your cancer risk.

1. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and turnips, among many others. They are rich in a number of important nutrients, including carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin), vitamins C, E, and K, folate, and minerals [4].

These hearty vegetables are also an excellent source of glucosinolates, indoles, and isothiocyanates, which are the sulfur-containing chemicals that give cruciferous vegetables their pungent aroma. These compounds have been associated with a lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer [5].

Research has indicated that eating cruciferous vegetables can lower your risk for developing several types of cancers, including prostate, colorectal, lung, and breast cancer [4].

2. Turmeric

This popular, bright orange spice comes from the root of the turmeric plant and is related to the ginger family. There are over one hundred different compounds in turmeric, but the curcumin it contains is the active ingredient that provides most of its benefits [6].

There is some research to show that turmeric may play a role in the prevention of cancer, possibly because it lowers inflammation levels throughout the body. Inflammation underlies most chronic diseases, including cancer, so decreasing inflammation in your body can help to prevent it.

Other studies suggest that including curcumin in chemotherapy treatment may make it more effective [7] and that it may protect healthy cells from damage due to radiation treatment [8].

3. Mushrooms

A study of over 36 thousand Japanese men over several decades has suggested that eating mushrooms can lower the risk of developing prostate cancer, especially for men over the age of fifty [9].

Mushrooms are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, in particular L-ergothioneine, which is believed to mitigate oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices, as well as environmental toxins, that can lead to chronic inflammation and disease [9].

Another study also found that consuming mushrooms had a preventative effect on breast cancer in women [10].

Medicinal mushrooms, which usually refer to more exotic, specialty mushrooms, have also shown promise in preventing cancer, again because of their glutathione, ergothioneine, and polysaccharide content [11].

Examples of these kinds of mushrooms include reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, and maitake varieties. Studies have found that these fungi affect your body’s antitumor mechanisms, by stimulating certain immune cells [12]. Turkey Tail is particularly notable and contains a unique polysaccharide known as PK (polysaccharide K), a known cancer adjunct therapy for the immune system [21].

4. Allium Vegetables

Allium vegetables include onions, shallots, leeks, and garlic. While studies of these vegetables’ effect on cancer have been observational, scientists around the world have consistently found a link between eating garlic and onions and preventing cancers of the gut, like colon cancer [13].

In fact, a 2019 study of over 1600 Chinese men and women found that those who ate more garlic and onions had a 79 percent lower chance of developing colorectal cancer [14].

Read: Eat Your Water: 13 of the Most Hydrating Foods

5. Wakame

There have been some animal and lab studies to suggest that eating wakame, an edible type of seaweed, can suppress the growth of breast cancer, colon cancer, and kidney cancer cells [15,16].

The success of these studies has not yet been replicated in humans, so more research is necessary to determine the exact role that wakame plays in cancer prevention.

Wakame is also an excellent source of iodine, an essential mineral. When it comes to iodine and disease prevention, studies have shown that either too much or too little can have an effect when it comes to reducing your risk of thyroid cancer [22]. So in this case your goal should be to obtain adequate iodine from your diet.

Wakame on average contains around 42mcg [23] of iodine per serving, which is about 28% of your daily intake [24].

6. Lycopene-Rich Foods

There is a growing body of research to suggest that consuming foods rich in lycopene can lower your risk for certain types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer [17].

Lycopenes are a type of antioxidant in the carotenoid family that gives tomatoes, watermelons, and grapefruits their red and pink colors. As a whole, carotenoids have been associated with a lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer [18].

Tomatoes*, guava, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, and cooked red peppers are all good sources of lycopene.

*Note: Lycopene is actually more concentrated in processed tomato products like sauces, and pastes, and is not degraded by the cooking.

7. Beta Carotene-Rich Foods

Dietary carotenoids* have been linked to a lower risk of developing lung cancer, however more research needs to be done to determine the effect of consuming beta carotene through food on cancer prevention  [18].

Carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are excellent sources of beta-carotene.

*Note: Supplemental beta-carotene has not shown the same effect. In fact, it may increase cancer risk [18]. It’s always best to get your beta-carotene from foods.

8. Fatty Fish

There is some research to suggest that including a few servings of fatty fish, such as albacore tuna, salmon, atlantic herring, mussels, anchovies, and sardines every week can reduce your risk for developing certain cancers.

This is likely because of their high vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acid content, both of which are believed to reduce the risk of disease, including cancer [19,20].

Read: 10 Superfoods to Add to Your Breakfast for More Energy

Honorable Mentions

This is by no means a definitive list of the best foods to prevent cancer, and there are many other foods that also contain important nutrients that reduce your risk of disease. 

Other cancer-fighting foods include berries and citrus fruits, lentils, legumes and eggs, whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal, olive oil, and green or white tea [2].

As previously mentioned, what you don’t eat can be just as important in terms of cancer prevention, and limiting your intake of processed meats, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar can also reduce your risk for disease.

Additionally, other lifestyle factors, such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, a lack of physical activity, and chronic stress can also increase your risk for cancer [2].

Do Your Best to Decrease Your Risk

Although there is nothing you can do to bring your risk of developing cancer to an absolute zero, eating a healthy, plant-focused diet that is low in processed foods, getting plenty of exercise, drinking water, and avoiding risky behaviours like smoking or excessive drinking can reduce your risk significantly.

This type of lifestyle will also help you to feel better overall, and you will have more energy to engage in the activities you enjoy. We may not be able to prevent cancer entirely, but we can create an internal environment that promotes health and vitality.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

Keep Reading: 10 Foods to Support the Removal of Toxic Mercury From Your Body

  1. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer.html
  2. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/36-foods-that-can-help-lower-your-cancer-risk.h12-1592991.html
  3. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-anticancer-diet#1
  4. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cruciferous-vegetables-fact-sheet
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2737735/#:~:text=Cruciferous%20vegetables%20are%20a%20rich,cancer%20in%20some%20epidemiological%20studies
  6. https://www.everydayhealth.com/cancer/can-turmeric-help-fight-cancer/
  7. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0057218
  8. https://bioone.org/journals/Radiation-Research/volume-180/issue-1/RR3255.1/Curcumin-for-Radiation-Dermatitis–A-Randomized-Double-Blind-Placebo/10.1667/RR3255.1.short
  9. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191007100222.htm
  10. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0093437
  11. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0320p14.shtml
  12. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/mushrooms-pdq
  13. https://cancerpreventionresearch.aacrjournals.org/content/8/3/181#sec-21
  14. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/w-cga022019.php
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4099972/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10551319/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068500/
  18. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/carotenoids#cancer-prevention
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470481/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23919748/

The post 8 of the Best Anti-Cancer Foods. It’s Time to Start Adding them to Your Diet appeared first on The Hearty Soul.

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