1. Pop a plant on your desk to help prevent "nature-deficit disorder"
Did you know exposure to green spaces profoundly enhances physical and mental wellbeing? Well, Richard Louv (author of the Nature Principal) argues that we’re collectively suffering from “nature-deficit disorder”, which hurts us both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that taking walks in nature lowers anxiety and depression while boosting mood and wellbeing. Now, scientists are also exploring how exposure to nature might result in lower risk of depression, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. According to the Harvard Business Review, even a small green intervention like having more plants in the office could significantly boost your happiness.
2. Your brain loves chocolate, too!
Italian researchers have investigated what happens to your body after you eat chocolate and what happens if you eat it frequently. Although randomised controlled trials investigating the acute effect of cocoa flavanols are sparse, most of them point towards a beneficial effect on cognitive performance. Participants showed enhancements in working memory performance and improved visual information processing after having had cocoa flavanols. So now you have a great excuse to try this cacao superfood smoothie...
3. Could this be the easiest, simplest way to improve sleep quality?
Morning sun can get you on a better slumber schedule (yes, even if it isn't particularly sunny). Seeking natural daylight first thing in the morning can help you feel calmer, happier, and sleep better at night, according to a new study in Sleep Health. Researchers looked at 109 people who worked normal office hours over one week and they found that those who were exposed to more daylight between 8 a.m. and noon fell asleep quicker and slept more soundly at night compared to those who obtained little light in the morning.
4. Vegetable protein could prevent an early menopause.
Long-term, high intake of vegetable protein may protect women from early menopause and could prolong reproductive function, results of a new epidemiology study of over 116,000 women suggests. Foods high in vegetable protein include whole grains, soy and tofu.
5. Is this going to be the next big food trend?
There's already white rice, brown rice, and even black rice but it looks like the next big food craze might be purple rice. Chinese scientists have genetically engineered purple rice so that it is rich "anthocyanins", a compound that boosts antioxidant activity, which is linked to reduced risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The scientists still have a few tests to go before they can be sure it is safe for consumption, so in the meantime, we suggest getting your anthocyanins from blueberries, cherries, red grapes, aubergines and red cabbage.